The sounds Steward Martha processes on synthesizers, bass guitars, various objects and effect pedals feel at times like the musical equivalent to a polyphonic novel – different voices and tones, babbling and fabulating a wild maze of a story. It’s all about the Roofbauw, whatever the Roofbauw is.
The title of the album, as well as the titles of both tape sides, Brug and Tunnel, suggest a wide range of associations: from architecture to sound ecology to yoga poses; the latter was, most obviously, used by Dicey Studios for the supreme visual translation: the fucked up bridge. In fact, Steward Martha’s music is nodding to the esoteric world of new age and yoga, but it’s a crude yoga pose that’s struck here – contorted, whacky and, yes, kinky. It‘s body music. And it‘s fun.
Talking about the body: you can virtually feel the improvised character of this music; there's a very physical approach to it, recorded from scratch in one take, as the brute sounds start a life of their own, they breathe, evolve, merge. The extended use of techniques like tape looping and the transformation of singular sounds via delay pedals leads into a buzzing musical jungle, the hypnotic ambience of more rhythm-oriented freebeat artists flows together with buzzing fields of improvised noise, slowly evolving into a gaudíesque tower of melting soundwaves, a playful sort of Merzbau. Again, we’re talking architecture. Dream architecture.
Bridges and tunnels: they get you from here to there. Just follow the way of the Roofbauw.
Steward Martha is the moniker of Belgian Niels Verougstraete. Niels also runs the tape label Kerm, where he continues to release musics of some of Belgium’s finest (and underrated) experimental artists like Köhn, Godfried-Willem Raes or Draaier/Frezer. Roofbauw is his first solo outing.
released January 31, 2017
Antonelli Electronic Organ 2410, Roland JX-03, Korg Microkorg, BC Rich Bass, Boss Loopstation RC-2, Boss Overdrive / Dist OS-2, Boss ME 50B, Korg Monotron Delay, Cassette Loops, Microphone, Various Objects, Toys.
Recorded May 2016 at The Kerm Kantoor, Gentbrugge Belgium
Image based on a photo by Adrian Valenzuela, graphic design Dicey Studios