Interview: Dirk Serries


 

Photo by Sjugge

This inter­view was mainly con­duc­ted in Feb­ru­ary 2009, on the night of the Tone­float fest­ival in Para­diso, Ams­ter­dam. It was cor­rec­ted and sup­ple­men­ted with some addi­tional mater­ial in March 2011, to roughly coin­cide with the release of the Chas­ing the Odys­sey ret­ro­spect­ive box set on Tone­float. Thanks to Dirk for the pleas­ure of speak­ing to him, and for his patience. Also, thanks to the vari­ous pho­to­graph­ers for the per­mis­sion to use their work.

Inter­view con­duc­ted by O.S.


Flem­ish com­poser and musi­cian Dirk Ser­ries is one of the more pro­lific names act­ive in ambi­ent and drone music, hav­ing released many albums under the vid­na­Ob­mana name, as well as mater­ial as Fear Falls Burn­ing, 3 Seconds of Air, and under his own name. Over the years, he has pion­eered many styles of elec­tron­ica and ambi­ent, as well as guitar-based drone music.

The roots of his musi­cian­ship lie in the under­ground Indus­trial music and tapet­rad­ing scene of the 1980s.

Dirk Ser­ries: I star­ted mak­ing music as a young guy, in 1984. My par­ents star­ted noti­cing that I tried to make music with turntables, mak­ing a kind of locked grooves, par­tic­u­larly in movie soundtracks. That was a fas­cin­a­tion of mine. I got an old syn­thes­izer from my father, a Korg ana­log synth, and then I star­ted exper­i­ment­ing with very aggress­ive indus­trial music. It was very ama­teur­ish, of course. But you start build­ing up skills, exper­i­ment with dif­fer­ent ele­ments - what can I do, what can’t I do - do I need musical edu­ca­tion for that?

For the indus­trial music, feel­ing was primary as com­pared to clas­sical edu­ca­tion. I never felt the need to edu­cate myself clas­sic­ally in music. Everything to do with elec­tronic music in that time, the effects, record­ing equip­ment, synths, and so forth, I taught myself all of that, tried things, exper­i­mented, until I got a sat­is­fy­ing res­ult.

But over the years, as my music grew more refined, par­tic­u­larly with vid­na­Ob­mana at the time, you start real­ising that you need a bit more than feel­ing for exper­i­ment­a­tion, more than just a good pair of ears. But I never took the step to get a clas­sical edu­ca­tion. Now that I play elec­tric gui­tar instead of elec­tron­ics, I some­times feel that lack. On the other hand, and this is con­firmed by many fel­low artists, also musi­cians who do have clas­sical train­ing, it can some­times limit you in your artistic free­dom, in the sense that a clas­sical edu­ca­tion can impose lim­its on your vis­ion. You are con­fined by a cer­tain sheet music, cer­tain schemas to fol­low. I am auto­di­dactic, I hear cer­tain things that they some­times do not; you’re not always on the same wavelength. Part of me wishes I had such a train­ing, but on the other hand it hasn’t caused me any real prob­lems so far.

Over the years, Dirk has col­lab­or­ated with more clas­sic­ally trained people. He relates some of his thoughts on such col­lab­or­a­tions between clas­sical trained musi­cians and musi­cians work­ing with impro­visa­tion and informal play­ing styles. Do dif­fer­ences in train­ing cause con­flict or not?

A little bit of both. I’ve worked with a jazz double bass player, who was open­minded enough to com­pletely step away from his clas­sical base, and that went per­fectly. Of course, impro­visa­tion is a big part of jazz. How­ever, with vid­na­Ob­mana I also had a pro­ject with a sym­phonic orches­tra, and when you start talk­ing with these people, you notice there can be a ser­i­ous bar­rier. These people are per­fectly schooled, but what they do - without want­ing to dis­par­age it - they do per­form­ances of exist­ing works, in the form that is on their sheet. And these people have a big prob­lem actu­ally tak­ing that step over the limit. It’s very curi­ous, it’s some­thing they can’t pic­ture men­tally. If you talk about com­bin­ing an orches­tra and exper­i­mental music, they don’t under­stand it; it is a totally dif­fer­ent atmo­sphere, a dif­fer­ent musical world. And these are real lim­it­a­tions you may exper­i­ence, but also some­thing you learn to deal with. There was no clash of egos or any­thing because one has clas­sical train­ing and the other hasn’t, noth­ing like that. Just tech­nical lim­it­a­tions. Luck­ily, though, I haven’t met any people that really couldn’t work with me, or vice versa.

