CS (ltd. 47)
Under the name Modelbau hides the Dutch musician and reviewer Frans de Waard, well-known in the world of underground electronic music. Since 1984 Frans has been involved in many different projects: Kapotte Muziek, Beequeen, Wander, Freiband, Quest, Goem, Zebra are just a few names to which he relates. As of today, his main solo project is Modelbau, in which he plays minimalist experimental electronics.
The album "Ypsilon" recorded in October 2017 includes two 45-minute pieces with a smooth development of the plot. In the first track, the layers of dense synth drone and mild noise waves morph into completely minimalistic fragments of stripped down to the bone low frequencies, which then gradually reappear in the flesh of atonal vibrations and ultra-slow modulations. The second piece is a very quiet and tranquil slow-evolving sonic field reminiscent of the works of Eliane Radigue from the 70's and 80's.
The edition is presented in two versions: a 90-minute audio cassette and a double-CDR in cardboard sleeves under a common cover, each version is limited to 47 copies. The release is dedicated to the memory of the untimely departed music journalist and publisher Dmitry Vasilyev (Independent Electronic Music, Monochrome Vision, Alone At Last).
On his new album “Ypsilon”, Frans de Waard (who, full disclosure, is both my friend and the editor of this here Vital Weekly) exploits the length of the format… or rather, formats. “Ypsilon” is issued as either two CDRs or as a 90-minute cassette, with two tracks taking 45 minutes each. Such a span of time allows de Waard to move his sounds extremely slowly, nudging the monolithic music forward in a way that sometimes seems hands-free, as if de Waard set a process in motion and allowed it to flow on its own. The first piece, “Yesterday Afternoon” (either disc 1 or side 1, depending on which format you’ve got) is relatively more active, but not much. It sets the pace right away with a low thrum that gurgles for five minutes or so, lets in some synthesizer harshness for a quick jolt, then backs waaaay down to a slowly oscillating, nearly unadorned crawl. The mood is unnerving, too austere and severe to be background drone. The second side (or second disc), “Yesterday Evening”, sounds even more hermetic than the first. A two-note synth line oscillates at a funereal clip for more than ten minutes before de Waard lets in a teeny bit of light, but the suffocating atmosphere rapidly reasserts itself. Only after 20 minutes is a new note introduced to (barely) widen the colour spectrum, a detail that seems momentous in context. This is patient and single-minded music, ascetic yet darkly contemplative. “Ypsilon” is dedicated to the memory of Dmitry Vasilyev, who ran the Russian label Monochrome Vision before his recent shocking accidental death, and is fittingly released by a Russian label.