by Tobias Fischer
on Tokafi ( feb 2014 )


Minimum input, maximal complexity: De Waard has found the ideal interface.

It isn't without irony that some commentators have compared sections of this album to the aesthetics of innovators like Carsten Nicolai or Wolfgang Voigt. After all, rather than constituting an imitator, Frans de Waard, who released his debut as Freiband as early as 2001, was always part of the very same wave as well. Today, the initial impulse of that scene has been mostly lost to complacency, but this hasn't kept de Waard from searching: Although Stainless Steelshares many traits with previous releases under the Freiband-moniker, especially the contrast between sustained atmospheres and microscopic cut-ups as well as the concept of rhythm as a composite of constantly shifting non-propulsive patterns, it is also a step into a new direction. Spread out over a vinyl LP and a 3inch CD (Redux & Finale), the project is about feeding gamelan sounds through an array of hard- and software-tools, resulting in three remarkably different pieces: While "Stainless (software)" takes what seems to be a single musical phrase through a series of timbral transformations, oscillating between pensive metallic drones and chunks of diced noise, "Steel (hardware)" is entirely composed of tiny accentual permutations between a handful of abstract percussive elements. The closer you listen, meanwhile, the more the similarities are slowly beginning to outweigh the differences and you can even hear the familiar gamelan-structures shimmering through the delicate crackle field of the Redux & Finaleversion. It has been claimed that these recordings "reveal hidden aspects of the gamelan sonic palette", but that seems to be the very last thing they are concerned with. Rather, they're about yielding a maximum of musical complexity from a minimum of input, where nothing but the flicking of a finger could decisively change the course of the entire composition. For decades, electronic composers have sought for the ideal interface between the music in their mind and the digital medium. It seems that de Waard has found his.


by Petr Ferenc
on HISVoice apr 2012


Freiband je jedním z mnoha projektů Franse de Waarda, snad nejagilnější figury holandské experimentální scény. Známe jej z postindustriálních sestav Kapotte Muziek a Beequeen i „méně kovových“ Goem, THU20, Tobacconists a dalších, coby šéfa vydavatelství Korm Plastics, Plinkity Plonk a Moll i neúnavného redaktora a pisatele mailového magazínu Vital Weekly. Na albuStainless Steel nabízí dvě skladby: Stainless (hardware) a Steel (software). První z nich je jasně nerezová a ocelová, kovové zvonění ale není využíváno v rámci estetiky industriální hudby nýbrž coby příjemně zastřená zvonkohra nebo gamelan. Cinká to moc krásně a je to velmi uklidňující. Druhá skladba, jíž je prý možné přehrávat libovolnou rychlostí, je řídkým rastrem elektronických lupanců, které při každé změně rychlosti odhalují nová překvapení co do rytmu a barvy zvuku. Omezení výchozích zdrojů přináší maximální účinek – pokud máte rádi Alvu Nota nebo Pan Sonic, zaujme vás tahle poloha de Waardovy tvorby mimo vší pochybnost.


by Phillip "PBK" Klingler
on Killing Birds nov 2011


Freiband is a sound project of the prolific Frans De Waard. De Waard is very well known in the noise community for his vast review document, Vital Magazine, which he started producing in 1986, later evolving into the internet journal, Vital Weekly. He has also created excellent noise/experimental sounds as Kapotte Muziek and Beequeen (amongst others). Freiband, however, is quite unique from De Waard's other projects, here the glitching of computer hard drives create loops of different recordings, mainly it seems, pop music of one sort or another. This album was created by De Waard between 2009 and 2011, and then the tracks were mastered by James Plotkin. Some of these structures are very minimal, musical and acoustic to the ear, others have a more fractured and complex electronic feel. The post production on the sources seem to give them their environment, as the reverbs set up a habitat for the unusual sound loopings. The result, on side A's "Stainless (Software)", is a montage of strange and wonderful miniatures, at times with jarring cuts and unusual rising of volumes. It all adds to the invigorating quality of the sound material here, as you never can expect what will come next. Especially when you get to the end of the side and you are so tranced out it takes five minutes to figure out that it's a lock groove! Side B, "Steel (Hardware)" can supposedly be played in 33 or 45 rpms, and is considerably different from it's companion. Extremely minimal but not without interest as the sounds intertwine into an infinite loop that, seemingly, has no beginning and no end (in actuality has no end since the needle finally settles into another lock groove). I've had conversations with turntablist, AMK, about our mutual fascination with skipping records/cd's and this album is a perfect way to explain it's appeal. Because the post-modernist disconnect with the actual creation of these glitching textures, the surprise content, or potential of pure chance is unlocked by such experiments, then to take those experiments of chance and make them into something more compelling than their technical origin, that is the accomplishment of a true artist! This is fresh, unique work by one of the icons of the noise underground.


