Luigi Archetti und Michael Heisch spent over two years experimenting in the studio. The result is the album the "Netherlandish Proverbs" – a musical approach to the painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525 – 1569). Conceived by a process of random selection, the album presents the listener with freshly perceptible, kaleidoscopic-like audio experiences.
"The Netherlandish Proverbs" is one of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's best known paintings. It contains over 100 sayings and idioms illustrating human weaknesses in a lively and frequently witty way. Luigi Archetti and Michael Heisch used the profusion of ideas of this visual world in order to approach the decentralised organisation of the painting with instruments such as the mandolin, the e-guitar, double bass and e-bass, as well as with electronic sounds.
The stimulus generated by the painting takes its effect musically on several levels: firstly, the number of the miniature compositions corresponds precisely with the number of the proverbs portrayed in the painting; thus there is agreement on the formal level. Secondly, the stylistic variety of Bruegel's painting. in which allegorical portrayals and folkloristic elements go hand in hand, is reflected in the variety of the material used by Archetti and Heisch. The apparent orientation towards folkloristic sound belongs to the same level as the subtly differentiated treatment of the noise-sounds of different kinds.
Thirdly, Luigi Archetti and Michael Heisch follow the decentralised construction of the painting, and thus also of Bruegel's visual conception. Their CD is put together from tiny fragments, whose order is not conclusively determined. In keeping with the technical limitations of the CD player, the 126 pieces are divided into 99 tracks. The listener is encouraged to play the tracks in the random selection mode of his CD player. From the apparently coincidental sequence emerges an unconventional cosmos of different sounds and sound sequences. This broken perception, the non-logical sequence of splinters of sound corresponds most closely with the idea developed by Bruegel in his visual composition. The musical conversion is not an illustration of the painted scenes but an independent work of art. In fact, this procedure is triggered by a reaction to our contemporary present: our perceptive skills, then as now, are faced with the task of meaningfully networking the profusion of the stimuli of different origin and constitution with which we are daily bombarded. And it is precisely this act of perception that is the subject of Archetti and Heisch's artistic elaboration.