Dirk star­ted his musical jour­ney in Ant­werp, which is still his home base. He tells us how the begin­ning years went, and whether there were a lot of people to work with at the time.

In the begin­ning, it was just me, I didn’t have any musical friends. In the early 80s there was a huge tape cul­ture. All inde­pend­ent music, very uncom­mer­cial music, was released on tapes, and you star­ted trad­ing these tapes with other people who had tape labels. That was a world­wide thing - there was no Inter­net, obvi­ously - so you had to wait a long time before your pack­ages were returned. It evolved really slowly. But one day, I was invited to do a radio show on Radio Centraal - the most import­ant inde­pend­ent radio sta­tion in Bel­gium, I think. Cer­tainly the most idio­syn­cratic, and it still exists, and has reason to exist. Any­way, in that time I did a show about tape cul­ture with pre­dom­in­antly exper­i­mental music, and there were a couple of other DJs who worked with sim­ilar music. And in this way I met, among oth­ers, the people behind Hybryds, another exper­i­mental group who after­wards grew towards CDs and fur­ther. With people like that I was able to exchange ideas. Like I said, it’s very inter­est­ing to do your own thing, to secure your own vis­ion, to not have to com­prom­ise. But to cre­ate a broader base to work from, you have to be able to share your exper­i­ences with oth­ers, and to work with oth­ers, and that is really import­ant to me, because you really learn a lot from inter­est­ing col­lab­or­a­tions.

Even­tu­ally, Dirk made the step from work­ing only for him­self, at home, to send­ing his music out into the world.

It star­ted through those tape net­works. I was already work­ing as vid­na­Ob­mana at the time, also the really aggress­ive indus­trial music from the begin­ning. I star­ted self-releasing some tapes, and sent those around. There was also a small num­ber of zines world­wide writ­ing about it. In this way, you come into con­tact with other musi­cians, with tape labels. And as the years went by, CDs star­ted get­ting cheaper as well, and some of the tape labels became CD labels. And you evolve along­side of that, start releas­ing a CD your­self, come into con­tact with labels who never were a tape label, but had star­ted with CDs in the first place and have a big scope in mind. In this way, you take a new step every time in grow­ing, and if you have a bit of healthy ambi­tion, you are able to grow, and for me this was a very inter­est­ing period, because I laid the base there for meet­ing many Amer­ican people, who later helped me to get signed with labels like Pro­jekt, for example.

Dirk released a num­ber of key albums on Pro­jekt, like The River of Appear­ance and Cross­ing the Trail so we asked him more about his rela­tion­ship with the label.

Photo by Sjugge

I had an exclus­iv­ity con­tract with them. At least until they got into a lesser period fin­an­cially, and had to shrink a little, and they decided to ter­min­ate all exclus­iv­ity con­tracts. I still work with Pro­jekt, for example vid­na­Ob­mana albums that had gone out of stock have to be rereleased, so that has become a rela­tion­ship for life. And that is a beau­ti­ful thing. Actu­ally, this all star­ted with that one little tape net­work that Sam Rosenthal [Projekt’s owner] had; he too star­ted with tapes, and also evolved out of that. Luck­ily some people who had the right atti­tude back then are still in busi­ness. A lot of them dis­ap­peared, of course, which is a pity, because it is still an uncom­mer­cial genre. Many of them must have exper­i­enced a kind of dis­il­lu­sion when busi­ness star­ted improv­ing with CDs. Any­way, it’s a con­tinu­ally evolving world, and luck­ily there are still a num­ber of key fig­ures who keep set­ting the stage in the mar­ket, and that is a good thing.

It didn’t stop there, how­ever, and Dirk has since released a large num­ber of albums on vari­ous labels.