        by Fabrice Vanoverberg
from Rif Raf ( september 2011 )


Héritier foisonnant du grand Christian Fennesz (dont nous attendons avec moult impatiences le nouvel EP ‘Seven Stars’), Frans de Waard aka Freiband n’a eu de cesse au cours de son évolution musicale d’intégrer une lutte vivace contre tous les conformismes pompeux et nuisibles. Qu’il agisse en patron de label (Korn Plastics, c’est lui), en cheville ouvrière du passionnant magazine Vital Weekly ou en musicien aux multiples alias (Kapotte Muziek, THU20, sans parler de son propre blaze), l’artiste néerlandais intègre tout au long de son parcours des références d’hier aux techniques d’aujourd’hui. Dangereuse tant les germes de la stérilité émotionnelle guettent le moindre faux-pas, sa manière noise évite à la fois la noyade purement bruitiste et les emprunts exotiques mal dégrossis (un gamelan indonésien, une très belle habitude du micro-label bruxellois ini.itu – qu’on ne remerciera jamais assez pour le soin particulier qu’il apporte à ses pochettes et son artwork). Présenté sous un LP où chaque face évolue en contrepoint de l’autre (‘Stainless (software’) et ‘Steel (hardware)’), le disque de Freiband invite à sa table des références à la fois incontournables et précieuses – tout en demeurant rares en les pages de cette gazette pop. Très souvent, notamment en fin de la face A, on songe à du Iannis Xenakis échappé de Paris pour un refuge entre Vienne et Jakarta et la plaque retournée, on se prend à rêver d’une collision au sommet entre l’unique Steve Reich et M. Wolfgang Voigt (cette onomatopée en 4/4 !!!), sous le haut patronage de Lawrence English. Autant dire que pas une seconde, on ne baille aux corneilles…


        by Ron Schepper
from Textura ( september 2011 )


Two new releases from ini.itu perpetuate its commitment to explorative music-making, with one based on Indian music (specifically, on the “Hindustani Raag Lalit and its modulation to Raag Todi”) and the other a new outing by Frans de Waard under the Frieband name.


Freiband is the alias Frans de Waard uses for computer-based pieces, but it's hardly the only one he's adopted, with Kapotte Muziek and Goem two of the other, better-known names he's used (in both cases, with Roel Meelkop and Peter Duimelinks); de Waard is also known as the director of the labels Korm Plastics, Moll, and Plinkety Plonk. That Stainless Steel (also issued in a hand-numbered edition of 250 vinyl copies) promises to be a somewhat unusual affair is suggested by a note on the back cover that indicates side A should be played at 33rpm but side B at “any speed.”

The twenty-one-minute, side-long “Stainless (software)” incessantly churns, sounding at times like an amplified bicycle chain or crackling table saw. The material evolves through loud and soft episodes, with corroded tones resounding loudly at one moment and a gamelan pattern emerging from silence at another. The metallic and industrial sounds carry relentlessly on until a sudden pause brings them to a halt before they just as inexplicably start up again, this time flattened into a steely thrum. All manner of convulsions and seizures appear thereafter, with each rupture jarring in its own way. Side B's “Steel (hardware)” begins with machine-driven rhythms that are syncopated enough they could almost be called funky, but they're quickly derailed and transformed into alternating high- and low-end patterns. The focus on skeletal rhythm elements calls to mind the more minimal tracks Carsten Nicolai issues under the Alva Noto name, though there's a randomized and erratic quality to the Frieband material that's absent in Nicolai's ultra-clinical style. “Steel (hardware)” less rigidly adheres to set patterns and consequently has perhaps more in common with experimental electronic artists who allow chance to seep into their working methodologies (incidentally, played at 33rpm, side B clocks in at eighteen minutes). We're told that the album presents “two sides of radically reworked gamelan,” and at moments the description legitimately applies, even if most of the time the extensive manipulations renders the form of the originating material—whatever it might be—unrecognizable.


