Winter is upon us, and everyone is looking for an excuse to recline on a warm and comfy armchair and have some tea with maybe a biscuit or two. Here at Strange Sounds From Beyond it’s no exception, but we like some music with our biscuits.
Since the Internet exists and we’ve got no plans to head outdoors, we’ve decided to remain where we are and share some lovely albums with you readers, so you too can remain exactly where you are; right in your armchair.
What a journey this has been! Back in 2016 we started off as a small team with one goal in mind: exploring, digging and learning about all the strange sounds in the world and beyond.
We can say our journey has been extensive. This past year, we have sought for Columbian gold, gone back to the past to explore tracks from Yugoslavia and from behind the Iron Curtain, discovered the illustrious Sound Hunters with their special “guns” and unearthed the Golden Microphone of Turkey. On top of that we deciphered Algorithms for clues to how we search for music and snatched the mask off Aphex Twin. Pretty exciting stuff!
But all this would not have been possible without our beloved word wizards who tagged along with us on our journey. Along the way we rendezvoused with the people at Red Light Radio, who supplied us with fresh picks from their radio waves every month, while Rush Hour narrated various interesting and long stories by the many campfires. Luca & Mata Hari invited both national and international artists over to display their musical treasures and Luke Cohlen revealed to us just how interesting our own soil can be. Yabbie the copy editor noted and perfected all the stories and Jannes Heidinga provided some sharp analyses to keep our eyes sharp on the road we treaded on. As we walked down musical lane, various celebrities crossed paths with us and stopped by long enough for Jasmin Hoek to interview them. It has been an interesting year indeed!
Our journey is far from over, but every now and again it’s good to pause and take stock of what has come to pass. In doing so we realize that this journey has not only been a lot of fun, but that we’re super grateful for all the amazing people we met along the way. You know who you are. Thank you all for your contributions and for being a part of our story. We can only hope the new sunrise would bring such exciting times as those just past. And last but not least: thanks to you readers for sticking with us.
As a bonus, each member of our team did some digging of their own, naming one particular memory that left a vivid impression. Have a read and take a trip down memory lane with us.
I just have to say that I enjoyed reading Maan’s article on straight talking in Congo a lot! I’ve heard a bunch of Congolese tracks, but couldn’t understand a word of it. After reading the article, I learned that even though most of the tracks have an uplifting feel and were sung by folks that appeared happy and carefree, they delivered a more sinister message. This changed my perspective and encouraged me to look to the lyrics a little bit closer. Thanks Maan!
I remember that we kicked off our mix series with a mix from Vladimir Ivkovic. It was and still is such a sublime mix that continues giving me goosebumps to this day! Seeing the creator return to our festival was a confirmation of what he is capable of. He just always delivers.
Strange Sounds From Beyond festival 2016 12:00 sharp. That was one of the moments my nervosity peaked to an outstanding high. The biological grapes were missing, but luckily I had more delicious grapes on my side. Our moment to scratch some sounds from beyond in front of friends and strangers. Memorizing that day, my most vivid snippets are those of my parents finally listening to Ata Kak in real life, hip hop dance moves and a colorful skihut.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but if one would dig a little deeper in their own lawn they would find out that there’s so much beautiful there right in front of them. We’ve had two parts of this column so far, where Luke Cohlen delved into all the wonderful music coming from our own little country, Holland. These pieces have sparked and fueled my own quest for Dutch music ever since, one that helped me discover a lot of other homegrown stuff. Can’t wait for part three!
Can You Hear The Rooster Crow
Truus de Groot
Big Bad Wipe Out
I love listening to and reading up on the backgrounds of my favorite artists, such as James Leyland Kirby, Das Ding, K. Leimer and Hessel Veldman, to name a few. Also the many lists provided by George Hysteric and the Red Light Radio crew this past year have been bliss, though the song “Codex” by Pere Ubu, from one of Vladimir Ivkovic’s Library of Mysterious Compositions has been my high to be honest. It’s such a deep heartfelt song, sung with full conviction of the kind of love that I can relate to the most. It’s almost disturbing, but that’s what makes it so lush and addictive. I’m very grateful for these types of additions to my life.
Being worried about the rain at last year’s festival right when Selda started to play “Yaz Gazeteci Yaz”. And then realizing that people couldn’t care less and some even started crowdsurfing. Everybody stayed until the end of her performance. Magical moment!
My dearest memory working for Strange Sounds From Beyond was of the Operator radio show all us residents did together. Lounes, Stefan, Ocke, Robin, Luca and I played together for three hours. It was improvised; we had no idea what we were going to play but each of one of us brought along records and USB sticks. Ocke kicked off the show with the first track. It was such a great moment for me, to witness how each of us responded to one another. We all each have a different sound but still, we managed to create a three-hour long story. I loved how it all worked out and how positive the vibe was during the show. It made me realize that to create something magical, there isn’t one particular sound needed. Hope we can do this more often.
My job as the copy editor involves mulling and fussing over the existence of every single written word. In this profoundly intimate way, I got to know every writer, every writing decision they made and every story told. For me personally, my year with SSFB was experienced just as much through its beautifully strange tales, if not more than the corresponding strange sounds that came with them.
The story that’s still fresh in my memory is the one of Leuk en Ko, from a recent article. The silly antics of two boys from Zoetermeer and their oddball music projects made in the name of self-amusement; to think they’d one day be celebrated as homegrown heroes decades down the line…
As I stood watching the duo perform, now middle-aged men, there was just something so heartwarming and illuminating about it. Leuk en Ko are, in my eyes, the perfect poster boys for originality, fearlessness, beauty in imperfection and friendship… more or less the same qualities I recognize in our “silly” little work-in-progress called Strange Sounds from Beyond.
I can’t wait to begin a strange new chapter with the lovely team of people I now call friends.