[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Rutger Zuydervelt is a Dutch graphic designer who’s been very active in the field of experimental sound design and graphic design for about two decades. He has performed solo or as a composer for various artistic installations, and has done soundtracks for different types of visual performances (films, theatre and dance). Zoharum has collected tracks previously released in small collector’s editions, thus giving us the pleasure to settle back and taste some of this factory machine’s delicate flavors.
Zuydervelt’s treatment of sound lies mostly on economical effects and a punctilious concern for the slightest detail. On “Huiswerk” 1 and 2 he uses guitar accords as scarcely as possible, only to render acoustically the vibrations of the chords and to set the impression of a fragmented, illusory vision. There is no technique to lead the trombone sound on “Hilary”, only the impulse to metamorphose sound into space; in this the artist comes to evoke gracious pieces of classical ambience somehow akin to the grave lounge of Polish composer Gorecki. This sacred minimalist sound of the trombone achieves a contrasting atmosphere on “Jeffrey”, where the droning effects paint a picture of Turner-esque impressionist sound colouring. In terms of underground music it may sound like a remix that Troum did on some Bohren & der Club of Gore track. In fact, these double-faceted tracks originate from the trombone notes of Hillary Jeffery of the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble.
Three tracks named “Ontrafelde Tonen” 1, 2 and 3 follow. Innocuous field recordings, various types of voices and different aural chain reactions engender a mysterious and engaging mental participation. As usual, the manipulation of the sounds is succinct, fluent and beautifully stylized.
“My Funny Valentine” and “Oh Doctor Jesus” are two jazz classics (a “surprise” in his discography) performed in collaboration with a bass clarinet player. The reinterpretation reduces the intensity of the original songs almost to extinction, all the more embellishing the very core of the tracks and conferring to them a newly exotic flavour.
The Dutch musician uses various types of electronic equipment, fluently designing sounds like on a computer. Like in Japanese, now defunct, Aube’s musical experiments, “Ax” shows how simple and yet attractive his performance is. In the same manner, “Eeuw” and “Danse des Loops” evolve on the same mood and theme, subtly modifying the intensity and creating sound images that are almost graphic.
“Dubbeltjes” is a pertinent introduction to the work of this polymorphic artist, and for those already acquainted with his music this Zoharum compilation is an excellent release, gathering various aspects of Zuydervelt’s discography.