        by Fabien
from Liability Webzine ( august 2011 )


Frans de Waard est sans doute, avec Francisco Lopez, l'artiste le plus connu du catalogue du label Ini.itu dont la spécialité, répétons le, est de n'éditer que des vinyles en éditions limitées (à ce propos si le Francisco Lopez vous intéresse, sachez qu'il est sold out). Quoi qu'il en soit, notre rapport avec Frans de Waard n'est pas nouveau. Si on le connaissait par rapport à ses activités au sein du label Staalplaat et Korm Plastics ainsi que dans des formations comme Kapotte MuziekGoem ou Beequeen c'est bien sous le pseudo Freiband qu'il nous a été le plus familier ces dernières années (cf les albums Leise et Product avec Boca Raton). Ici, pour ce nouvel opus, de Waard s'est servi de gamelan dont les enregistrements ont servi de matériau pour une reconstruction électronique tout à fait étonnante. Sur la première face, Stainless est considéré comme la pièce ''software'' du travail de reconstruction. Steel serait son pendant ''hardware''. Pour autant, dans chacune des pièces, Frans de Waard apporte des nuances pour ne pas donner une impression de monochromie. On se rend compte, par ailleurs, que le gamelan n'est finalement qu'un prétexte et qu'il n'a été qu'un outil pour alimenter les expérimentations de de Waard.

Ainsi, il n'est pas question ici de donner une note anthropologique au disque. En somme, Freiband fait un album de Freiband, musique électronique aussi sensible qu'abarasive empruntant des chemins qui vont à la rencontre de la musique contemporaine, et plus naturellement vers celles qui ont marqué le continent nord américain pendant les 60's et les 70's. Qu'elles soient ''software'' ou ''hardware'', les constructions de Freiband portent cette marque quasi indélébile. Ajoutez à cela un minimalisme post-industriel, de l'électronica expérimentale ou répétitive et vous aurez une idée assez précise de l'endroit où tente de vous attirer Frans de Waard. Celui de Freiband n'est pas fait de perfection. Et tant mieux car c'est avec ce genre de musique granuleuse qu'il obtient les meilleurs résultats. Pour tout dire, Stainless Steel n'est pas loin d'être l'une de ses plus belles réalisations. Ce ne sera peut-être pas la plus connue mais, au moins, on vous aura prévenu.


        by Doug Mosurock
from Still Single ( august 2011 )


Frans de Waard (Kapotte Muziek, others) develops furious process into middling action with this new Freiband album. Two sidelong pieces figure heavily on technique – here, a process used by Asmus Tietchens where the artist rubs magnetic tape over play heads is somehow transposed to the digital realm – with samples of gamelan, a favorite of artists on ini.itu, stretched and cut and extended and otherwise manipulated for some pleasant, challenging sessions on side 1, and clicks-n-pops on the flip, organized with and against one another to create a minimalist pulse. I read the hyperbolic descriptions on this one and was waiting for something much more extreme, and it feels like I’ve been oversold on what is little more than sound that is far less interesting than the methodologies behind them. All the same, it’s good to space out to, both sides end in locked grooves, and in particular “Steel” feels like a winner. 250 numbered copies.


        by Scott Foust
from Swill Radio ( september 2011 )


Freiband is one of the solo projects of fellow Tobacconist Frans de Waard. Stainless Steelconsists of two sides of processed Gamelan music. The first side, Stainless, is a beautiful set of droney, but active, music, propelled in part by the rhythms of the Gamelan orchestra. Frans is an expert at computer compositions from recordings and this side tells the tale. He reveals hidden aspects of the Gamelan sonic palette in a very subtle and superb fashion. A fine composition of many moods and textures.  The second side, Steel, is a bunch of thumping, hyper-minimal rhythmic patters that sort of go in and out of phase. Not really my bag, but maybe it is yours.