Well, I was pretty much done with vid­na­Ob­mana. I’d said what I wanted to say. After the Pro­jekt period I released a few CDs on the Hyp­nos label, and then, through meet­ing a few people from the metal scene, I ended up on Relapse Records. There I released the final three vid­na­Ob­mana albums, the Dante Tri­logy. Those were actu­ally a fusion of all ele­ments I had exper­i­mented with over the his­tory of the pro­ject, from indus­trial to pure ambi­ent to more rhythmic work. I was able to col­lect that in that tri­logy, and for me that was the end of the story. My fas­cin­a­tion with elec­tric gui­tar was grow­ing at the time, and I star­ted think­ing. I wanted to set up a totally dif­fer­ent pro­ject, and that became Fear Falls Burn­ing.

The most prom­in­ent home base for Dirk’s music at the moment is the dutch label Tone­float. Nat­ur­ally we wanted to know how this intim­ate rela­tion came into exist­ence. He also tells us a bit more about Con­spir­acy records, who also release some of his mater­ial.

After I released the tri­logy through Relapse, I came into con­tact with Steven Wilson. He had got­ten the albums through the label, and he liked them so much we got in touch with each other. He wrote to me say­ing, look, I’m cur­rently in touch with a label that might be up your alley. And that is how I came into con­tact with Charles [Bet­er­ams, owner of Tone­float -OS]. Since then, it’s got­ten bet­ter and bet­ter. I think Steven and I are two of the most prom­in­ent fig­ures on Tone­float. Around it, dif­fer­ent artists with dif­fer­ent styles also work on the label, but we are the two pil­lars that the exper­i­mental part of Tone­float is built on. And the rela­tion­ship with Charles is so good that we can keep work­ing towards the next step, and the next, and so forth. For that reason, there are only two labels that mat­ter to me for Fear Falls Burn­ing: Tone­float because he really has a fas­cin­a­tion and pref­er­ence for the min­imal aspect of exper­i­mental music, and Con­spir­acy Records from Bel­gium because they prefer the heav­ier, the more intim­id­at­ing aspect.

For me, those are the two sides of Fear Falls Burn­ing. It’s the same per­son; I love the min­imal, but I also love the impuls­ive, the very harsh things. And I really didn’t think, and Charles agreed, that the lat­ter part would fit in with Tonefloat’s vis­ion. For that reason I am glad I can work together nicely with two labels. Another advant­age is both are close to me. I am in Ant­werp, Charles is in Rot­ter­dam, and Con­spir­acy is an Ant­werp label, so it’s all close together. This is really dif­fer­ent from work­ing with Amer­ican labels, that is so dis­tant. Now you can just sit around the table, relax, and talk about things, dis­cuss things, look at the art­work together. If you’re work­ing from a dis­tance this is dif­fer­ent, and you run the risk of hav­ing mis­un­der­stand­ings. Espe­cially with Charles this works great. He’s such an out­go­ing and inspir­ing guy, who knows so much about art­work, about the qual­it­at­ive side of things, that it is very edu­ca­tional work­ing with him. In the end, I am a musi­cian, and I know little about such things, and that way you form a great team. You can really feel and com­ple­ment each other.

So Tone­float and Con­spir­acy are really the labels I want to work with at the moment. There were a lot of labels who made offers to me after Fear Falls Burn­ing sort of boomed in 2007, and I took up some of them in the begin­ning because I wanted to get a feel for the genre itself, the style, the world of it and how far I could come with it. In the begin­ning you have to play broadly to find out where you music is received best. That is very import­ant, because you can be on a nice label, without any­thing really hap­pen­ing with the music. That hap­pens a lot, that you get a label with a great image and feel­ing, bit without any com­mer­cial power. I mean, I’m not a busi­ness­man, but when you decide you want your music out there, you want it to reach the people. It’s no use hav­ing 500 cop­ies of your LP in your room, so you hope it’ll go around the world a bit. So you really have to exper­i­ence a num­ber of dif­fer­ent labels to even­tu­ally decide with which ones you want to keep work­ing. Con­spir­acy is one of them, and Tone­float is another.

