60-minute cassette (nr 107 on the eh? label)

Review on Lost in a Sea of Sound

Review on Vital Weekly by Frans de Waard:


On a strictly personal level I can see some relationship between Jaap Blonk and Sindre Bjerga. I
saw both of them play concerts on numerous occasions; in recent years hardly from Blonk and lot
more from Bjerga. They are both tireless performers. In the case of Bjerga that leads to a lot of
releases, taping every concert and finding labels to release (a selection at least) these. Blonk, on
the other hand, is someone whose music has a broader range, from solo improvisations with the
voice to heavily computer treated studies. His releases might not always (or rather: rarely) be
derived from concerts. Still speaking on a personal level, I think both gentlemen deal with a form
of sound poetry. In the case of Blonk clearly when he is using his mouth to generate sound, in
Bjerga's case a bit more covered up. He uses various means, in which pre-recorded tapes with
spoken word (perhaps found sound; maybe not) are played on an old Walkman and Dictaphones,
something feeding the sound down a metal pipe to alter the sound. On his 'Hesitation Marks'
cassette, he has a live recording from The Hague and Berlin, both within the space of one month in
2017. Both pieces are quite different. The one from The Hague is all about garbling up voice tape,
along with contact microphone abuse on rough surfaces, sometimes leaping towards a bit of
feedback, which he keeps well under control. In Berlin, the circumstances might have been a bit
different as Bjerga stumbled upon feedback, metallic percussion in a non-rhythmical manner and
it all sounds mildly more aggressive than what heard on the other side. It culminates in a dirty
drone excursion that lasts some eight minutes and it takes his voice poetry to the most abstract
level. Sindre Bjerga does what he does best and he does a great job at that.
    Jaap Blonk is a bit older than Bjerga and has been going since the late 80s with a wide range
of musical interests, all of which involve his mouth, producing sounds and words (or vice versa).
Sometimes harking back to the early days of Dada, improvising with other musicians, going all
computer; anything goes, it seems for him, and this tape is a wild ride along many of these
interests. Even when there are no other players listed here, it sounds at times like there are
instruments at work here, but everything and that is really everything, went into the computer
here and along the lines, various bits and bobs of software are transformed. Maybe live, on the
spot? That was at least the impression I got from this cassette. Blonk uses words, voices, gestures
of/by the mouth, singing, humming, moaning, sighing or whatever else, and then feeds it into the
computer where it slides up, pitches down, stretches, compresses, bend and shaped with granular
synthesis. All of these tracks are quite short and to the point, and somehow one fades into the next,
even when they all have individual titles. Along with all this voice stuff, there is also the sound of
the piano, percussion or strings. I have no idea how these fit into the picture; where do they come
from? Are people playing these instruments along with Blonk (but why no mentioning of them on
the cover?) or maybe these are midi-controlled instruments that Blonk has full control over as he
plays them along with using his voice and controlling the software to process that voice material?
Hard to say yet it does make up some fascinating listening. It is very poetic but with these
occasional musical instruments also crazy, slightly messed up form of improvised music, that
also goes out to the world of electro-acoustic music. It's a one-hour wild ride and it is great to see
a new sign of life for mister Blonk; happy as always we this happens! (FdW)