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Best of 2024

Henry Krutzen

Silances (LP)

Label: Holidays Records

Format: LP

Genre: Electronic

Out of stock

Instant download included with the purchase.
Digging deep into the legendary Igloo Records catalog, Holidays Records returns with the first ever vinyl reissue of the imprint's sixth outing, the Belgian composer Henry Krutzen’s astounding 1981 LP, “Silances”. An entirely singular gesture at the borders of sound poetry, musique concrète, and radical electroacoustic practice that draws upon disparate elements of drone, jazz, minimalism, ecstatic tribalism, and various traditions of music from across the globe, decades on from its original release it remains as striking, unique, challenging, and compelling as it did upon its release.

* Deluxe edition in screen printed cover + insert * Since their founding during the early years of the new millennium, the Italian imprint, Holidays Records, has stood at the vanguard of forward-thinking sound, building a carefully curated catalog of releases that collectively build context and conversation across numerous avenues of exploration - contemporary and historical sitting side by side - within the wider field of experimental and improvised music. Every step of the way, they’ve seemed to step up the game. Their latest, the first reissue of the Belgian composer Henry Krutzen’s astounding 1981 LP, “Silances”, takes a deep dive into the legendary Igloo Records catalog. Once described by Keith Fullerton Whitman as being “nestled somewhere between Ghédalia Tazartès' mutant Sound Poetry, Anton Bruhin's acoustic / Alphorn drones”, drawing on a palette of vocals, hand percussion, piano, harmonica, saxophone, synthesizer, it’s a truly engrossing immersion into spaciously bristling sonority that remains as radical more than forty years down the road, as it did the day it was released. Issued in a very limited vinyl edition, beautifully reproducing the original sleeve, accompanied by Krutzen’s original liner notes, this is one for the heads that can’t be passed by.

Henry Krutzen is a relatively shadowy figure in the history of experimental sound. Between the early '80s and the 2010s, there are only a handful of albums that bear his name, and little to no information about how they come to be. A multi-instrumentalist and composer who studied percussion, saxophone, and harmony in various schools and jazz clinics across Belgium, over the years he played in a diverse range of musical projects across the idioms of jazz, new wave, heavy metal, experimental, chanson française, world music and progressive rock, before relocating to Brazil during the early 2000s. Had he disappeared completely and done nothing else, “Silances”, his lone 1981 LP for Igloo Records - the Belgian imprint founded in 1978 by Daniel Sotiaux to “promote diversity, allowing expressions of more marginal music to be heard and supported in a musical context that lives under the threat of standardization” - would have ensured his legend. Sitting alongside astounding and remarkably unique albums by Leo Küpper, Jacques Bekaert, Henri Chopin, Arthur Pétronio, André Stordeur, and numerous others, in the label’s early catalog, it’s a truly stunning piece of work.

Reflecting back in a note that Krutzen penned in 2022 when he was contacted for the reissue of “Silances”, Krutzen recalls: “Since I was 16, I had been experimenting with concrete music with a technician friend and we used all a teenager’s room could offer to make sounds into music: faucets, glasses of water, metal springs on ladders, objects of any kind… I had hours of recordings I pitched to Daniel [Sotiaux, of Igloo Records], to see if he was interested in making an album. I also had other ideas I wanted to be able to develop. What a joy when he accepted to work on the project! So I got to work. First, I set up a vocal improvisation quartet, and we spent long afternoons rehearsing using input I provided… We went into the studio and recorded almost two hours of improvisation, from which I then chose the best moments for the final product”.

The resulting nine compositions, when viewed as a cohesive whole, unfold as an endlessly surprising journey into a diverse means of expression, incorporating elements of concrete poetry, phonetical vocal utterance, musique concrète, drone, nods to jazz, minimalism, ecstatic tribalism, and various traditional musics from across the globe, creating a fascinating counterpoint to the roughly concurrent DIY experiments of projects like Nurse With Wound, Current 93, and Organum.

While radically open and experimental, one of the most striking aspects of “Silances” is how undeniably tight and considered it is, appearing as though each structure and chosen elements is exactly as it should be, and for which there would have been no other option. From the vocal squawks and ambient detritus of “Des Voix” or the incredibly constrained minimal beats and clangs of “La Machine” - a piece through the consideration of Deleuze and Guattari’s desiring-machines - and the droning harmonics of “Froid”, which incorporate excerpts of Krutzen’s teenage experiments in concrete music with records of low frequency harmonica, to pieces like “L’alpiniste”, a harmonisation of a recording of a rock climber, and “Chaud”, intertwining tribal style percussions with a simple repetitive melody on piano and tenor saxophone, it is a staggering and endlessly surprising series of sonic expressions that stand entirely on their own, and despite the range that they display, manage to feel in perfect harmony with the previous and next.

There’s little doubt, encountered more than four decades on, that Henry Krutzen’s “Silances” has been long overdue for reissue and reintroduction to new generations of listeners for some time. Once again, Holidays Records has done the world a great service with their brave and discerning ear by bringing it back into the world. Issued in a very limited vinyl edition, beautifully reproducing the original sleeve, accompanied by Krutzen’s original liner notes, we can’t possibly recommend it enough.

Details
Cat. number: HOL-141
Year: 2024
Notes:

Recorded in December 1979, April 21, 1980 and November 14, 1980. Mixed on March 27, 1981 and April 3, 1981. 

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