Nat­ur­ally, there were vari­ous pro­jects in the works when this inter­view was first con­duc­ted in 2009. Most import­ant was the 8LP ret­ro­spect­ive box set from vid­na­Ob­mana, Chas­ing the Odyssee, which finally saw the light of day recently in 2011. Dirk told us about the plan­ning that went into the box, and some other release plans for his pro­jects.

Chas­ing the Odyssee

We are still work­ing on the box set. It was ori­gin­ally going to be released this winter, but it’ll be pushed back to 2010 now.  Just because we both feel we’re not com­pletely done with it yet. The music is selec­ted, everything is mastered, but we still have to decide on a pack­aging that will be afford­able, because I think that’s very import­ant. And it’s a whole chal­lenge, though luck­ily Charles knows a lot of print­ers he works with, so he can get samples. That’s how we keep work­ing, and before you know it, months pass without any decision mak­ing. So yes, Charles has a lot of trust in me, and I’m very grate­ful for that, but he is also someone that as a mat­ter of prin­ciple doesn’t invest in someone without there being a win­dow of oppor­tun­ity for hav­ing the invest­ment pay itself pack. It’s sort of like a five year plan, he wants to work with someone he can get along with, where you under­stand each other and build a future together, and if the invest­ment even­tu­ally pays for itself. And that is Charles’ strength, I think; he looks at is com­mer­cially, but at the same time in a unique artistic way. He would never com­prom­ise the music itself and the way you want to present it. He wants to keep his label alive at the same time, and that is import­ant, too. It’s nice to release a CD, but it has to do some­thing com­mer­cially as well, and I think Charles has such things per­fectly under con­trol. And for that reason we like to plan into the future. Not just to pre­vent con­flicts between the two labels I work with, but also to just see how we can shape the future, how to get a flow into it, a sort of con­tinu­ity that sounds logical and is accept­able to every­one. There has only ever been one vid­na­Ob­mana release on vinyl, so we thought it would be great to do a ret­ro­spect­ive, a clos­ing chapter on vinyl. Because this will def­in­itely mark the end of vid­na­Ob­mana.

With Fear Falls Burn­ing, it’s the other way around. We star­ted with lim­ited vinyl releases, and now that we see there is demand for it, we are switch­ing to rereleases on CD. A big step for Charles. Soon there will be two of those, the first in a series of 10 CDs. He really believes in the qual­ity of vinyl, but he man­aged to make the CDs appeal­ing in a way as well. The sleeves are on beau­ti­ful thick card­stock, like the latest Sand Snow­man album. Mine will be single sleeve, but when the series is com­plete, we want to have a box where you can put all 10 CDs, so you have a nice col­lec­tion. Basic­ally the whole back cata­logue will be col­lec­ted. There were a couple of vinyl releases on other labels, but these will return on Tone­float, because I think it is import­ant that one label is a sort of flag­ship for me. The Inter­net is a maze any­way, and there are so many labels that it is nearly impossible for any indi­vidual to keep up. So I want you as a fan or listener to be able to go to one label and know that there the future is being built for a par­tic­u­lar artist. That if you want to fol­low artist X, that you really only have to look at one or max­im­ally two labels to really keep track. It can be con­fus­ing oth­er­wise, and I fell into that trap with vid­na­Ob­mana a couple of times. With Fear Falls Burn­ing I really want to avoid that. So to me it is really import­ant to have made a mul­tiple year plan­ning with Tone­float.

Charles works in a unique way with Tone­float. There are only of few artists signed to the label, but with rel­at­ively many albums. In this way, the label builds up series, and cre­ates a unique exper­i­ence for listen­ers.

Photo by Flughun

Yes, this is very spe­cial. I know a few musi­cian friends myself, for example a musi­cian from Ger­many that I think is really good, and I thought I might recom­men­ded it to Tone­float. Maybe he could release a nice LP. It is really great drone music, and Charles said, I love it, but I’m not gonna do it. Why? Because I already have a drone artist on the label, and I want to focus all my atten­tion on that one. I think that’s a beau­ti­ful ges­ture, a great prin­ciple to work from, and I believe that is the strength of the label. Sup­pose you have a label with dozens of drone artists, dozens of exper­i­mental artists, they have to com­pete with each other on that one label. And then you get a kind of divi­sion within that label. Some­times it works that way, curi­ously enough. Not because of the artists, but because listen­ers also make choices.