        by Sergey
from Maeror 3 ( july 2011 )


«Freiband» - проект небезызвестного Франса де Ваарда, по творческой биографии которого («Kapotte Muziek», «Beequeen», «Goem», «Wander», «Shifts»), растянувшейся на двадцать пять лет, можно отследить историю европейского сегмента экспериментальной музыки. Его новая работа, винил «Stainless Steel», содержит два продолжительных трека, полученных в результате опытов (если не сказать издевательств) над традиционным звучанием индонезийского оркестра гамелан. В первом случае преобразования выполнены с помощью компьютерных программ - с первых же секунд нас встречает размеренный, набирающий обороты гул, предельно безжизненный, выхолощенный. В его текстуру вплетены различные металлические звуки, такие, как звон, лязг, скрежет, трение различных поверхностей друг о друга, шуршание осыпающейся ржавчины. Постепенно отдельные элементы композиции выстраиваются в четкий ритм, вбивающий тонкие гвоздики прямо в мозг, в то время, как из лабиринта изогнутых амплитуд и пронзительных стонов покореженного железа нарочитым браком возникают обрывки экзотической музыки и трансовый в своей обездвиживающей монотонности звон перкуссии, образующий вокруг головы слушателя облако, не дающее долгое время «выбраться» в реальность, выйти из транса и хотя бы заметить, что пунктир ритма автор разместил в левой колонке, а все остальные элементы трека переместил в правую. Не бог весть какое начинание, но эффект получается сильный. В конце ждет немного цифрового нойза вкупе с замедленными или ускоренными перевернутыми пленочными звуками, которые снова прорываются тонкими битами, готовыми, благодаря закольцованной «канавке» на пластинке, прописаться в вашей жизни навечно.

     О «Steel (hardware)» многое скажет тот факт, что сам Ваард планировал этот релиз как сплит «Freiband/Goem», а последний был заточен под некий аналог ритмичной клубной музыки. Так что на второй стороне пластинки ритму 4/4 отведена ведущая роль. Композиция вызывает ассоциации не с музыкой «гамелан», а с minimal techno, словно трек с записью оного поместили в кислоту, которая оставила от него только костяк из бесконечного бита и еле различимых звуков, вроде бы для этого стиля характерных, но разъеденных до состояния трескучего шума, допускающего небрежные разрывы и скачки. Монотонно, более целостно, трансово и долго - последнее можно решить, если увеличить скорость с 33 оборотов до 45, о возможности этого говорит надпись на конверте пластинки. А вот от очередного закольцованного лупа никуда не деться, разве только снять винил с вертушки.

     Ваард верен себе - его музыка не для всех, при  всей своей простоте она не стремится сразу же подружиться со слушателем. Для этого автора границ не существует и каждый новый его релиз можно с одинаковой силой за это любить или ненавидеть, расписываясь в полном непонимании. Не скажу, что «Stainless Steel» покорил меня с первых же секунд, но, по крайней мере, было интересно.

  1. Stainless Steel redux and finale - Without Title (19:56)

       Выпущенный на «домашнем» лейбле Франса де Ваарда мини-диск «Stainless Steel Redux & Finale» содержит двадцатиминутный трек, являющийся недостающей частью изданного недавно на «ini.itu» винила «Stainless Steel». Как и материал пластинки, безымянное произведение представляет собой вариации Ваарда на тему индонезийского гамелана, правда, здесь мы имеем дело с более деликатной обработкой первоначального материала – Франс исследует возможности металлической перкуссии и экзотических гармоний, концентрируясь на мельчайших звуковых частицах, которые порой очень трудно расслышать. Появляясь из тишины и уходя в нее, перед нами почти неосязаемой взвесью медленно проплывает минималистичный эмбиент, собранный из шелеста и скрежетания железных предметов. Никакого особенного развития, только предельная фиксация на чистом звуке, который постоянно переходит из одного стереоканала в другой, что придает микроструктурам Ваарда некий объем, правда, тоже довольно условный. Никуда не торопясь, композиция постепенно сходит на нет, на несколько секунд демонстрируя, что между нею и обычной тишиной разница не так уж и велика – а в самом конце диска неожиданно прорывается натуральный гамелан, целый оркестр перкуссионных и ударных инструментов, дающих возможность узнать, как звучал первоначально материал, попавший под переработку. По большей части звучал он как хор детских механических игрушек и прочих забавных вещиц, способных звенеть и стучать.  

