THOMAS ANKERSMIT – Homage To Dick Raaijmakers

Shelter Press

Amidst the current trends aimed at generating revenues from the garbage of the 60s and the 70s (for example, the avalanche of mediocre Italian soundtracks by Morricone wannabes Piero Umiliani, Alessandro Alessandroni, Armando Trovajoli and the likes) it’s a genuine relief to observe, on the right side of acoustic civilization, a spreading interest for electroacoustic composers from the North of Europe who had gone undeservedly unnoticed. In recent years, the doors of the archives are finally being opened for the retrieval of valuable creations by obscure visionaries who used to operate in neighbouring areas, typically intent in utilizing the studio as an instrument for uncustomary sonorities. As it happened last year with Jaap Vink’s album on Editions Mego, the same curiosity should now be stimulated by another ingenious Dutchman: Dick Raaijmakers, of whom everyone must seek a copy of the triple CD The Complete Tape Music Of Dick Raaijmakers to realize how a few means amount to a lot when escorted by creative perspicacity.

This tribute to Raaijmakers could definitely constitute an erasing weapon against the above-stated artistic inferiority. In a single piece of about 34 minutes, Thomas Ankersmit (for those who do not recall his CV, remember the surnames Niblock, Drumm and O’Rourke) put his knowledge of the Serge Modular synthesizer at work, coupling it with other analogue units while establishing feedback processes across the lot. To add a noisier component he also employed a contact microphone, dragging it over the equipment.

Does the explanation of the methods furnish an even blurred idea of what one can find herein? Of course not. But if you consider Ankersmit’s ongoing focus on certain phenomena (such as infrasonic vibration) the thrill derived from the assimilation of this excellent record will not surprise. The music – merging radical dynamics, violent volume shifts and edgy stillness – lets the entire body/psyche mechanism free to determine what is healthiest, at any given moment, in terms of frequency decoding to achieve intuitive information. A crucial aspect of Ankersmit’s indagation is represented by otoacoustics: sounds born within the inner ear but not really existing in the source. Sensible enough audiences are going to deal with this issue throughout Homage as they acknowledge the effects of wrenched pitches, awesome holophonic tremors and biotically composite patterns. A detachment from the so-called rational mind is experienced; any layer of intellectual/verbal nonsense gets thoroughly peeled off.

In simpler words, this a brilliant electronic pronouncement whose consequence in a listener’s inmost systems is palpable. Ankersmit’s cognoscenti need no further pushing; the unconvinced are warmly invited to a session of neurological improvement.

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