We are really happy about Haruki´s new “Snowed in food shelter” release on our small community.
Haruki is a new face to klanggold but an old face to the experimental and ambient scene, worldwide.
He released records on Kaspar Hauser records, Thelandof, Hibernate recs as well as Nomadic kids republic and now also on Klanggold.
His “snowed in food shelter” is a logical showstopper of his last Album “to humble a nest”, released on thelandof.
This new album is just a way of working further in that vein of amorphous, organic, free floating kind of music, mixing acoustic and digital sound sources, “beautiful” and “annoying”, ….. Only this time he wanted to make the atmosphere more consistent, more focused, less wandering around different places, maybe even “smaller” or “quieter”; or limiting himself more to explore a specific atmosphere in depth. This is also reflected in the sound sources used, which are less diverse than on “To Humble A Nest”. There’s, for instance, a much more prominent role for piano-sounds on this one.
/ *** REVIEWS ** /
THE MILK FACTORY
Haruki is the solo experimental project of Belgian musician and sound artist Boris Snauwaert. Already responsible for a handful of very limited releases on a variety of labels, Snauwaert released the rather superb To Humble A Nest on The Land Of last year, followed this year by two mini-albums, once again published in a very small run, one for UK imprint Hibernate, the other for Germany-based Klanggold, each taking a slightly different approach to Snauwaert’s granular organic electronic music.
Released earlier this year, The Land That Lies Behind Us comes as a 3” CD presented in a three-fold cover wrapped in a white envelop. Built from a wide array of sound sources, ranging from acoustic instruments to field recordings, some processed, others left in their natural state, the textured landscapes with which Snauwaert experiments are particularly evocative. Each track constitutes a singular universe, totally independent from the rest of the record, yet perfectly incorporated in the overall work. The basis for each of these tracks are infinitely detailed soundscapes, which can at times be extremely delicate and refined, or at others distorted and distressed, upon which Snauwaert adds fragments of melody, occasionally placing a piano or acoustic guitar in the foreground, but rarely developing these into full sequences. Instead, it is the atmospheric nature of his tracks which is at the heart of Haruki’s work. Snauwaert continuously applies almost imperceptible alterations to his soundscapes, triggering subtle variations and shifts in the tone or mood, ranging from the dense ominous drone-like form which serves as backdrop to The Quiet Side Of A Square or the increasingly dissonant and distorted forms on You Were Harmless, which at times sound like an acutely orchestral construction, to an abrasive electric guitar which is ultimately swallowed by a high pitched tone on In The Time or strident drone compositions which progressively make way for the sombre undertones of a sampled cello and a scattered piano line on A Century Of Losses, and the ambitious and multi-faceted White Meadow, which at first appears to hark back to the opening moments of this record, yet dissolves completely when a gentle acoustic guitar melody appears.
Snowed In Food Shelter works from similar principles, yet, right from the saturated instrumentation of Animals All Over The Table, there is an undeniably chill blowing over the record which was not present on The Land That Lies Behind Us. It is as if Snauwaert had retreated into some remote and desolate Arctic hideaway in the midst of winter. The sound pool from which these five tracks are made of is actually even more eclectic and vast than on its predecessor, but, distorted and processed as they are, they actually appear far less extensive. It takes for the rare brushes of a clarinet on A Chair Is For Reaching Out to realise that there may be more to these than first thought. Everything here is rudimentary and bare, dragging pieces such as Your Flowers Are Dripping, There Are Things We Should Have Talked About or How To Bend Over In Five Movements into some pretty bleak and inhospitable corners. There is very little left of the fragmented pastoral moments of previous releases, Snauwaert’s truly immersive mood covering any hint of light with a heavy cloak. The nine and a half minute epic How To Bend Over In Five Movements is a particularly masterful piece, as Snauwaert goes through a series of atmospheric settings, at times ominous and gloomy, at others more delicate and refined, and constantly alters the overall mood, yet manages to create an extremely homogenous and exquisite moment and bring this mini album to a somewhat understated conclusion.
The stark soundscapes and haunting ambiences assembled by Boris Snauwaert are at times reminiscent of the dark atmospheric textures found on Miasmah, yet his approach is often more open and benefits from his vast collection of sound sources. If anything, it is a shame that these two records are released in such small runs, as Snauwaert’s work truly deserves to be heard.
The Land That Lies Behind Us: 4.2/5
Snowed In Food Shelter: 4.7/5
Having previously appeared on The Land Of and Hibernate, Haruki (Ghent, Belgium-based Boris Snauwaert) now contributes a half-hour set to Germany’s Klanggold imprint. Snauwaert’s electro-acoustic settings are amorphous pieces that unfold in understated and organic fashion. The material floats freely and exploratively, indifferent to notions of conventional compositional form. The Haruki sound is pitched midway between acoustic and electronic musics, with fragments of the former embedded within subtly shaped textural fields of the latter. The merest trace of a clarinet surfaces during “A Chair is for Reaching Out,” for example, the instrument’s immediately recognizable sound overshadowed by the threads of electronic noise gathering around it.
