Dans Dans is back (already), with their most unfiltered, most spantenous, most ‘punk’ album to date. Three musicians, three days in the studio, one burst of energy.
April 23th, 2021. Breaking a five year silence, purveyors in ambiguous jazz-rock hybrids Dans Dans drop a new, fifth album. Throughout the media, Zink is hailed as another triumph for the Antwerp based trio. ‘A bold and thrilling noise trip’, according to Humo. ‘The best live band of the Western hemisphere is back’, celebrated OOR, while De Morgen hailed the ‘organic but cleverly constructed jams’. The following summer, the band made the best of a temporary easing of local Covid restrictions, and played some rapturous shows, such as during Jazz Middelheim in their hometown and an Unday Records label night during the Boomtown festival in Ghent. A string of dates in Eastern Europe followed, but, alas, the remainder of a national and international tour in autumn was cancelled. Third wave, fourth wave, who was still counting?
At the tail end of 2021, Bert Dockx, Frederic Lyenn Jacques, and Steven Cassiers, the unholy trinity that make up Dans Dans since 2012 – yep, that’s a ten year anniversary! – decided to turn setbacks into sound blasts, grief into grooves. Rehearsals were planned. New music was made. And before you know, a studio was booked. This is how an instrumental corona-album happened. Not one of contemplation through isolation or new found domestic bliss, not your usual, subdued track record of socially distant, monotonous times. 6 might be a reaction to all of that, but it’s definitely more than that.
Listen to “6”
A1. Dans Dans – Wolk A2. Dans Dans – Droom A3. Dans Dans – Coyote A4. Dans Dans – Palm B1. Dans Dans – Cascade B2. Dans Dans – Schaduw
Unday Records will release 6 on September 30, 2022
Belgian label founded by Viernulvier Arts Centre (formerly Vooruit) to release music composed for theatre, dance and performances.
Viernulvier Records‘ first release will be The Shedding of Skin, the debut album from the Belgian-Iraqi Use Knife, set to be released on September 30, 2022.
Listen to “Ptolemaic”.
During a residency at Viernulvier Arts Centre, synthesiser sequences were tested, rhythms exchanged, samples recorded, tape loops cut and boundaries explored. The gents also thought about how music and text could be combined with video and artwork to create a unique collaboration.
The next step for the band was to approach multidisciplinary artist Youniss Ahamad. Taking inspiration from the artistic work of his Iraqi grandfather – a painter – he had a starting point from which to develop the visual side of things.
Next to come on board was Radwan Ghazi Moumneh of Jerusalem In My Heart.
“I was very intrigued and knew that the project in its creation nature was something quite unique and special.” So it was an immediate ‘yes’ from Moumneh when asked to mix the album in the legendary Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal, where previously the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vic Chesnutt and Arcade Fire had all come to play.
“Working on sculpting a sonic space for all these facets of the album proved quite challenging, as finding the exact place of where these elements can not only co-exist, but rather can illuminate paths to one another. Our process of ‘fine-tooth comb’ arranging mixes and refining every minute aspect of the sonics was in itself an illuminating experience. Kept finding myself discovering and re-discovering new ways of engaging with the tracks. It was as if the more the music aged, the more different its flavour was. We were in a constant re-evaluating process of where we were at with our mixes, which is a very engaging place to be in when deep in a mix.”
The song To Feed the Gentry – on which Radwan plays buzuk and synthesizers – sprang up out of the band members’ mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s work.
The album’s title, The Shedding of Skin, refers to the human survival instinct, the desire to leave war and disaster behind and build a new life in a completely different environment.
In addition to making music and composing together, Saif, Kwinten and Stef had countless conversations in order to gain insight into each other’s lives. These conversations are reflected in the song lyrics: for one of them, the worst is all behind them and they are focused on a brighter future, while the other is aware of all the privileges he has been given. The need to address this inequality is reflected in the combination of dreamy Arab songs with punky Dadaist touches.
For the recordings of the Arabic percussion, vocals and wind instruments, the band worked together with Joris Caluwaerts (Stuff., Lady Linn, Hydrogen Sea,…) in his Finster Studio. The mastering was done by Frederik Dejongh aka Jerboa Mastering. Youniss Ahamad provided the artwork, Farah Fayyad converted the English album title into Arabic script and Jef Cuypers and Chloé D’hauwe realised the graphic design of the cover.
A1. Ptolemaic A2. Coupe d’état A3. True-Love Not B1. Ed Wana Ed B2. To Feed the Gentry (feat. Radwan Ghazi Moumneh) B3. The Shedding of Skin
Viernulvier Records will release The Shedding Of Skin on September 30, 2022.
Anarchic Belgian label Cortizona taps into the slapstick vein in experimental music, staging gigs on the back of vans, with trains, and in planetariums. By Jennifer Lucy Allan
Two lazy narratives are throw around about music culture since the internet arrived: everyone is a brand, and digital technology breeds more idiosyncratic listening habits. If Cortizona eschews the first, its a perfect example of the second. How else to think about a label that started out releasing the cinematic DIY kosmische of Jean Hoyoux, then moved through a 1973 album by jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, Ann Eyserman‘s harp music and train sounds, Pak Yan Lau‘s toy pianos and bowed metal, dubbed out exotica by Belgian rock musician Tim Vanhamel, and so on, up their most recent release, a reissue of Patty Waters?
With this kind of discography Cortizona could only be a one person operation. Run by Philippe Cortens in Lier, Belgium, with mastering engineer Gert Van Hoof and designer Jef Cuypers, the label specialises in music that gives Cortens a feeling of awe. He’s wryly humorous character, walking a fine line between the deadly serious business of releasing music he feels is important, while not taking himself too seriously. The label statement on Bandcamp – is “partially ironic”, he explains. “but I really do believe music can improve your life and change people.”
