Jules

Distant Fires Burning

The creative work of Gert De Meester from the town of Battel (A suburb of Mechelen, Belgium, at the confluence of three rivers). Gerts musical outlet always represented a very diverse palette of musical genres. He started out as a bass-player for rock, thrash, funk and pop bands including: The Hindu Needle Trick and The Seven Laws Of Woo. Elsewhere he was creating electronic music under aliases The Mental Attack and Reverend Basstorius' Intergalactic Funk Experience.

In 2007 Gert started to experiment more with ambient and it became clear that Distant Fires Burning was the vehicle for a very personal expression and one in which the bass guitar re-entered as the primary source. Distant Fires Burning is Gert’s expression through bass - enhanced and manipulated to create a very unique and personal sound.

For The Love Of ...

This album has been formed over the past two years and is more centered around the Fender Jazz Bass. Most of the tracks are made entirely with the jazz bass & digital effects.  It is ambient, but it has more rhythmic elements in it. There are elements of post rock and subtle psychedelia a sense of flow and exploration.

Each track is made with a deep love and passion for music and the world (closely) around us. The moment an immense feeling was experienced, it was transformed into music. It turned out to be a collection of tracks that represent for the love of ...

Cat: AB080

Release date: September 2018

 

 

Reviews

  1. Merchants of Air

    There is something amazing going on in Belgium and I'm not even talking about the performances of our national football team. I'm talking about music, ambient music to be specific. Of course, this country has always delivered high quality music, in many styles and genres. In the ambient scene, our bedroom producers have been extremely active since the invention of the bedroom, which has resulted in a breathtaking amount of breathtaking releases.

    Yet, in recent years, they have been stepping out of their bedrooms and into the open. They started meeting each other in real life, at concerts and festivals. They had lovely conversations about music and eventually the cooperative nature of Belgians gained the high ground, resulting in even more breathtaking music. Now that our chieftain Dirk Serries is exploring the jazz scene, people like Stratosphere, Ashtoreth and this Distant Fires Burning are stepping into his footsteps. Today, the Antwerp Ambient scene, so to speak, is loaded with co-operations and new bands. Hell, even I have a place in there. My own project, Misantronics, has clearly gained some respect and adoration. 

    I have not named these artists by coincidence. This album by bass-ambient producer Distant Fires Burning (Gert De Meester) is backed by that mutual respect. Ashtoreth channeled 'Any', Misantronics freestyled the danceable 'I Would Move' and Stratosphere put his teeth in two other tracks. The four remixes provide a neat overview of what this cooperative nature is capable of and thus promises great things for the near future. More about that later, for now let's just dig into the droning beauty that 'For The Love Of...' has become.

    The album opens with 'K&J', a slowly meandering drone-ambient tune in the vein of most of your favorite minimalists. Lasting over nine minutes, this track is a splendid opener, slowly luring the listener in. It's almost an i-dose tune, one that could cause some nice hallucinations. But then, Gert showcases his love for other sounds. It is not a coincidence that I chose 'I Would Move' for a remix. This is one of the funkiest ambient tunes ever composed and I had to use that slapping bass in a dance tune. 'Any' then nudges towards ritual ambient, complete with singing bowl.

    'Mountain' is a cheerful piece of string-plucking music, Tortoise without rhythm section perhaps.  'And More' flirts with the entire dark jazz scene but in the end evolves something more funky again. Right before the remixes begin, 'Each Day' gently purls towards the end of the regular record. For me, this is a classic ambient tune, one for fans of everything between Eno and Helios and perhaps far beyond those two too. So, up until now, you already have an excellent, varied and immersive ambient album, already massively recommended.

    'K&J (Stratosphere Cave Mix)' takes the mysterious sound of the album's opener and adds some layers of gloom. This is what I was talking about in the opening paragraph. This cooperation is brilliant, currently one of my all-time favorite tracks within this genre. Soon after, you'll hear Ashtoreth's typical shamanistic voice as he kicks off his enigmatic version of 'Any'. This is another fantastic cooperation by two artists who can complement one another. 'I Would Move (Misantronics Remix)' is definitely the most danceable tune here, beats and all.  In the end, the Stratosphere plus remix of 'Mountain' is friendly enough to wave goodnight and welcome you back again soon.