Now with Steven Wilson, Charles has the Bass Com­mu­nion pro­ject, he has Por­cu­pine Tree, and a couple of other things. With Sand Snow­man he’s got very unique exper­i­mental folk. With me, a unique drone artist who does his own thing. With Theo Travis he released a very remark­able and atmo­spheric record, very dif­fer­ent. So these are all musi­cians with some com­mon ground, but who will never be in each other’s way. That is very inter­est­ing about the label. It might make things dif­fi­cult to sell com­mer­cially to dis­trib­ut­ors, but at the same time it is inter­est­ing for them also.

In the end, it is still niche music.

I don’t mind it being so. If I play for three people tonight, or ten, or for 500, I will enjoy it in every case. But I have found that the best gigs for me are in front of a smal­ler audi­ence. Very strange, but that works best. As long as they are on the same wavelength. If you tour as a sup­port act, for example, and you play for 1.000 people, and you know only 10 or per­haps 100 people are really inter­ested in your music, it’ll be a rough night. Artists often talk about a black hole in the audi­ence. You don’t see it, but you feel it. The mur­murs, the beha­viour. And it’s a pity for the 100 people who do enjoy see­ing your show, that want to listen, but are hindered by the other 900. I would prefer play­ing an a smal­ler scale than in big halls. But some­times it makes sense to join those lar­ger groups, that’s logical. You do reach out to new people. Charles does that too, but in a dif­fer­ent way. He tries through the label to make it appeal­ing to find out about new artists. Say you like Por­cu­pine Tree, and you buy a record at Tone­float. Well, Charles will do an offer where you get a dis­count if you also buy Fear Falls Burn­ing. In that way people do get acquain­ted with dif­fer­ent music. That’s a nice sys­tem.

In 2009, Tone­float released a col­lab­or­a­tion LP between Fear Falls Burn­ing and Theo Travis. Dirk explains how this came about.

Well, I know Theo’s music through the Slow Life LP he put out on Tone­float, a beau­ti­ful record. Charles knew I admired it, and I had been in con­tact with Theo a couple of times through MySpace, so Charles came with the idea of us doing a col­lab­or­at­ive record for a Tone­float release. He orches­trated it, really. He linked us up, pro­posed it, and in that way we star­ted work­ing together. Because it would be a Tone­float release, I thought it best to take a rather min­imal approach to it, and Theo agreed. We decided upon a musical key to work in, and here we return to the point of clas­sical train­ing, him being a clas­sic­ally trained musi­cian. But after that, things came very spon­tan­eously, and we worked towards a min­imal piece. Someone asked me recently how I would describe the music on The Tone­float Ses­sions, and per­son­ally I think it is the most extreme record I have made with Fear Falls Burn­ing to date. Not in the sense of being loud or noisy, not at all, but extreme in its min­im­al­ism. In a cer­tain sense, the nihil­ism that’s in it. The LP has such a des­ol­ate atmo­sphere, even by my stand­ards, I really start­ing real­ising this when listen­ing back to it. I though, damn, this really turned out to be a very desolte, icily calm album. It has a cer­tain lay­er­ing, which gives it some body, but it still feels icy to me. Someone also made a par­al­lel to vid­na­Ob­mana, which I don’t agree with. To me, vid­na­Ob­mana was more easy­going, warmer, gently flow­ing music. With some edgier ele­ments at times, surely, but over­whelm­ingly warm, flow­ing music. This is some­thing entirely dif­fer­ent. Com­pared to some­thing like Frenzy of the Abso­lute, this is very extreme to me. There is a strong con­trast, but at the same time, both have the same level of intens­ity. You work with dif­fer­ent ele­ments, but the intens­ity is just as strong, just as dynamic, even though you are work­ing without drums. And that’s why I think it is an extreme record, because it’s at the oppos­ite end of the spec­trum.