      Диск «Stainless Steel Redux & Finale» вполне подходит для «самостоятельного» применения, если вам импонирует творчество де Ваарда, а также можно вложить его в конверт с пластинкой, радуясь, что «звенья одной цепи» теперь никто не разъединит. Нужно иметь в коллекции тем, кто считает, что слово «Frieband», равно как и другие названия, под которыми выходят работы голландского музыканта – это знак качества в мире экспериментальной музыки.  


        by James Wyness
from Fouter & Swick ( july 2011 )


Stainless Steel is the work of Frans de Waard, released as a vinyl album on ini itu. Freiband would seem to be a project title rather than a pseudonym.

Apart from his work over many years in new or experimental music, Frans de Waard reviews for Vital Weekly, an online initiative which provides a great service to countless musicians and sound artists who aren’t going to get much change out of the mainstream press. He has a deep and wide knowledge of the field of new music and sonic art, and having been around for a long time, is involved innumerous projects, both solo and collaborative.

The label ini itu has a unique focus. All the previous releases (which I’ve reviewed and enjoyed immensely) have had some connection with South East Asian instruments and musical culture. Stainless Steel is described as two sides of radically reworked gamelan, which is presumably why it finds its way on to an ini itu vinyl release.

The album has a digital side, Stainless, which I assume involves software processing, and an analogue side, Steel, in which ‘some arcane wirings, some machines end up spitting out shifting binary patterns’.

Stainless begins with acrescendo from a grainy texture to a pitched interval (a perfect 5th if my ears aren’t mistaken) with another layer further back in the mix. Panned crackles contrast with the emerging and receding layers. There are occasional dropouts in the radio static sounds, but a pitched voice remains constant. We realise quite quickly that the resources have been very effectively reduced to a minimum – this, and subtle touches like a very fine diminuendo, both point to exquisite craftsmanship. The crackling sounds come over as very hackneyed to my ears, and (almost) bring to mind the predictable fuzzy narcosis of some overrated ambient popsters posing as ‘experimental’ artists. However, these intrusions are never too dominant here and after a few listens I think de Waard shows a genuine concern to make the best of those kinds of sounds, even if I don’t know what they have to do with gamelan.

Next we have a pause for new sounds, more metallic and processed this time; iterative and broken. More crackles, but not too anaesthetic or overused. The music returns to a polyphony of iterations with a metallic edge, persistent, deliberate, quite unique and distinctive after a while. The interest deepens with the appearance of an ominous lower frequency, all within a relaxed and unhurried time frame, which is one of the great strengths of this piece.

At this point you wouldn’t know that the sound sources had anything to do with gamelan, an interesting approach as I’m hearing nothing of what I’d consider to be the gamelan’s essential characteristics, inharmonicity and so on. He might as well have used pots and pans. But I think that de Waard is putting his experience and musical savvy to good use here, looking sideways and being very clever in taking the patterned overlapping kotekans of gamelan as his focus. This quite austere approach comes through very well in the piece.

There has been a (somewhat one-sided) debate in academic electroacoustic music, an idiom which should never be underestimated by the way, as to whether one should show some of the character of the source material or go hell for leather and process it to smithereens. I can draw parallels here with more mainstream idioms. For example Thelonious Monk believed firmly in keeping a handle on the tune during the improvised passages, as opposed to running through the changes. Ron Block, banjo player with Union Station, says the same of bluegrass. The listener can choose their preferred aesthetic – I lean towards the notion of letting some of the source shine through.

