Review: Mendel Kaelen - Remembering What Was Forgotten (2010)


artist: Mendel Kaelen
release: Remem­ber­ing What Was For­got­ten
format: CD
year of release: 2010
label: Self-released
dur­a­tion: 66:02

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Some ambi­ent music is a dir­ect expres­sion of the land­scapes that engendered it. A good example would be a great deal of Scand­inavian (dark) ambi­ent, where des­ol­ate envir­on­ments and long peri­ods of light and dark leap vividly from the sound­scapes. So, why couldn’t we do the same in the Neth­er­lands?

Remem­ber­ing What Was For­got­ten by Mendel Kaelen might just be an attempt at achiev­ing such an effect. The four long sound­scapes on this album revolve around field record­ings and lov­ingly pro­duced synths and arhythmic per­cus­sion, such as rain­makers. The massive first track def­in­itely goes in that dir­ec­tion, at least, giv­ing cen­ter stage to water in many forms, that ele­ment so quint­es­sen­tial to Dutch cul­ture. “For­get­ting To Remem­ber” links the theme of defect­ive memory (or even demen­tia?) to bar­ren, windswept musical land­scapes, achiev­ing a calm but mel­an­cholic whole. “In the still­ness” con­tin­ues in this vein with some treated min­im­al­ist piano sounds and soft drones. The final track builds up more intens­ity, coup­ling bright layered drones with more per­cus­sion.

Alto­gether, this is an ambi­ent album by the book, with metic­u­lous pro­duc­tion and a level of refine­ment not often encountered in Dutch artists. As a quick com­par­ison, I’d say it sounds a bit like Northaunt, trans­posed down a few degrees to Dutch lat­it­udes. It is self-released on CD in a zen-like digi­pak, so quite pro­fes­sion­ally format­ted as well. Mendel Kaelen has delivered very fine work here, that comes highly recom­men­ded to ambi­ent lov­ers.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Satori (29:08)
2. For­get­ting To Remem­ber (13:13)
3. In The Still­ness (13:13)
4. Light Of Nature (10:25)