Anne Bakker | René Aquarius | Rutger Zuydervelt
cd/dl/stream on Consouling Sounds
October 29 2021
Order at Bandcamp
Hallucine was never meant to exist. That’s to say; the initial recordings made by Anne Bakker and René Aquarius were meant for separate projects, but when juxtapositioned by Rutger Zuydervelt, their combination proved utterly intriguing. Starting from this chance encounter, the three musicians refined the composition with subtle overdubs and detailed editing. The resulting 33-minute piece is an elusive patchwork of violin, percussion, vocals, field recordings, and electronics. In Hallucine, the division between found sound and (acoustic and electronic) instrumentation is blurred into a spectral hallucination.
A Closer Listen
The press release states, this album “was never meant to exist.” The fact that it does exists means it occupies a liminal territory between real and unreal, planned and unplanned. Raw matter – pre-recorded detritus from Anne Bakker and René Aquarius – was given order and form by Rutger Zuydervelt, buoyed by his own material. Separate projects became one. While we originally thought the length was unintentional, we now believe the number 33:33 symbolizes both creation and the holy trinity of creators. Even in the early going one can hear thunder, waves, primordial sound awaiting a sculpting hand.
These are in fact beautiful fragments, the sort one might pick up on the beach were they visible to the naked eye: a snippet of voice, a passage of violin, a saw, a loop. When the kazoo appears, it does so with the requisite playfulness. The drones may be dark, but how dark can a kazoo ever be? In the same manner, syllables refuse to form into words, content in their onomatopoeic form. But ever so gently and subtly, Zuydervelt wrests the collection into what he calls a “spectral hallucination.” A ghostly whistle at the ten-minute mark solidifies the association, folded into the album’s darkest, thickest morass. But by mid-piece, all is silent.
Now the composition rises again with new intention. While still abstract, the piece allows for lengthier segments of strings, fragments turned into melody. These attract a host of birds, who happily feast on the innards of discarded compositions. There’s no feeding frenzy, merely a calm buffet to break up the autumn migration. If anything, the agitation belongs to the humans who stumble around in the twentieth minute, unable to locate their glasses.
The composition arrives as a tabula rasa for its listeners. As no template exists, no declaration of theme or intent, one is free to project. This album was never meant to exist, and yet it does, like shattered, multicolored glass glued to a wall, not discarded, but displayed.
Rutger ‘Machinefabriek‘ Zuydervelt loves to try out new ways of creating music. He has worked on innumerable different projects and collaborated with many different artists. Among them also Anne Bakker (violin, viola, vocals, harmonica, kazoo, saw) and Rene Aquarius (cymbals, field recordings).
But in this case, it wasn’t even a true collaboration in the beginning: “Hallucine was never meant to exist.” The original recordings were created for separate (unmentioned) projects, but Zuydervelt found that mixing and editing various fragments into a collage led to interesting results. With that as a starting point, it became somewhat more like a ‘true’ collaboration: “the three musicians refined the composition with subtle overdubs and detailed editing”.
So the end result is partly a deconstructed remix created by Rutger Zuydervelt, but also the result of the three musicians working together on the final composition.
The 33-minute Hallucine is, by nature of its origin, a piece built from many different fragments: a sonic journey with many unexpected turns and views.
It is not a composition with a traditional structure, which is no real surprise knowing the work of Zuydervelt – it is a mix-like collage of atmospheres that can best be experienced without prior expectations.
Een nachtmerrie of een stevig onweer gebed in een neoklassiek aandoende drone/soundscape van iets meer dan een half uur: dat kunnen we zonder verpinken overlaten aan Anne Baker (viool, zang, harmonica, kazoo, zaag, viola), René Aquarius (cymbalen, veldopnames) en Rutger Zuydervelt (elektronica, veldopnames, mix en meer). En dat bleek niet eens de bedoeling. Aquarius en Baker waren elk afzonderlijk aan de slag. Het was Zuydervelt die inzag dat waar beiden mee bezig waren, net zo goed met elkaar kon worden gecombineerd. Met wat herwerken en fijn stellen hier en daar creëerde het trio een intrigerend epos dat, uiteraard, weer helemaal anders klinkt dan we hadden verwacht. Het zijn vooral de violen die het stuk richting neoklassiek duwen en die tegelijk een verrijking vormen voor een muziekstuk dat anders eerder kaal zou overkomen en waarschijnlijk als frivole ambient zou worden gecatalogiseerd. Nu is het echter een boeiend geheel dat regelmatig van sfeer en insteek verandert tot het aan ons lijf blijft plakken.