The Tapeworm presents…



TTW#134 – Richard Francis and Frans de Waard – Retired Dilettantes

Cassette only – limited edition of 100 copies
Buy on Bandcamp – shipping 25 September

Recorded at Geluidwerkplaats Extrapool, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Modular electronics, field recordings, computer and tapes. Mixed by Frans de Waard. Illustration: SavX.

The first time Richard Francis and Frans de Waard met was in Tokyo, Japan and they talked a lot. The second time was in Boston, USA and they danced all night long. The third time was in Nijmegen, The Netherlands and they recorded a lot of music together. During the course of a very long day they recorded in Frans' studio using a small modular set-up, Korg MS-20, computer, tapes and field recordings, all captured on a multi-track tape where it kept sitting for quite some time before Frans decided it was time to make heads 'n tails out of it. The usual process of editing and mixing resulted in the release that is now called “Retired Dilettantes”. No track titles as both sides are to be seen as one composition all together. From delicate static and complex electrical textures to the bursting of loud drones.

Richard Francis is a sound artist working with electronics and field recordings. He has released solo and collaborative albums on Senufo Editions, Entr’acte, Glistening Examples, Korm Plastics, Banned Production and Aufabwegen. Recent collaborators include Frans De Waard, Ralf Wehowsky, Anla Courtis, Bruce Russell, Mattin, Jason Kahn and Francisco Lopez. His works have been performed, presented or exhibited at Issue Project Room, New York; Uplink, Tokyo; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Werkstatt fur Improvisierte Musik, Zurich; Adam Art Gallery, Wellington; IMA, Brisbane; The Toff, Melbourne; St Paul St, Auckland; Tuned City, Berlin; Alt Music Festival, Auckland; Te Tuhi, Auckland; Cave 12, Geneva; Radio New Zealand National.

Frans de Waard (1965) has been producing music since 1984 (Kapotte Muziek, Beequeen, Goem, Zebra, Freiband, Shifts, Modelbau, etc.). In 1984 he started his own record label Korm Plastics, releasing music from Arcane Device, Asmus Tietchens, Jim O'Rourke among others. He has worked for the pioneering Dutch label Staalplaat (1992-2003) and since 1986 as a reviewer for his own publication Vital (now Vital Weekly), a magazine which has been an online source for underground music since 1995, and which celebrated its 1000th issue in 2015. In 2016 Timeless published in France his first book, an autobiography of life in Staalplaat titled This Is Supposed To Be A Record Label. His interests in music creation ranges from ambient to noise to what he describes as 'silly disco music'. He has played concerts in Europe, USA, Canada, Russia and Japan, and collaborated with Steven Wilson, Jaap Blonk, Andrew Liles, Radboud Mens, Keiji Haino, Pan Sonic and others.


Vital Weekly (NL):

The story goes that the first time Richard Francis & Frans de Waard met they talked. The second time they danced and the third they created music. The music was crafted using Korg MS-20, computer, tapes and field recordings, all captured on multi-track tape. Then, like a lot of things, it sat in a box. After some time had passed, de Waard decided to try and put the recordings into some kind of order. After some more time was spent editing and mixing the recordings have not been released under the title ‘Retired Dilettantes’.

The Troggs once sang “There's no beginning, there'll be no end” and this is true of ‘Retired Dilettantes’. The album is made up to two 20-minute pieces of music. There are no titles. Hardly any breaks in the music and it feels like the album is intended to be played on a loop. Forever. The truly remarkable thing about ‘Retired Dilettantes’ is how it reflects your mood. If you are in a good place, then the productions feel light and airy. Play it on a bad day and everything has a dank and ominous vibe to it.

While listening to ‘Retired Dilettantes’ I’m reminded of the Jake “The Snake” Roberts quote “If a man has enough power, he can speak softly, and everyone will listen”. While Roberts was talking about wrestlers who shouted through their promos compared to his where he barely spoke above a whisper, it still works for ‘Retired Dilettantes’. The album is filled with hissing static, deep drones, electronic motifs and subtle noise but it isn’t a face melter. Its something far more subtle and refined. The electronics have a filigree quality to them which perfectly juxtaposes the darker drones. There are a few sections that don’t quite work as well. They slightly jar with the previous one. These experiences are mostly fleeting and pass quickly. At its best ‘Retired Dilettantes’ is a reflective listening experience where the worries and woes of the day vanish. (NR)


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