On the pro­lific Frenzy of the Abso­lute album, Dirk worked with dif­fer­ent per­cus­sion­ists. He related how these col­lab­or­a­tions came about and pos­sib­il­it­ies for future works.

This is again a mat­ter of meet­ing a lot of people and labels in the begin­ning of Fear Falls Burn­ing. Among the people I got into con­tact with via MySpace were the musi­cians of Cult of Luna and Switchblade. Cult of Luna invited me to sup­port them on tour, and we did that twice. The first time on tour I star­ted talk­ing with Johannes, the gui­tar­ist, and we thought it would be inter­est­ing to do some­thing together, and this grew into doing some­thing on stage together. Before we knew it, the drum­mer Mag­nus Lind­berg was there, and that was a sym­bi­osis that clicked. We star­ted think­ing it would be nice to do some­thing for Con­spir­acy records. I met Tim Ber­tils­son, the Switchblade drum­mer, in a sim­ilar way, and the fol­lowup to Frenzy of the Abso­lute will tread sim­ilar paths, also with drums, in that style.

The only down­side is that you can’t always work with the live drums. Some­times I just have to use loops. Last Novem­ber we man­aged to do it all live in Ant­werp. That was in a cul­tural centre that is sub­sid­ised, so we were able to fly over all musi­cians. That was a won­der­ful gig with a per­fect sym­bi­osis, and that cave me an indic­a­tion that this was a good to dir­ec­tion in which to con­tinue. The only prob­lem is the logist­ical one, fly­ing every­one over from Sweden, so I hope to find someone who lives more close by, who speaks the same musical lan­guage as well, because that is also a factor. We spoke about clas­sic­ally trained musi­cians, and those who are not. Well, there is the same with drum­mers who have a rock atti­tude and those who are more open, because it is very hard to drum to drones. That was a long search for me, before I found Tim and Mag­nus, who are able to detach from a cer­tain rhythmic pat­tern and keep drum­ming without a guideline, and sup­ple­ment the rest iof the music, because that’s very import­ant. That works excel­lently now, and I hope to con­tinue work­ing with them in the future, maybe a little tour, we’ll see, but def­in­itely in the stu­dio.


Chas­ing the Odyssee’, Photo by Igor Romanov

A few things have changed since we spoke with Dirk in 2009. He has ini­ti­ated sev­eral new pro­jects since then, and the Chas­ing the Odyssee box set, span­ning over two dec­ades of work as vid­na­Ob­mana, was finally released earlier this year. We ask him how he feels about hav­ing the box out there, and what adjust­ments needed to be made before it could be put out.

It feels great! I’m so glad Tone­float and I were able to com­plete this huge pro­ject. No real big adjust­ments were made, the box-set still holds 8 LPs on 180gram black vinyl and a 25-page book­let of Mar­tina Ver­ho­even’s pho­to­graphy we used on most of the vid­na­Ob­mana back cata­logue.

Chas­ing the Odyssee’, Photo by Igor Romanov

But the actual reason for the delay was that Tone­float and I really wanted to find the best pro­duc­tional solu­tion so that we could offer the box set at a very reas­on­able price to the listener, and I think we really suc­ceeded. I am very grate­ful to Tone­float that he gave me the chance to con­clude the vid­na­Ob­mana story in style with this 8LP box. This pro­ject gave me the ideal plat­form to reflect back on my work as vid­na­Ob­mana from the past 25 years, select the music I con­sider to be essen­tial and return to an audio format that I per­son­ally neg­lected dur­ing the rise of the com­pact disc. Couldn’t dream for a bet­ter end­ing, really.

 

Since 2009, three new pro­jects have arisen for Dirk, one under his own name, and 3 Seconds of Air and The Sleep of Reason, which are col­lab­or­a­tions with oth­ers. He tells us briefly what’s behind each of them.

Some major decisions have been made. While I slowly but surely re-discovered my ongo­ing fas­cin­a­tion and respect for the min­imal, intro­spect­ive, and beau­ti­ful in gui­tar har­mon­ics I star­ted to real­ize that, due to the fast growth in style and com­pos­i­tion, Fear Falls Burn­ing was a pro­ject that clearly needed an end­ing nearby.

