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ELLENDE - Odyssey, A Sentimental Journey

Format: BOOK + 2 x 10inch
Label & Cat.Number: Smeerlappen - SMEERLAP 2
Release Year: 2019
Note: collector's item: impressive art-book (38 pages) and two 10" vinyls with four sides of dark nostalgic, acoustic / improv drone pieces by the mysterious South African art collective (residing in Tokyo), recorded in Cape Town 2018; the text in the book is centered about the odd sexual experiences of founding member Wim Bontjes with "Geishas" in Japan in the 90's, accomponied by "women's death-masks-like faces" graphics... beautiful and disturbing at the same time! ; numbered ed. of 300 copies, Japan import
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €38.00


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Odyssey, a sentimental journey: Ellendes latest release sees the band bringing together an album based on a trip Wim took to Japan to visit his cousin in the early 1990s. Most of the music in the records was recorded live at The Plantation in 2018, with a few minor overdubs added at various locations (Tokyo and London). The music might sound a bit nostalgic, the ambience of warm February nights in Cape Town while the sounds of old French movies seep through a badly tuned piano. Sometimes the doors are shut and large metal sheets are heard processed through guitar pedals. A modular synthesiser, analogue synths (Roland SH-101, Juno 6, ARP Solus, Solina) and guitar have been used as well throughout the album.

Dave Slave Mbambi: Guitar, Drones, Synths
Lodewikus Pretorius: Piano, Modular, String Synths
John John: Synths, Bows, Percussion,
Martinus Antonius: Recording, Mix, Tapes, Phasers
Rafael Anton Irisarri: Mastering
Richard Hart: Design and Art Direction


https://ellende1.bandcamp.com/album/odyssey-a-sentimental-journey


"For quite a few reasons this release is a big surprise. First of all, I had not heard of Ellende in many years. The last time was back in Vital Weekly 772 when I reviewed a live cassette from the group. That was after some hiatus, but between Vital Weekly 346 and 444, there were no less than ten different releases reviewed in these pages (I even wrote by now Ellende seems to appear in every new Vital Weekly) including the all-revealing 'Kut Met Peren' 3"CDR. So that is Dutch and so is the word Ellende, which stands for 'misery'. That is one surprise. The next one is that this release doesn't fit the previous somewhat lo-fi aesthetic of the old work, but this a lovely, beautiful release. The records are packed inside the front cover of a hardcover book (actually an oversized dust-cover, and some thirty-six pages of text and images, all in beautiful black and white. The third surprise is that Ellende is still around and still very little is known about them. Wim Bontjes and his cousin Martinus Antonius start it out with tape experiments. Bontjes committed suicide in 1995 and the group continued with his "conceptual ideas", even when these ideas remain unnamed. Over the years many people have been a member, all in steady flux. This new record was recorded in South Africa, as, mystery solved, they are from there and not The Netherlands, with Dave "Slave" Mbambi on guitars, drones and synth, Lodewikus Pretorius on piano, modular, string synths and John John on synths, bows, percussion while Antonius is responsible for recording, mix, tapes and phasers. Bandcamp is a bit more specific: "Sometimes the doors are shut and large metal sheets are heard processed through guitar pedals. A modular synthesiser, analogue synths (Roland SH-101, Juno 6, ARP Solus, Solina) and guitar have been used as well throughout the album. "The release is about a trip Wim made to Japan to visit his cousin (I assume Antonius) and the stories are about a "pitiful chase of sex', portrayed by "women's death-masks-like faces", as such by Richard Hart in the book. I mist admit that I re-read some of the old reviews to remind myself what Ellende was all about; I forgot after all those/despite all those releases. I must say I very much enjoyed this new release. There is an excellent dark mood depicted here, fitting the likewise dark images of the book and the tales of sordid sex. An endless stream of synthesizers mingles very pleasantly with sustaining guitar sounds and sound effects used to place accents in strategic places. Sometimes the guitar is strummed in a more traditional way, such as in 'Girlfriend Experience' but against a doomy backdrop of much reverb. Throughout this album carries on the torch of Ellende's previous work with fuzzy and busy drones, beautifully colliding. This is one damn fine release; one that is just perfect, both in music and packaging. It is almost like a pre-programmed collector's item. I am very curious if Ellende will slip back into another period of hibernation. I hope that is not the case." [FdW/Vital Weekly]