When Colin H. Van Eeckhout released Rasa it was an intimate, experimental record. A different take on the overwhelming way Amenra brings sound and artistic expression experience to an almost sacred experience. Rasa was different, but fits in that framework, matches the feeling and intensity. So what does 10910 have to offer?
Well, everything and nothing. It is the same haunting piece of music that you heard before and therefore many may deem it rather useless. Or you did experience this piece live. You did feel the tension and meaning in the gentle drone and emotional chanting. In that case Rasa was the vessel, that when fully charged with expression, meaning and feelings becomes the potent 10910.
If we treat music as a living entity that grows and feeds of performance, interaction and experiment, then this recording done in autumn in a tram in the middle of Ghent is given life by CHVE anew. When listening to the dreamy drone of his music and the eerie chanting by CHVE it feels like this record is now alive fully. When a piece of music is created, it’s just that fresh bit of music. That was Rasa. If you then fill it up with your personal expression, love, fears, anger and all those feelings and experiences, then it becomes something else. I’m not sure if I’m making that clear, but 10910 is not the same bit of music anymore, it’s much, much more and part of the self.
This is instantly tangible when the droning track opens. From a thin sound grows a sonorous drone, with heart felt chants from the artist over it. There is an almost sacred quality to the music that motions the listener to silence and beckons you to come closer and contemplate, remember and evaluate. With only the hurdy gurdy, a bodhran and his voice, this piece of music is created like a wall or a blanket, it completely envelops you.
Though the music and the work of CHVE is not religious in nature, it is highly spiritual and ritualistic. It’s what you experience in a form of reverie and silent appraisal when listening to the droning sound and the rhythmic drumming when the singing stops. The drumming sounds primitive, tribal even, and creates an atmosphere of mild threat. The song then starts to switch around, with the hurdy gurdy playing some high notes that sound like horns of war. Joint with the drumming you can picture an army marching. When the vocals return, it’s even more grandiose and powerful. It all ends in an almost bombastic, foreboding fashion, as if approaching the abyss that is death. Maybe it is, because that cycle is a common topic in the Amenra oeuvre. It leaves the listener with silence
Luckily there are two added songs on the record. One is a rendition of ‘Le Petit Chevalier’ by Velvet Underground collaborator Nico, for which a video was released. It’s a melancholic, stretched out version in the same vein as the main album track, with CHVE chanting the words. ‘Charon’ is a slow procession, deeply personal and touching, with a rhythmic drumming and accompanying video that is said to be a goodbye message from the artists for his children. Though the imagery is something that could be joyous, it is foreboding and melancholic in sound. Again, highly captivating. No wonder that the delivery of these songs could only be done with the best production and mixing. The album was mixed by Aaron Harris (ISIS, Palms, Deftones, Tool, etc.) and mastered by Frederik Dejongh (CHVE, TBHR, Syndrome, etc.).
If you sit down to listen to this record, be prepared to be hit rather hard by its uncanny atmosphere and touching personality. CHVE offered his own flesh for art, which can be seen in the works of Aline Gorsen. A daring and bold statement. On 10910 he offers his soul as well, which is why this expression is so completely overwhelming.
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