Since 2014 Frans de Waard‘s many splinter projects, Modelbau, has delivered over a dozen releases, this one on Dutch imprint Des Astres d’Or. One of the more prolific sound artist’s today, this is a solo project with an overall fairly quiet space feel, introspective, until it’s not. The platter consists of three tracks at a running time of about thirty four minutes in a very limited edition of 25 vinyl records (no lathe cuts), all signed with original art by the composer, every one different. It starts with Xylophone. A disquieting rumble of rocket drone pairs well with subtle chimes and other subtle sound effects. Minimal in presentation, maximal in terms of atmosphere, it’s as though you are amidst a dustcloud in a foreign place. The drone builds with a sample effect like a steam engine passing in the distance until all vaporizes into a grainy, warping finish.
X Marks The Spot begins in a bit of a wind tunnel. Here the artist is showing off another side of his sonic psyche. In fact he says: “As a musician I have no a particular instrument, nor do I favour any technique, and I think one should use what is needed for a particular project or a piece of music.” – and I fully understand his penchant for variation and breadth. As the piece moves forward a morphing clang and other industrial corrosion enters the mix. Moments in between is where minimal sound waves are employed by a bit of kneading eventually into a frenetic wired storm that breaks on Xelem. This is where the record changes its mind and mood. There’s a swarm or storm coming, and it is an effervescent projectile that blasts off and leaves its fiery trail.
The album title implies reproduction or duplicate – however this is a distinct sound signature for the artist of many guises. The details from concept to completion here are pretty impeccable, especially for such a departure from Beequeen and QST. This has a gutsy experimental angst and a fully fleshed out construction. As for track titling, did he leave all his Xs in Texas? He did today with this Ft. Worth critic 😉 but it’s a interminably exploratory sound that will continue ringing in my head for days to come.