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