artist: Mendel Kaelen
release: Remembering What Was Forgotten
year of release: 2010
detailed info: discogs.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.
1. Satori (29:08)
2. Forgetting To Remember (13:13)
3. In The Stillness (13:13)
4. Light Of Nature (10:25)