Back to the music: another drop out, then back in again with a fresh layer on top – it’s beginning to get interesting now and abstracting more from the sound source (which is of course important if you’ve mentioned it in the first place). You could almost dance to the last few minutes. Another sudden dropout, then, to my ears, a slightly disappointing obviously processed gated/stretched sounding passage (but maybe I’ve spent too much time with nerdy spectral processing packages) after which it all gets interesting again with some more radical spectral processing, scrambling and rearranging of some kind (ok – I’ll refrain from playing play ‘spot the process’), dribbly water sounds and liquid iterations – the iterations do keep us on track and on script.

More electroacoustic than elektronische, this music is far more restrained than perhaps I’m acknowledging and this is a very strong feature in the identity of de Waard’s music. It is just on the right side of inscrutability without being evasive. There are very fine contrasts between the sparse (dare I say minimalist?) and the busy sections. I enjoyed the looped endings – can’t do that with a cd can you?

Steel consists of a stream of pulses/beats/iterations or whatever else you want to call them and so can be played at any speed you like. I don’t know if this is an original concept, I doubt it, but it’s a good idea and it works. Apart from a section at the end I could identify three contrasting sounds or layers, separated by register and timbre. I thought this was quite clever as I don’t get to listen to much of this kind of music. Here I was drawn in without wondering whether this was a dance producer trying to be cool. One sound rolls along according to a given pattern or cell, then breaks into a different pattern, then into sets of patterns. This business of cells is as close as I can imagine to some of the core practices of the composers originally associated with minimalism: various cells and patterns superimposed, offset, drifting, evolving in different ways. Hence the inevitable comparisons with Reich and company.

To digress and self-refer (again) for a moment, the beats remind me of a time in my life when I missed the boat, yet again. A friend came round to my apartment with a broken drum machine and a very dodgy delay box which he ‘played’, though how on earth he knew what was going to happen was beyond me. I played a pair of temple bells into the input of a very iffy synth. I’d never heard anything like it. This was in the early ’90s and I didn’t have the foresight to realise the potential. Anyway, that’s what this reminds me of, though Frans’s music sounds much more organised.

I found myself playing games: the counting game (how many layers?), the metrical game (where’s the pulse?), the rhythmic game, different from the metrical game (what’s the rhythm?), the cell game and so on. The music started to hit the funk button at one point with a taste of swing. At times I could imagine a target audience of folks who like to get totally zipped to this music, perhaps to the accompaniment of a backdrop of blippy visuals. But this music is so much more visceral than the antiseptic sterile posturing of some of the ‘big name’ minimalist beatmeisters, without wishing to be disrespectful of course. Music like this should be about six hours long, maybe running from a random or conceptual algorithm. That way you’d be able to know if it really worked as ‘ambient minimalism’ or simply got on your t*ts.

Again, the music sticks in a loop at the end, one of the wonders of vinyl – try doing that with an mp3.

It’s an interesting choice of release for ini itu given their previous offerings and here I’m curious. ini itu seemed to me to have a special thing going and I’d have liked to see them going even deeper into the south east Asian musical traditions.Stainless Steel, excellent though it is on its own terms, would fit into many a label’s aesthetic.

Yet overall this piece falls on the right side of mesmeric without ever being monotonous. Given the means, I’d like to get my hands on four or more copies of rhe album, run them at different speeds, diffuse them over a multi-channel system and wallow in the mix.


        by Sietse van Erve
from his Collecting Records blog ( july 2011 )


The new release by Freiband (Frans de Waard) out on Ini.Itu contains only pieces created with sounds from gamelan. Though, as expected this is only partly recognizable, rather Freiband works with short snippets of the sounds to create somewhat rhythmical music.
In the first part on side A the sound is still recognizable, but further on the sound drifts through drones to clicking sounds.
The only thing that remains are the shifting patterns that are known from Gamelan music. On side B it continues with these clicks, but even more stripped down. True minimal music.
To me specially the first part was interesting, but where it goes to the clicks it didn’t seem to work for me. It is all ok, but just don’t know about it. I have heard other work by de Waard that was actually more interesting to me.
There is also a 3” cd-r out on My Own Little Label (a side label from Korm plastics) but I haven’t heard that yet.