In the opening “Animals All Over the Table,” bucolic string plucks resound, so forcefully they manage to be heard clearly amidst a blizzard of gritty static; a few piano notes surface near the end too, which in turn sets the stage for the subsequent “Your Flowers Are Dripping” where low-pitched piano notes rumble through passageways of granular fuzz and ambient noise. In comparison to the hermetic world conjured by “There Are Things We Should Have Talked About,” “How to Bend Over in Five Movements” paints a desolate landscape patched with icy surfaces and frosted tones that grows ever more portentous as it inches towards its close. In keeping with the hibernation association provoked by the release’s title, Snowed in Food Shelter exudes an introspective quality, preferring to remain low-level and modest in dynamic contrast.
The motto of the Klanggold label is ‘we like calm listeners’ and that certainly applies to the music of Boris Snauwaert, better known as Haruki. Like I remarked with his previous release ‘The Land That Lies Behind Us’ (see Vital Weekly 726), his music is now slowly maturing. Forgotten are the days of ‘Haphazardly, While Sitting’ (see Vital Weekly 652). The opening piece ‘Animals All Over The Table’ is a bit grainy with mildly distortion on guitar sounds, but the four pieces to follow show a great love and affection for acoustic sounds (piano and guitar I assume) treated with the usual digital means. The sharp edges are gone and in its place we find some great textured music. Coherent playing, which is what his music needs, I think, not wander about in various styles that he sometimes tend to do. Here its all along similar lines. If anything, his music comes now close to the Machinefabriek sound: spacious music, with a bit of post rock like guitar playing, a sparse note on the piano and some loop station repeating the sustain on end. Excellent release, his best so far. (FdW)
Haruki is Boris Snauwaert, producer of electroacoustic sound collages. Snauwaert tends to favour abstraction, his pieces filled with indeterminate sources, centred around often rough-shod field recording but incorporating acoustic instruments, electronic tones and processing. He’s also resistant to reverting to pretty, overtly musical structures. The evocatively-titled Snowed In Food Shelter is his debut for the Klanggold label, and conjures a crinkled, cloistered world, a soundtrack to lonesome, occasionally claustrophobic hibernation.
‘Animals All Over The Table’ is defined by jittery squealing noise, perhaps the result of feedback, over which higher pings are eventually layered. ‘Your Flowers Are Dripping’ introduces sparse piano notes, buried in winter fuzz, while ‘A Chair Is For Reaching Out’ pairs mournful clarinet lines with murky echo effects.The final ‘How To Bend Over In 5 Movements’ is the finest track here, and one of Haruki’s most appealing. Frosty chimes circle over periodic feedback bursts and reverberant water drips, events occurring with the rhythmic regularity of footprints in snow. The final brassy drone which sweeps in and overwhelms all, like a blizzard, is particularly impressive.
It’s fair to say that I rather like Haruki’s work. Having thoroughly enjoyed both of his recent releases on The Land Of and Hibernate I was excited to hear this new album on Germany’s Klanggold imprint.
Using a range of digital and acoustic sources the most immediately noticeable aspect of this work is the way it portrays a more gentle side of his character. The other releases I’ve heard definitely tended more towards a wide range of sonic elements with, dare I say it, a more playful overall style. This, however, remains tightly focused and concentrates on certain instruments as motifs, the piano and guitar for example, that recur from track to track.
It’s a deeply introspective sounding piece of work, from the tender touches of melody to the haunting and decidedly melancholic layers. It had me looking inwards whilst listening to it and I think it really is supposed to imbue the listener with a tangible feeling of sadness. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.
The delicacy with which the piano refrains are played and processed is beautiful and it almost reaches into William Basinski territory at times with a hypnotic flow and grainy sounds. But instead of staying static it uses the gentlest of movements to guide the tracks along.
A hint of bassoon here, a reversed chord there, acres of space for the sound to swim around you, a cunningly unstructured sounding style that I imagine is actually painstakingly put together… all of these things combine to make a very personal album that fans of the quieter side of contemporary ambient electronic music should really enjoy.
Subtle, deep, lovingly crafted. An album of substance from this excellent artist.
Haruki is one of the artist who are trying to mix acoustic and digital sound sources. His music is constructed using two lines: one line is a soundscape (noisy or drone), the other is the resonance of an acoustic instrument. This could sound simple but, because he doesn’t juxtapose, when the resonance sink into the soundscape, the music has its charme.