The label began in January 2017 with the release of Belgian musician Jean Hoyoux’s 1982 synth older cousins and their boyfriends in the early 1980’s. “Punk and the DIY spirit changed ùu view a lot of things as a youngster”, he says. It also led to him being kicked out of school. As an adult, he worked for many years on Belgian national radio, and in the last few years made two music documentaries: Juul’s Ears, about Hnita, one of the oldest jazz clubs in Europe, and a portrait of late Belgian musician Fred Van Hove.
More recently, he found himself half of a two person audience invited to hear Frederik Croene‘s Cul De Sac at the pianist’s summer cabin, and then driving aroundthe Flemisch Ardennes while Croene played the piece from the back of a PIaggio Ape (more commonly employeed as a coffee carts). They were followed by the police for a while, he says, as he recalled “a pretty memorable slapstick performance, which could have gone wrong in several ways”.
The label, he declares, has “a high ‘no fucks are given’ spirit, concerning types of music genres, age, geography, use of instruments, and gender… I think this spirit, combined with the urgent need to express yourself with the possibilities you have, to create a new and perosnal world of sound, and my musical taste, is what ties [the label] together.”
If Cortizona zigzags between styles, its modus operandi echoes contemporary small labels such as Phantom Limb, and perhaps fits into a lineage of older labels likeCelluloid which roamed through American no wave, Indian raga and African Jazz. I ask if Cortizona catalogue is an exactr map of this listening habits. “In my spare time I listen to slowed down Justin Bieber records playing backwards to search for satanic verses… just kidding!” he jokes. “I don’t want to overthink the vibe of my label too much,” he reflects. “A big part of the fun is to see in which directionit will evolve. Frederic Croene turning inside out the possibilities of his piano; Anna Homler stretching her vocal chords to a mermerizing and otherworldly level; Comité Hypnotisé dubbing out on his broken 70s echo deck…to me it all makes sense to release in on Cortizona.” Cortizona.bandcamp.com
A new compilation released by Sdban Ultra Present an outstanding new collection of musical gems from Belgium’s thriving jazz scene, compiled by Belgian DJ and eclectic connoisseur, Lefto.
Lefto presents Jazz Cats volume 2, released 24th June, features a balance of known and obscure artists. From the thrilling frenetic grooves and innovative soundscapes of Bandler Ching and the electronic influenced Stellar Legions (Andrew Claes from (STUFF.), to the jazz fusion collective LũpḁGangGang and weaving musical odyssey that is M.CHUZI, Lefto presents Jazz Cats volume 2 is a melting pot of the best musical talent coming out one of the smallest countries in Europe. In addition, there’s the beautiful unease of One Frame Movement, the laidback ‘acoustic electronica’ of Boombox Experiments, the classic funky jazz stylings of Cargo Mas and the cinematic The Brums, making Lefto presents Jazz Cats volume 2 an essential release for any jazzhead with a passion for new sounds.
Other compilations recently released on SDBAN include Utopic Cities: Progressive Jazz in Belgium ‘1968-1979‘, Discophilia Belgica: Next-door-disco & Local Spacemusic from Belgium ‘1975-1987’, and Let’s Get Swinging: Modern Jazz In Belgium ‘1950 – 1970‘.
Listen to Lefto presents Jazz Cats volume 2
A1. Stevie Qngo – Trois Hommes Dans Un Wagon A2. Bandler Ching – Pousmousse A3. One Frame Movement – Stokstaart A4. Stellar Legions – Wessel B1. Lũpḁganggang – kienda B2. M.CHUZI – Tzatzìki B3. Boombox Experiments – Miscellaneous
C1. ECHT! – Parakeet C2. Cargo Mas feat. Mike ‘Maz’ Mahez – Samsara C3. KAU trio. – Nightgrazer C4. schroothoop – Obsolescence Programmée D1. Dishwasher¦ – Home Cinema D2. The Brums – Barbara D3. TUKAN – Boréal D4. Shungu & Mejiwahn – Mejigu
Sdban Ultra will release Lefto presents Jazz Cats volume 2 on June 24, 2022
The Coastal Invasion highlights the golden age of big band cumbia and the maestro who is often seen as Colombia’s most influential composer, Lucho Bermudez.
Bermudez was a key figure who modernised the tropical music of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. At the beginning of the 20th century, this music was largely looked down on. Bermudez changed all that by injecting a modern, jazzy big band sound to the Afro-Colombian sounds from his native region.
The infectious Afro-Amerindian dance rhythms of Lucho Bermudez y su Orquesta took over the elite nightclubs of Bogota and Medellin and from there, his music spread all over Latin America. For many Colombians, the songs of Lucho Bermudez and his wife and starlet singer Matilde Diaz represent the sound of their nation.
This compilation contains a selection of the music of Lucho Bermúdez y su Orquesta recorded during the years that they lived and worked in Medellín, probably the best work the orchestra ever recorded.
Cumbia, Porro, Gaita & Mapalé From Colombia’s Caribbean Coast 1946-1961 is out now on Radio Martiko
Out July 1st on Hostal La Torre Recordings, La Torre Ibiza Volumen Cuatro is the first instalment since 2019. The LP spans 15 tracks, with music by the likes of Rare Silk, Suzanne Ciani, Special Request, the late Pauline Anna Strom, Lola Perrin and Barrott himself, whose “Travelling Music (La Torre Reprise)” is the only previously unreleased track.
Launched in 2016, the series captures the sound of White Isle venue Hostal La Torre, which is known for its eclectic music policy and laid-back vibe.
Hostal La Torre Recordings will release La Torre Ibiza Volumen Cuatro on July 1st, 2022