        by Fabio
from SoundOhm ( july 2011 )


        by Massimo Ricci
from Touching Extremes ( may 2012 )


One of the various aliases of Frans De Waard, whose activity spans across the engendering of frequently captivating electronica, the organization of artistic events and his world-famous PacMan-like gulping of thousands of records for the brief reports that he and his comrades churn out in Vital WeeklyStainless Steel is a vinyl album (playable at variable speeds and ending with locked grooves) that comes with two entirely different “styles” on each face. The first, organized around a treatment of gamelan sounds, is a decent episode of hypnotizing music whose main attraction lies in the continuous morphing of the timbral spectrum in a now static, now turbulent environment. The Balinese sources are partially recognizable in their essence, but the result is definitely electronic in its complexion, and sufficiently rewarding (I was tempted to write “DeWaarding”…). The second side is an exercise – and I’m being good-hearted in calling it so – for superimposed/looped toneless pulses-cum-click-and-pop that could even be called “stark minimalism”, but in reality is pretty boring and loses steam after just a few minutes. The press release mentions Steve Reich and Thomas Köner, both of whom might file a lawsuit for the disrespectful comparison. Overall, this record seems to work as an object for an ideological statement rather than the container of deeply meaningful sonic matter, despite the unquestionable appeal generated by some of the components (which ultimately recall the principal influence, Asmus Tietchens, more or less directly). Freiband has done, and can do, much better.

POST SCRIPTUM. Only a few hours after posting the review I realized that there was a 3-inch CD in the record’s sleeve, called Stainless Steel Redux & Finale. It’s a 19-minute track starting and ending with complete silence (except the very final moments, in which we’re offered a helping of the actual gamelan from which everything took shape). Sub-bass and hyper-acute frequencies have their say in a very sparse piece that, in some aspect, is better than its predecessor on the first side of the LP.


        by Niels Mark
from Vital Weekly 786 ( june 2011 )



Gamelan music from the Java/Bali areas has always been considered an important source to the development of the experimental music scene, after Debussy experienced the gamelan style at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889. Freiband, being the solo project of Frans de Waard has launched the first LP inspired by the hypnotic expressions of the gamelan music-style. The album is titled "Stainless Steel" and is released on the label Ini.itu. As a follow-up to the launch of the LP, Freiband also has a new release on the 3" exclusive label, My Own Little LabelThe aim of the label is to release materials from the huge production catalogue of Frans De Waard, but also his joint ventures with other sound explorists. Present MOLL-release from Freiband titled "Stainless steel redux & finale" is an excerption from the aforementioned LP. The single piece "Redux & Finale" on the 3" runs 20 minutes. As is the case with the original two pieces on the full-length LP present track on the 3" is based on processed sounds of gamelan music. "Redux & Finale" is a quiet, almost inaudible piece of microsounds. As we enter the 17th minute run-time the volume level slowly turns up and the microsounds is transformed into the percussive sounds of Gamelan music. Interesting modern take to the early avantgardism of gamelan on this one! As mentioned the "Redux & finale"-track was based on the two original tracks from the LP: "Stainless Steel" released on the label Ini-Itu. Both tracks on "Stainless steel" is re-processions and manipulations of the early gamelan music. First track opens with an ambient-take to to the gamelan music with the percussive expressions looped into a long-stretching drone drifting over subtle crackling noise. After approx. five minutes the drone fades out and silence gradually turns into clanging repetitive noise-expressions. The piece is quite interesting since it pushes the quality of the gamelan music to the extremes with the hypnotic effect brought into the electronic manipulations of Frans de Waard. Despite the fact that second track also is built on the gamelan style, this particular track is electronic avantgarde at its most abstract moment. On this track the concrete sounds has been transformed into icy pulses of clicking beats and clicks. The LP thus both presents the quality of the gamelan style in its pure origin and 21st electronic avantgarde by one of Holland's finest sound artists. A superb ode to the importance of the gamelan music for the modern sound experimentations of the Western world. (NM)