Fear Falls Burn­ing surfed on a wave of appre­ci­ation and mod­est suc­cess and there­fore I was able to not only record/release numer­ous albums in a short period but also work with sev­eral inter­est­ing musi­cians together in order to real­ize the vis­ion. From extra gui­tar­ists to drum­mers, Fear Falls Burn­ing became more than just myself in solo mode. While Fear Falls Burn­ing became that uncon­trol­lable entity, I sim­ul­tan­eously returned to restric­tion, dis­cip­line and min­im­al­ism. With Fear Falls Burn­ing I’ll release one more album that will end the pro­ject, and I’m cur­rently work­ing on mix­ing all songs, and if all goes well this last album should be released late 2011.

Photo by Sjugge

In 2008 I took a chance to, after some many years of work­ing under pseud­onyms, release my first album ever under my real name. Micro­phon­ics I-V was the debut and start of set­ting a goal for present­ing my pas­sion for the har­monic, beau­ti­ful and min­imal from there on.

The Micro­phon­ics series under my own name is a strict series that will slowly but surely take over all of my major pro­jects, the concept is fairly simple. The music is released in three ver­sions : the stu­dio albums are on reg­u­lar CD and LP with spe­cific art­work, the live records are LP-only, lim­ited to 300 cop­ies in three dif­fer­ent col­ors and without art­work and even­tu­ally all other pos­sible and infre­quent releases like tour edi­tions, etc. are on 10”.

With Micro­phon­ics I finally reached, after some many years of dis­cov­er­ing and exper­i­ment­ing, that momentum of self-awareness, a level of sat­is­fac­tion. Micro­phon­ics is the res­ult of work­ing so hard over these past 27 years. Redu­cing the pal­let of instru­ments to the most basic and return­ing to a genre I love the most. Micro­phon­ics is pure, min­imal, har­monic, dis­son­ant and just me.

3 Seconds Of Air is a band, a get­ting together of 3 musi­cians. I truly con­sider 3 Seconds Of Air not as one of my pro­jects, but a full band. I’m just a mem­ber that par­ti­cip­ates equally as the 2 other musi­cians.

Nat­ur­ally there’re musical par­al­lels but in my humble opin­ion 3 Seconds Of Air is much more about mak­ing a sort of mod­ern cham­ber music from a jazz or avant-garde point of view, music that is chal­len­ging in terms of ton­al­ity, the rela­tion­ship between 3 instru­ments and the musical dia­logue. Along with blues gui­tar­ist Paul Van Den Berg and my wife Mar­tina Ver­ho­even on elec­tric bass we’ve released our debut The Flight Of Song in 2009 and this March 25th our 2nd one We Are Dust Under The Dying Sun will be released. Both are on Tone­float.

The Sleep Of Reason spon­tan­eously grew out of cor­res­pond­ence between Jon Attwood (Yellow6) and myself. The Sleep Of Reason will exist in the form of a 3LP tri­logy, reflect­ing our mutual pas­sion for the most intro­spect­ive, lo-fi and des­ol­ate in gui­tar music. We’re cur­rently work­ing on the third album and if everything goes well this vinyl tri­logy will be released on Tone­float at the end of this year.

Finally, we wanted to know what else is planned for Dirk in the near future.

Apart from a few pending col­lab­or­at­ive pro­jects, main pro­jects are the releases of the second 3 Seconds Of Air album on March 25th, The Sleep Of Reason tri­logy and the last Fear Falls Burn­ing album towards the end of the year. Steven Wilson and I will start work­ing on a new Con­tinuum record in the 2nd half of 2011 while I’ll com­pose and record the long-awaited second Micro­phon­ics stu­dio album through­out the rest of this year and 2012. A stu­dio album I look so for­ward to as it will expand the tonal scope on Micro­phon­ics, a large tour will hope­fully fol­low.


Links:

Dirk Ser­ries Web­site

Tone­float Records
Pro­jekt Records
Con­spir­acy Records

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