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Timo van Luijk: Subtle Suspensions

img  Tobias

How did you and Frederik initially meet?
After Frederik got introduced to my music through a friend of him who had one of my releases, he wrote to me and proposed a meeting and an eventual collaboration. We had some correspondence and later on I went to see an open air performance Frederik was doing with a dancer. I was pleasantly surprised by this remarkable event, so it was clear to me a collaboration could be very interesting. I'll never forget that day because right after Croene's performance I got to know that Geert Feytons with whom I started Noise-Maker's Fifes had just died.

Croene and you seem to share a lot of artistic goals, while coming from different traditions ...
We share similar artistic goals indeed but we approach them from opposite backgrounds. Frederik has had a solid classical formation but is also seriously interested in exploring a more intuitive and experimental way of using the piano. A bit the opposite of my situation, being an autodidact, experienced through improvisation and experimentation and slowly getting also interested in a 'classical' way of playing and arranging - just to a certain extent of course. This point where we musically meet is an interesting field for both of us because it is fresh and quite unusual through its contrast but still it forms a homogeneous entity. Our collaboration brought our interest a step further, closer to each other, combining our forces in a very natural way. We also learned quite a bit from each other which always has a positive effect.

In how much did the album feed from experiences you made in live settings?
Our collaboration started with home recordings; trying several instrumental combinations, finding interesting matches through joint improvisations. These initial recordings formed the rough material for 'Voile au Vent' and got gradually shaped into more subtle abstract arrangements through overdubs and post-production. So during the home-recordings we already got an idea of what worked best musically. We only once played live together before the release of 'Voile au Vent'. For a live performance the set-up and the way of working is quite different from home recordings. Live, we play almost everything real time, apart from a few sequences of pre-recorded cassette accompaniment. So the overall sound is mostly reduced to 2, 3 or 4 instruments which makes the music less dense than on record. Each time we had the luxury to work in the concert space several days prior to the performances which gave us enough time to construct a loose repertoire. This was really helpful and the atmosphere and the facilities of the different spaces also contributed to the result. During our first performance for instance, last year in an old factory, we had the opportunity to suspend 2 pianos in the air with metal chains. Only the balancing of these 2 hanging pianos and the rich subtle squeaking sound it generated was already very fascinating, also visually. We try to make the live setting visually attractive (for ourselves and for the audience) where the music can come in existence at its best and we also use these visual elements in the performance. That way it turns more into an audiovisual happening where the visual aspect perfectly supports the music without using any exterior imagery.

Was there some kind of conceptual angle you were taking on „Voile au Vent“?

There wasn't any preconceived plan in the making of 'Voile au Vent'. We just wanted to discover some possibilities and boundaries through improvising together and to establish a compatible musical language with our opposed backgrounds. In a way this can be seen as a concept maybe, but that was not intended. We hardly discussed anything in advance but of course we evaluated the improvised recordings in order to move on towards the further construction of the music pieces. Generally we had the same feeling of what it would become, mostly intentional, sometimes by surprise. So it was a very natural and exciting way of working.

One of your performances with Croene took place at a Jazz festival. What was the reaction of the audience like?

That performance was set up by an organisation mainly programming jazz concerts but it was not a jazz festival. It was part of an annual big city feast called 'De Gentse Feesten' with all kinds of events. The reactions of the audience were very positive even people who weren't familiar with this somehow abstract music did really enjoy it. The 5 broken piano (frames) set up in an unusual position also made it visually interesting and these heavy weights formed a nice contrast to the quiet music. Almost everything was played acoustically, so the sound level was quite soft and very clear which keeps an audience more quiet and concentrated.

„Voile au Vent“ is said to feature an „extended Piano“. In which way was it changed and prepared?
The term 'extended piano' was just used as a general description of a non-standard approach of the piano, not only through playing but also through recording. Apart from fragments played on the keys some tracks reveal the interior body of the piano, played with other parts deriving from the piano. On other tracks the piano was recorded on analogue tape slowed down, multiplied or manually accelerated where the resulting sound of the piano got quite far from its original sound. So the term 'extended' refers as much to the recording as to the playing. It felt more appropriate to use 'extended' than the term 'prepared' piano.

In his „Vital Weekly“ column, Frans de Waard referred to the album as an „outsider record“. Is that how you see it as well?
Not really, I never thought about it that way. The term 'outsider' is very subjective anyway, defined through a personal reference. But I take his words as a positive comment. While making the album we didn't think of any specific style, the only thing we wanted was to get to know each other musically and try to produce pieces we would both feel good about. This way all possibilities were left open and the energy of the moment directed the music. I think the album has quite a cinematic and suggestive content, intuitively created but it's not really eccentric as it would be with outsider art in general.

Any idea when a new In Camera album might see the light of day?

We intend to release a new album next year. In 2008 we did some studio recordings also as a trio including Limpe Fuchs. This will probably come out next year as well.

Besides 'Voile au Vent' also an album of the group Onde got released recently. Onde is trio of Greg Jacobs, Marc Wroblewski and myself. So far both releases didn't get the distribution we hoped for but anyone interested can obtain the albums directly from us ( or through Drone Records, Volcanic Tongue, Bimbo Tower or Die Schachtel.

Pictures by Jo Voets (middle) & Ronny Wynants (top & bottom)

Homepage: La Scie Dorée
Homepage: Onde Music
Homepage: Metaphon
Homepage: Frederik Croene

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