|Year of release||2017|
On the 4th of April of this year I went to see Soulwax at Paradiso, Amsterdam. The name of the tour was Transient Program For Drums And Machinery. I hadn´t heard the new album From Deewee yet, but the stage-setup gave away a lot and promised a lot too. Three drumkits with a lot of synthesizers and electronics in between. This was going to be a combination of rock and dance. A combination I like very much, like in David Bowie’s Low, U2’s Pop or the complete works of LCD Soundsystem.
I like the brothers Dewaele (Stephen and David), the brains behind Soulwax, and their music very much. Earlier Soulwax albums are very good and, perhaps even more so, their work under the moniker 2 Many DJ’s is equally as good.
2 Many DJ’s
2 Many DJ’s was born out of boredom. During their early tours as Soulwax tours the brothers were often bored after their shows, so they decided to add a DJ set. These sets felt right and were so creative that it evolved into a side-act. From then on tours were held using the name Soulwax or 2 Many DJ’s (or combined as Radio Soulwax). Their 2002 remix album As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 was the first mash-up album to be released.
Mash-up stands for mixing music with other music (parts). A trick that was utilized a lot was to combine instrumental music from song X with (a-capella) vocals of song Y. This led to some stunning results. The Stooges’ No Fun combined with Salt ‘N Pepa’s Push It, Destiny’s Child’s Independent Women Part 1 with 10CC’s Dreadlock Holiday or Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5 with Royskopp’s Eple make up completely new songs. An impressive feat. Such an undertaking can only be done if you’re a music lover or expert, which the brothers most definitely are. Their collection of records and music is very impressive.
Prince and LCD Soundsystem
Stephen and David both have their preferences, but their immeasurable admiration for Prince is a shared one. They occasionally work with LCD Soundsystem. They did some remixes of LCD Soundsystem songs (among which Daft Punk Is Playing At My House), but the cooperation with LCD Soundsystem’s frontman James Murphy doesn’t end there.
Despacio Sound System
Murphy had been thinking about a music-installation for quite some time. He wanted to make the music the star of the evening again, instead of the DJ, at clubs and parties. So he developed, together with the brothers Dewaele, the Despacio Sound System: a 50,000 Watt (!) soundsystem. In 2013 the end result was ready: a club soundsystem that sounded just as good as an audiophile home system.
On March 24th 2017 the eighth Soulwax album was released. In the artwork accompanying the cd, it says that the exact date of recording is not certain (February 6th or 7th), because the artwork for the cd was to be delivered before the actual recording date. Now we know that recording for the album took place on February 7th 2017. To be more exact: recording took place in one take. The complete 48 minute album was played live in the studio. The band consists of steady bandmember Stefaan van Leuven, 3 drummers (!) and a keyboard player. Before recording, the band line-up and stage-setup had already toured. The idea was born that the complete package was to be recorded at Soulwax’s own studio DEEWEE in Ghent, Belgium. The whole album originated from studio DEEWEE, even the artwork. Hence the title.
The album has turned out to be an impressive piece of work. A perfect symbiosis of rock and dance, emphasizing dance by the way. But the three drummers make the album, and the songs, sound stunningly good. The beats fill up the soundscape nicely and sounds impressive, especially when realizing that it was all recorded in just one take. At the time of writing this article I own the album for just under 8 hours, not listening to anything else since. I just pressed play for the fifth time in a row. It’s a fantastic album, with a lot of highlights. Masterplanned is the first song in which the drummers build up a massive beat. Missing Wires starts off with a hardcore rhythm, after which the song mellows out (just a bit). It’s remarkable that the drummers all play in perfect synch. That’s especially the case on Is It Always Binary (extremely funky beat) and Do You Want To Get Into Trouble? (which reminds me of LCD Soundystem, just as the closing Goodnight Transmission). Transient Program For Drums And Machinery is another highlight.
From Deewee is a very strong and original album with a unique sound. The Dewaele brothers still know how to do it!
All songs written by David Dewaele and Stephen Dewaele. Masterplanned contains a sample of Creator Has A Master Plan by Pharaoh Sanders.
- Preset Tense
- Missing Wires
- Conditions Of A Shared Belief
- Is It Always Binary
- Do You Want To Get Into Trouble?
- My Tired Eyes
- Transient Program For Drums And Machinery
- The Singer Has Become A Deejay
- Here Come The Men In Suits
- Goodnight Transmission
- Stephen Dewaele – Keyboards and vocals;
- David Dewaele – Keyboards and guitar;
- Stefan van Leuten – Keyboards, bass and guitar;
- Igor Cavalera – Staccato drums;
- Blake Davies – Drums;
- Victoria Smith – Staccato drums;
- Laima Leyton – Keyboards.
2 Many DJs – As Heard On Radio Soulwax Pt. 2 image: wikipedia.org
Dewaele music collection image: demorgen.be
Despacio Sound System image: geeky-gadgets.com
Staccato drums leaflet image: staccatodrums.com
All other images: soulwax.com