Review StringStrang 5 at Vital Weekly
Jan Kees Helms has been playing music since the 80s under various guises. In the early years as Post Mortem, then a couple of years doing performances with McDonalds waste and these days he strums the guitar in StringStrang. From both Post Mortem and StringStrang there are new releases. On his self released ‘Five’, he presents four pieces from November 2012 to January 2013, three of which are twelve minutes and one is nine minutes. In a typical StringStrang piece Helms loops a few rounds of strumming and then adds on top more layers of sound, in real time, either by more strumming or by playing an(e-)bow. The result can be mild, as on the previous release ‘Four’ was the case, but in these four pieces it seems Helms is in a less moody place. ‘03’ is a bit mellow, but the distortion never seems far away, even here. Only in ‘04’ it seems absent. ‘01’ and ‘02’ are quite fiery, dark beasts of guitar drones. The influence of Dirk Serries is present in all four pieces, but in the fi
pieces, it’s more the early days of Fears Falls Burning and in the closing piece the more current version. I liked ‘Four’ for it’s mellowness, so ‘Five’ is perhaps a bit of set back. It’s good, no doubt, but not as good as the previous release. But definitely worth checking out, if you want an impression of what StringStrang is all about.
Frans de Waard
Vital Weekly 910
StringStrang “Five” on Bandcamp
StringStrang “Five” release at Ceremony of Ascension
Our new release “Five” will be released at the Ceremony of Ascension 2013 festival in Antwerpen. The CD-R will contain four compositions and will be released at Lor Tapes.
Review StringStrang “Four” at Vital Weekly
At the foundation of this release, there is apparently a ‘pagan metal riff’, but (un-)fortunately my knowledge of metal music is very limited, so I didn’t recognize any metal riff here, or in fact any metal at all. Stringstrang is one of the names used by Jan-Kees Helms, who also works as a photographer and film maker. Here he plays the guitar and a whole bunch of effects and the music is two pieces of twenty minutes, apparently the length for a zen meditation. It’s not difficult to think of a connection between the music and zen, as Stringstrang plays some extended fields of endless sustaining guitar sounds. Maybe it’s indeed a riff of whatever kind, but severed from any metal context (pagan or otherwise), caught and trapped inside the looping devices, stretched and humming on end, with a Twin Peaks opening on the second piece, you can envisage a beautiful landscape, sea waves or perhaps nothing at all, and focus on that all embracing void. The first piece, simply titled ‘1’ seems to me a bit more metallic at the start, from the strings - not the influence - but strums away nicely towards the end, whereas ‘2’ remains a bit more abstract throughout. Great pieces and even when I didn’t hear all music by Stringstrang, I can say that this is an big leap forward, moving away from the harsher textures from the earlier work I heard. Very good. (Frans de Waard)
Concerts in november 2013
14 november 2013
StringStrang will play Touch and Vanishing Noises at Ceremony of Ascension 2013 festival in Antwerpen - Belgium.
24 november 2013
Vanishing Noises will also be played at Grensverkenningen festival in Haarlem - The Netherlands.
Vanishing Ghosts is a new StringStrang project. The landscape and the sounds of Scotland are the inspirations of “Vanishing Ghosts.” The silence, the space, the clouds, the wind, the water, the mountains, the slow speed of moving, the strength of nature and the tradition of culture are the elements of this piece.
A combination of field-recordings and interpretations of some Gaelic melodies are the ingredients of the drony ambient music. The long lasting recordings of the landscape of the Scottish Highlands, recorded at the Isle of Skye and Glencoe, will lead the listener to a quiet mood. The music and movie have a slow tempo, it is like enjoying a good single malt whisky by rolling the liquid in your mouth.
As part of the Environmental Art Festival Scotland, 24 hours of music that nobody has ever heard before will be broadcast from noon to the Galloway Forest where nobody might be listening. The only way to hear it is to be there. StringStrang will contribute this event with one track.
Live excerpt of live performance “Europa” at No Border Camp
StringStrang - Europa : live at No Border Camp
StringStrang will play “Europa” at No Border Camp in Rotterdam at 6 August 2013.
"Europa" is about waiting, travelling, people and the causes of the borders of Fort Europa. It is a mix of melancholic drones, field-recordings and slowly developing images.
More information: http://nobordercamp.nl