Eight years ago, Belgian drummer Teun Verbruggen and Norwegian avant-guitarist Stian Westerhus were 50% of the Belgian-Norwegian space travel project Warped Dreamer, together with keyboards wizard Jozef Dumoulin and trumpeter Arve Henriksen. This project released one album of fascinating post-industrialist soundscapes (Lomahongva, RAT, 2016). The Warped Dreamer planned a tour two years ago but after the Covid-19 pandemic «ran us over» only Westerhus and Verbruggen, now as a duo, played this four-day tour in Belgium (and you can read Westerhus’ tour diary – in Norwegian – here).
Earthbound Monochrome was recorded at the artist center Werkplaats Walter (co-run by Verbruggen) in Anderlecht in December 2021. Westerhus, edited, mixed and mastered this live recording. This album is by no means an extension of Lomahongva, but, obviously, it still highlights the creative energy, inventiveness and resourcefulness of both Verbruggen and Westerhus as bold and masterful sound explorers. Westerhus is armed with countless effects and devices that allow him to transform his electric guitar into a futurist sound generator. Verbruggen augments his acoustic drums with playful, disruptive electronics.
Therefore, the improvised music of Earthbound Monochrome becomes an imaginative journey, packed with adventurous and elusive ideas, sounds and effects, that morph instantly between expressionist, alien landscapes to intimate, melancholic moods. The manipulated, deconstructed and re-sculpted, otherworldly guitar vocabulary of Westerhus collide, trigger and tempt the fragmented, restless rhythmic patterns of Verbruggen, and vice versa. The two longer pieces, «The Hickson Association» and «Ursa», with their great sense of detail and depth, demonstrate the full spectrum of the timeless feeling of wonder and excitement of such a busy meeting.
Verbruggen and Westerhus are sonic poets who show disregard for the borders of the sonic canvas, but at the same time are not shy to expose naked and beautiful fragility.
Stian Westerhus (g, elec, v), Teun Verbruggen (dr, elec)