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HOLTKAMP, KOEN - Field Rituals

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Type Records TYPE035
Release Year: 2008
Note: ambient debut-album of MOUNTAINS-member
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €16.00

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" 'Field Rituals' is the first solo album to come from Koen Holtkamp, an artist probably better known as one half of ambient duo Mountains. Based in Brooklyn, Koen created the album slowly and as a love letter of sorts, taking in delicate field recordings and using them like faded photos representing his distinct memories of the people and places he chanced upon. Some may have heard the incredible Make Haste which appeared on limited edition vinyl earlier in the year, but this was only a taste of what Koen has to offer on Field Rituals.
Taking cues from the classic ambience of Brian Eno and fusing it with the instrumental subtlety of Swedens Tape, Koen has come up with an aural book on his subject matter. Each track feels entwined in the next and feels like a part of something much bigger. Sure weve heard field recordings, synthesizers and guitars before but rarely have these instruments been injected with such a lightness of touch and with such a delicate open ear. Each listen reveals more, like peeling back layers of onion skin take the albums epic centrepiece Sky Flowers for example, which blends slow-moving synthesizers with good-natured environmental recordings and shimmering strings. The result is explosive somehow, with the grandeur more usually exploited by Arvo Part being framed with a distant electronic ambience.
The slow-burning pace is probably the single most important facet and reveals an artist at ease with his musical choices, something unusual in a genre brimming with young hopefuls. A good comparison might be Stars of the Lid, but Koens music is more organic and more humble somewhat than the ex-Texan duo. In the end we are just proud that Koen has allowed us a look into this most personal of works." [label info]

"Here be the first full length album from Mountains-man Koen Holtkamp. You may recall we got in (and sold out) his contribution to
the A Room Forever series of LPs commissioning artists to match a field recording on one side with a sympathetic composition on the other. Where his offering there was a dark-hued, ominous crescendo of crackled drone sourced from acoustic guitar, Field Rituals has its
head in the clouds. Holtkamp begins the album with a lovely round of brightly rendered acoustic guitar finger picking with some tricked out ring modulation effects giving each of the tones a sun-flecked glow and funhouse mirror curvature. Sustained drones from loops of melodica and harmonica mutate into an ersatz harmonium with the soaring overtones and sweeping fluctuations of tonalities gently crashing into each other. The loops every once in a while coalesce into a rhythmic underbelly, but mostly they settle as a effervescent bubbling of overlapping delay patterns and softly shimmered ambience. On top of all of this, Holtkamp dapples everything with his shimmered guitar and occasional crackles of tactile objects (he mentions water, seeds, ice, and paper) as well as field recordings of giggly children romping in a playground. The effect is somewhere between the immaculate pieces from Keith Fullerton Whitman's recordings and the bright-eyed naturalist
wonder of the Jewelled Antler camp. Really gorgeous stuff from the ever impressive Type label." [Aquarius Records review]