Radboud Mens & Matthijs Kouw – 1

I hadn’t heard of either Moving Furniture Records, nor either of the artists Radboud Mens or Matthijs Kouw before checking my inbox a few weeks ago. It was apparent within seconds of hearing 1 that this ignorance was a huge shame on my part. I live for this kind of longform ambient drone, and the two ~20 minute tracks that make up collaborative release from the two artists are absolutely top draw, with evolution that burns slowly and brightly in a fantastic forty minutes of minimal perfection.

The first piece, simply entitled begins with one single deep pulsating drone, deep in frequency, but with no heaviness or huge distortion, instead warm and rich in texture slowly burning away for the first few minutes,while lighter synth textures gradually make their way into the track slowly and softly, twinkling in and out like the rays of the sun shining through the surface of the ocean. These warm, bright textures float and drift in and out, slowly and calmly, gradually taking more of a lead role as the deep drone from the start slowly recedes into the background. Several tones glide and drift over each other with a warm sunny glow over the quieter sound of the deep earthy drone from the start, giving a rich palette of sounds and textures before it all fades out back to the starting drone, bringing to an end a gorgeous piece of blissful minimal ambience. The second track is similar as a single deep drone burns away for several minutes as gradually and slowly the bright sound of synth-organ comes through with a higher pitched drone, oscillating slowly and lazily in frequency in another lovely piece of minimal ambience. Both pieces grow gradually from one very deep frequency into a simple but gorgeous collage of textures and frequencies.

1 is minimal ambient/drone at it’s finest, masterful use of slowly burning textures to create beautiful calming atmospheres that evolve slowly and gradually, but noticeable enough to be completely engaging throughout their 20 minute lengths – the pacing is perfect. It’s an interesting release that could be one of the best ambient albums of the year.

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