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«Tales without Words»

Dutch guitarist-composer Corrie van Binsbergen new album with her group Vanbinsbergen Playstation is a concept project with a mysterious-cinematic edge. Van Binsbergen composed music for many Dutch literary events in recent years, suggesting a musical scenario based on the stories or the poetry. Now she arranged these compositions for her group’s sophomore album, still, leaving her octet musicians only two days to explore and immerse themselves in these compositions. The liner notes offer details about the writer and story or poem for which the music was originally composed with a short quotations.

Van Binsbergen managed to charge each of these musical stories with distinct, resonant layers, never employing the full power or energy of the Vanbinsbergen Playstation, leaving the listener enough room to add his own personal interpretation of these stories. The opening «Night Sky», after poet Tjitske Jansen poem, sketches a modest, fragile and lyrical soundscape while the three-part «Pagan Goddess», after a story of Tommy Wieringa, builds its haunting, melancholic spirit and tension cleverly, navigating between distant, dark voices and emotional themes that reaches its climax in the beautiful, last part, featuring a commanding solo of van Binsbergen. The following, three-part «Dreamlike», after author Remco Campert story, captures the free-associative, dream state essence of the story with an open, soulful free improvisation. The two pieces that are not inspired by a certain story or a poem, the improvised «Circles & Squares» and «Wake-Up Call For A Lethargic Planet» deepen this open vein.

The concise «Point Of No Return», after Toon Tellegen short poem, follows the poet urgent state of mind and suggests a parallel mini musical drama while the playful «Dance Of The Mayfly», after another poem of Tellegen, radiates the touching wish of the mayfly to «live just another day». The three-part, minimalist-chamber suite «Sketches In Dark Blue», after a short story of Manon Uphoff, is the most impressive composition here. It stresses the sense of invention of all the eight musicians, suggests a fragmented, dark narrative and highlight van Binsbergen unique voice. This unique and beautiful album is concluded with «Lament», after a poem of Campert, offers another emotional story wrapped in impressive, reserved arrangement.

Eyal Hareuveni

Corrie van Binsbergen (g), Boelens (ss, as), Mete Erker (ts, bcl), Morris Kliphuis (frh, cor), Joost Buis (tb, lap steel), Albert van Veenendaal (p), Dion Nijland (b), Yonga Sun (dr)

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