Music Reviews


Stillness Soundtracks (for a film by Esher Kokmeijer)

Glacial Movements

Soundtracks are always a dicey thing to talk about. Stripped of the visual images they underscore and the story a film maker is telling, a sound track can be a beautiful thing yet fall short on its own. This collection of music by Netherlandish Machinefabriek does well, it’s got an iceberg on the cover and icebergs in this domain of composition indicate calm, sedate and distant tempos punctuated by crisp aural landscapes.

The titles are of little assistance, there are two labeled “Chinstrap” and five notated as “Stillness” followed by place names that aren’t known for their tropical night life. You’ll need a quiet room for this; long stretches of the tracks seem like little more than a microphone bumping in a shoulder bag and listening in your car is hopeless. When sounds do arrive, they pulsate greenly, creep silently and seem to have a mind of their own. Droning noises appear and fade, birds call in the distance, waves wash ashore. Are these sounds from Greenland in the summer? Should they be? What if they are just from the Frieslandian shore around the corner from where Rutger Zuydervelt keeps a studio? There’s mystery here, mystery and near silence. Perhaps, just maybe, we are to imaging the movie without ever knowing where it’s playing. Perhaps it’s playing in your head right now, and you don’t even have the sound track yet.

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