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
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One of the steadiest sources of light among labels that feature & promote ambient music from around the globe is Home Normal under the guidance of Ian Hawgood, a fine artist and mastering engineer in his own right. The newest entry to their catalog brings together two outstanding artists who likewise both curate independent labels while creating their own music, Stijn Hüwels (Slaapwel Records) and James Murray (Slowcraft Records). The new collaborative project is called Silent Vigils, a suitable moniker for the liminal quiescence of sound these two kindred spirits have reached across water to create with one another.
“Molenbrook, Mossigwell, Zwartewall, Fieldem… places neither here nor there; half in the world, half in the mind. We began this project as an exchange of gestures across the water, a dialogue motivated by mutual respect and revolving around our shared love of the minimal, the graceful and the understated. We completed it on 22nd March 2017 – the day of the Westminster attack, one year to the day after the Brussels bombings. These four pieces have become our personal dedications to the quiet strength of blended culture, free thinking and open borders.” – Silent Vigils
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Part of the Spring 2017 series and the most recent addition to the Eilean Rec. catalog is a first-time collaboration between Belgian musician & Slaapwel Records curator Stijn Hüwels and American composer & sound artist Danny Clay. It turns out to be an inspired pairing in a wonderfully understated kind of way as Hüwels somnambulent guitar-loop minimalism finds a perfect complement in Clay’s delicate electroacoustic ephemera fashioned from turntables, sine waves, and celesta.
Continue reading “Sound Impression: An Unintended Space by Stijn Hüwels & Danny Clay”
Stijn Hüwels is a sound and recording artist based in Belgium whose work with processed guitar, loops, and field recordings reflects his “profound fascination with minimalism”. Most recently featured here on the blog in his role as the new custodian of the Slaapwel Records label, he is releasing new solo work of his own through Japanese label mAtter in the form of Six Pieces For Guitar with the option of a companion 2-track EP.
Continue reading “Sound Impression: Stijn Hüwels – Six Pieces For Guitar [mAtter]”