Willem Heylen- electric guitar
Jozef Dumoulin - piano & Fender Rhodes
Frans Van Isacker - alto saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet
Lynn Cassiers- voice & FX
Yannick Peeters - double bass
Anke Verslype - drums
Recording: Roel Snellebrand at Rataplan, Borgerhout on April 5-6, 2023
Mixing & Mastering: Roel Snellebrand at Musica Divina
Executive Production: Rogé for el NEGOCITO Records
Art work : Marie Cloquet, Dustscape I & II, 2023, silver gelatin & water colour on paper
Lay-out: Poppy Verstraete
Available on cassette / graphic edition with download
pre-release cassette Octobre 5, 2023 at SMAK Museum, Ghent with tour
general release Octobre 20, 2023
Liner notes //
There’s something liberating about free improvisation, about allowing yourself to not only disregard rules, conventions and expectations ('free from'), but also to invent something new instead ('free to'). The potential downside of it is that free music can become something non-committal, something random, when it lacks focus and/or discipline. When it threatens to evolve into a music of chance, things might disintegrate or dissolve.
With Games & Motifs, guitarist Willem Heylen, drummer Anke Verslype and a band of carefully assembled accomplices, counter this possibility. Not by seeking refuge in fixed song structures, predictable chord progressions or even pre-set melodies, but by working with specific sets of rules and motifs, turning all interactions into musical games that retain the spirit of spontaneity while at the same time compelling the artists to be creative with(in) specific parameters.
And you know what? Even with these agreements, the music’s range is striking. With esteemed colleagues such as Jozef Dumoulin, Lynn Cassiers, Yannick Peeters and Frans Van Isacker, musicians with well-honed affinities and even intense, long-standing working relationships, the sextet can bring a dizzying wealth of sounds and ideas to the table. They allow the music to combine the ethereal with the fickle, the hypnotic with the surprising, and light with darkness. Over and over again, invention is key.
The titles already hint to instructions and/or restrictions, with the robustness of a couple of dark, bluesy grooves offsetting the compactness of the ‘stopwatch’-pieces, the otherworldly textures of the masterful album opener or the ominous feel of disorientation of “Transition 2”. Taken separately, the diverging sound waves, rhythmic rustling, kissy sounds, semi-narrative detours, throbbing pulses, futuristic bleeps and soft-spoken vocals refer mostly to themselves. In the context of this group interplay, they become meaningful motifs adding depth to a rich cohesion.
Cohesive, yet surprising, both for the musicians and the listeners. It can be a frustrating thing to observe a process to which you’re a mere bystander, grasping for straws. Games & Motifs finds a deft balance between form and freedom, showing and telling, inventions and agreements. As such, it’s not just an adventure, but also an invitation to delve into the myriad possibilities of their music game.
--- Guy Peters
"... ." ..., ... (../../2023)
1. Range Of Motion
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 06:32
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 03:24
3. Stopwatch 5
A. Verslype / W. Heylen / J. Dumoulin / F. Van Isacker / L. Cassiers / Y. Peeters - 02:32
A. Verslype / W. Heylen / J. Dumoulin / F. Van Isacker / L. Cassiers / Y. Peeters - 06:09
5. Dark Groove
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 05:07
6. Stopwatch 1
A. Verslype / W. Heylen / J. Dumoulin / F. Van Isacker / L. Cassiers / Y. Peeters - 02:01
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 07:01
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 04:24
9. Stopwatch 3
A. Verslype / W. Heylen / J. Dumoulin / F. Van Isacker / L. Cassiers / Y. Peeters - 01:05
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 06:03
Dark Groove Extra
A. Verslype / W. Heylen - 05:01
total time - ..:..
eNR119 © 2023
Pre-order limited edition cassette