The Swim by Rutger Hauser

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Rutger Hauser | The Swim
Adaadat / Tutl (LP)

The latest work from Rutger Hauser (and company) appear on his second solo album since 2015, The Swim. Opening with Fjallavatn which seems caught somewhere between rock, jazz and classical – coming off like a sassy abstract cabaret record at first. These six players do incredible justice to the material, it’s got a good sense of funk while remaining tight lipped, foghorn and all. If this sounds unusual, oh, darlin’ it is! In the best way.

John Harries – Drums
Jon Klaemint Hofgaard – Guitar
Jamie Coe – Bass and Pedals
Lisa Busby – Vocals, Electronics, Playback Media
Ian Stonehouse – Electronics, Playback Media
Rose Dagul – Cello, Vocals, Pedals

The ear will be tuned into the blend of savory percussion and electronics, very full, forward and with a solid sense of boldness and restraint. They blurt their lines, drag chords and shuffle about as if performing while in motion – but this is no marching band. Voices speak, repeat and harken to the Fluxus movement on Hestur and Koltur. Slowly becoming one-liners, dragged out, stretched, eventually becoming more pattern than message. Their collective riff and wrangle becomes a fleeting dreamscape of murmurs and basstone.

The record itself comes in a unique clear protective acetate cover with ‘fragments’ like a collage, frosted material on one side and an abstract visual on the other, a little bit like a Japanese obi strip. The cover art reflects much of the tactile bits here, the substance of surface, of changing mood. The title track, for instance, uses this variable warped string tone that swirls away as static flares up from the bottom end bass, and infrequent percussion. Completely elusive.

Elsewhere there seem to be nods to traditional Dutch music (On the Rotifer Conchilus Volvox), new wave, tribal rhythms, singsong fairytales (Bohnanza Life) and alternative post pop. The collective sinks into low wavy tones on Catfish Michael, an intriguing mix of melancholic cello and futzing noises. A blend of catatonic phrasing and tension. In the end the soft light of Faroes 01 _ Nólsoy, Looking North pierces through the surface with vague radio transmissions. It’s orchestral and completely ambiguous – like a gigantic ship quietly vanishing into the horizonline in fog. Get it.

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