One of the memorable releases from 2022 which was featured here last November was One by Belgian musician & composer Adriaan Swerts. One of the most distinctive aspects of the album way in which Swerts transformed natural sounds recorded from locations he had visited all around the world into musical sounds he could seamlessly blend with acoustic instruments to develop poignant mediations on the fragility and meaning of life. An important subtext to this is Swerts’ own constant struggle with pain due to a life-changing accident which manifests in the album through the use of reel-to-reel and cassette processing to degrade the sounds of his recordings and thereby create “a reflection of how it feels to have a broken body”.
I really wanted to give nature a voice in my music, and I started to record natural sounds all over the world from places I visited. That is why apart from the pianos, bowed glass, and strings, I mostly use natural sounds that I transformed into instruments.
We return to the album on the occasion of the release of a new video about the making of One narrated by Adriaan himself and accompanied by a montage of moving images that bring it to life. In it we learn more about the sounds he used on specific tracks such as a geyser in Iceland, the howling winds of the Isle of Skye, or a cacophony of birds recorded on the English coast. We also learn more about his use of cymatics to create the videos he developed to accompany the album, but perhaps most importantly, we can hear how much the music means to him and his earnest desire that it might bring a measure of comfort and joy to his listeners.
I just hope in the end that my music may now be of some meaning to other people than myself and that it may bring all of you some peace, comfort, and joy.
Links: Bandcamp (CD/digital) | Piano and Coffee Records | Adriaan Swerts
One was released by Piano and Coffee records on October 28, 2022. The album is available digitally and on limited edition CD featuring artwork and design by Celia Bayo.
Hartelijk dank, Adriaan, and good luck for all future products.