The album has five songs “Animals all over the table” where sharp guitar notes color large grains of noise; “a chair is for reaching out” with a clarinet and a calmer sounscape introuduces us to a quieter listening experience. The album ends with “how to bend over in 5 movements” with softly nuances of resonance. “Your flowers are dripping” and “There are things we should have talked about” are doomy pieces based on piano resonance which act as a bridge to the various atmospheres of the record.
This is, unfortunately, a brief album, just half an hour, but a good pick if you like calm records to relax after a working day.
THE SIENT BALLET
Haunting’ is a word used too often in the description of ambient music, because all too often that music is not ‘haunting’ at all. Snowed In Food Shelter, however, fits the description. With its bursts of white noise and eerie piano, Haruki even manages to border on the frightening.
This dark and moody music would fit well with any number of low-lit horror films, but it also contains a strange beauty. Unfortunately, ‘strange beauty’ is no new thing in the world of ambience. The EP suffers from a lack of originality and has a need for greater compositional variety; ambient fans are already accustomed to hearing low drones with a piano over the top. Yet when the instruments are varied, the album benefits. For example, the use of clarinet on “A Chair is For Reaching Out” rescues the track from dullness.
Though lacking in some respects, Snowed In Food Shelter is a recording of cleverly shifting moods, dynamic range and skilful soundscape manipulation. This is an improvement on Haruki’s earlier albums, which often came across as too complex and busy (particularly Haphazardly, While Sitting). The inclusion of “There Are Things We Should Have Talked About”, a minimalist composition almost entirely comprised of drone, works well as a pivot between tracks.
Ambient music generally falls into two categories: music that rises up from the ground, and music that shines down from the skies. On Snowed In Food Shelter, Haruki’s successfully combines both. The sombre opening tracks give way to the EP’s best piece, the lighter, airier “A Chair is for Reaching Out”. “How to Bend Over in Five Movements” is a clever mix of both styles. These tonal shifts and stylistic combinations greatly enhance the listening experience.
On Snowed In Food Shelter, Haruki continues to demonstrate talent and potential. His latest is a mature EP that feels much better thought out and prepared than his previous works. With a little more variety and originality, this could have been a great release. It is fortunate that the EP is only 27 minutes long. At this length, the problems do not prevent it being enjoyable, but on a full length they could become tiresome. Still, for half an hour or so, Snowed In Food Shelter does the trick better than a lot of the pack.
A Ulm ha sede una piccola fucina di elettronica che fa un po’ ambient, un po’ contemporanea, un po’ di elettroacustica. Con molto intimismo e senza timore di scorprirsi incredibilmente melanconici. E’ un’etichetta, la Klanggold, gestita da Andreas Ubenbenz (che produce anch’egli sotto il nome di Nobile) che ora pubblica l’album di Haruki, al secolo Boris Snauwaert, noto producer ambient per tante etichette e ora intento a mettere insieme collage sonori amorfi, con contorni volutamente sfumati, segnati per lo più da accenni di piano piazzati come un segnale di presenza umana, ogni tanto, per ricordare che non siamo in mezzo ad una distesa inanimata. Con risultati alterni. Si raggranellano suoni di quiete e profondità interiore, che quando troppo protratti danno qualche disagio. Delle 5 tracce svetta ‘How To Bend Over In 5 Movements’, acquosa, coi riverberi ondosi, sa di boschi, di neve appena posata e di una freschezza che in questi giorni di luglio possiamo soltanto immaginare.
DARK ENTRIES (BE)
Ondanks de crisis in de muziekindustrie zie je de kleine experimentele labels als paddestoelen uit de grond springen en dat heeft natuurlijk veel te maken met het DIY-principe. Daar kan je nu ook het Duitse Klanggold aan toevoegen.
Een eerste blik op hun catalogus leert mij al vrij snel dat ik geen enkele van deze artiesten ken maar naar het schijnt is onbekend onbemind … En dat geldt ook voor deze Haruki, een artiest die zich omringt door allerlei drones, ambientgeluiden en af en toe een atmosferisch pianootje zoals u het kent van The Moon & The Melodies.
De muziek is tergend traag (maar gelukkig nooit vervelend) waardoor je soms het gevoel krijgt als luisteraar dat je in een museum van klanken loopt.
Deze cd is eerder kort maar waar bij dronemuziek dit nogal eens kan leiden tot nummers die te lang uitgesponnen worden, houdt men zich hier tot de essentie : je laten binnendringen in een ander wereldje.
Weliswaar niet voor ieder zieltje, maar we gaan er van uit dat u ook maar niet zomaar een zieltje bent…