Stijn Hüwels – tomodachi [Dauw]


Some artists just have a knack for engendering special collaborations and Belgian musician Stijn Hüwels is one of the those. In fact his last four releases have all been collaborative efforts – Sleep, Shared with Norihito Suda (2016, Dauw),  An Unintended Space with Danny Clay (2017, Eilean), and Fieldem (2018, Home Normal) as part of Silent Vigils with James Murray, and now Tomodachi which involved ten different artists and especially highlights the two essential ingredients that makes all of these work so beautifully. But, best let Stijn tells us about that in his own words:

“The starting point for this album was simple. I sent out a question to fellow musicians I deeply respect and whose work I especially like. I know all of them for some time, and they all have a significant influence on my work. I asked them to send me ‘something’, a sample, melody or field recording I could use to create a new piece of music. This exchange of inspiration forced me to approach composing in a different way than I use to do, without abandoning my main gear (guitar and laptop). Slowly, I tried to make a consistent story from the different pieces I got. That’s how the album was formed and how it got its final shape. I decided to call it ‘Tomodachi’, Japanese for ‘friend(s)’. That’s the only thing I can say about the album: it’s about friendship and music”. – Stijn Hüwels

In his social media bio, Stijn declares a “profound fascination for minimalism” and that no doubt informs his unobtrusive approach to molding each of these pieces. The music may be subdued, but it is warmly welcoming and there is evidence of loving attention in the detail of its finely etched filigree. Tomodachi is an engaging story told through musical conversation between kindred spirits and it is one I have enjoyed hearing told many times over.


Tomodachi was released in three separate editions – a limited edition hand-numbered cassette (89 copies), a one-of-a-kind deluxe edition with Polaroids by the artists and a CDr version of the album (1 copy; sold out), and finally a special edition cassette edition with tote bag, silkscreen print, and CDr (10 copies, sold out). The participating artists are as follows:

Heine Christensen / Ghost and Tape (Home Normal, Slaapwel)
Ralph Steinbrüchel (12k, Slaapwel)
Sylvain Chauveau (Flau, FatCat, Brocoli)
Yves De Mey (Line, Opal Tapes)
Yukitomo Hamasaki (mAtter)
Christoph Berg (Flau, Sonic Pieces)
Patrick Stevens / Hypnoskull (Ant Zen)
Dirk Serries (Consouling, Midira Records, Tonefloat, New Wave of Jazz)
Tomoyoshi Date (12k, Home Normal, Baskaru)
Ciro Berenguer (Dauw, Eilean Records)


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