Review Merchants of Air

Today, the second installment of the review series for Vertoeven. This time by Serge from the awesome Merchants of Air from Berchem, Belgium. Enjoy! Also, as a reminder: I have a gig coming friday @ Opportunities. You’re very welcome! Also also: woohoo for 50th blog post.

Belgium – The Netherlands, if they’d have a mutual facebook relationship status, it would probably be ‘complicated’. We make fun of one another, but there’s also a lot of love, certainly in the world of music. Both our countries have an amazing underground scene with brilliant artists and bands. They also seem to like to work together and perform in each other’s country. Or, as is the case here, release a split tape.

We’ll start with Scheerling, an electronic drone act from Nijmegen (NL). His piece ‘Vertoeven LVI’ is a strange journey in four parts, guiding the listener through a universe of electronic drones, ambient soundscapes and distorted field recordings. The result reminds me of the works of those early electronic noise pioneers who created a spacy sound with their mysterious machines. Spacy but earthbound, eerie but warm. The kind of stuff that always represents an elaborate journey  They also come with four poems by Dutch writer Lisa Weeda.

Thaumaturgist, from Ghent (BE), is unable to stop experimenting with house and techno sounds, which results in an abstract and quite bizarre approach to electronic dance music. His contribution to this split consists of two (although they appear as one) pieces of electronic music, distorted ambient you can dance to if you will. Sounds, noises and melodies appear and disappear, sometimes minimal, sometimes overwhelming but always intriguing. The second piece has an industrial feel to it, mixed with some jazzy sounds. So yeah, quite a diverse piece of work.

In all, this is an excellent split, showing two artists who aren’t afraid of experimenting. One brings some nice drones, the other plays with beats, breaks and noises. That being said, perhaps it’s time for another experiment: getting both acts on stage together in a joint performance. I’m sure it will be an immersive trip, loaded with musical surprises. I’d like to see that…



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