    Well, this has been an interesting adventure, one that apparently resulted in a quite long review. As I always say, great music works inspiring and that surely is the case on 'For The Love Of...'. I could end by saying that there will indeed by nice things coming forward from this, but that's because, just like on this album, I will be a part of those nice things. For now, all that matters is finding people to recommend this album to, which is a piece of cake. Ambient fans, bass guitars lovers, droners around the world: you want this thing, believe me...

  2. Toneshift

    The fourth album from this ambient project by Gert De Meester finds the artist stretching his processing skills into interesting territories. His background as the bassist in bands assists in the direction of Distant Fires Burning, focused as it is on the sounds of the Fender Jazz Bass. The bass guitar isn’t a common instrument adapted to experimental drone music, the only band I can think of that has put it to the fore is the British group Rothko, who use the low tones to paint sonic vistas as minimal as their namesake.

    De Meester’s use of the bass often veers into these widescreen ambient soundscapes, but also uses the plucked strings to generate rhythms. Computer processing is evident on this recording, with granular textures and delays affecting notes and strums.

    This album is a lengthy release, totaling over 2 hours of music, the second hour containing a collection of remixes. First track K & J begins proceedings with slow washes of ambient drone before a cut-up melody makes itself known. The bass is much more prominent in its original form in the following piece, I Would Move, which hammers out a rhythm that sometimes feels a little too heavy at times, but resolves itself towards the end of the track as those warm washes regain prominence.

    Mountain makes use of these bass harmonies with much more success, achieving an emotional punch as the track progresses and acts very much as a standout track in this collection. Each Day closes out the album with a beautiful, contemplative piece of ambience. Low, slow thrums of bass are left to fade out, each one fizzled with little glitches as it expires. Tape hiss, and reverb tones spray off field recordings that underlay the track and are allowed much more to the fore as time goes by.

    Released on the Audiobulb label, this album reflects the ethos of that imprint, to explore sounds and enjoy the process of discovery. Possibly that’s the reason De Meester named this work the way he did. There is a sense of love in the crafting here, and a sense of communion with the instrument of his choice.

  3. Beach Sloth

    Subtle with its quiet contemplative approach, Distant Fires Burning goes for a cerebral atmosphere on the thoughtful “For The Love Of…”. Post-rock experimentation reigns supreme over the course of the entire album. Reminiscent of Radian’s tact on rock, everything about it has a loose, improvised spirit to it. Glitch, ambient, drone, all of these also filter into the mix adding to its otherworldly presence. In spite of its highly abstract vision, an emotional core resides at the very heart of it all effortlessly tying everything together. Layer upon layer comes into the album adding to its ornate tapestry of tactile textures.

    Gentle ebb and flow of sound introduces the album on the serene “K & J”. Done with care, the way that Distant Fires Burning lets the whole piece evolve feels deeply reassuring. A fractured funk takes hold on the surprisingly playful work of “I Would Move”. On “Mountain” a little bit of Tortoise comes into the fray for the whole of the piece has an incredible brightness to it one that makes it the highlight of the album. Stripping things down to the essentials the cavernous “each Day” feels unusually lovely in its careful skittering electronics. With the Misantronics Remix of “I Would Move” a gorgeous shimmering sort of house groove takes hold, giving the song a fully realized spirit. Neatly concluding the whole adventure is the tender Stratosphere Plus Mix of “Mountain”.

    Distant Fires Burning sculpts a spellbinding sound with the luxurious tones of “For The Love Of…”

  4. Vital Weekly

    The only previous occasion I heard music by Distant Fires Burning, I wrote "someone who may be taking the piss out of Dirk Serries: Distant Fires Burning (well, perhaps he's very serious, who knows?)" without mentioning his music. It was a compilation. It brought Gert de Meester in contact with Dirk Serries, who was then working as Fear Falls Burning. And indeed De Meester started using the word 'burning' after Dirk stopped his project. This is the first time I hear De Meester's music properly. He played bass in "rock, trash, funk and pop bands”, including The Hindu Needle
    Trick and The Seven Laws Of Woo. Electronic music he created as The Mental Attack and Revered Basstorius' Intergalactic Funk Experience. Distant Fires Burning is his ambient side and he plays the Fender Jazz bass guitar and digital effects, by which I assume loop pedals are in place. Quite a long release here, some eighty plus minutes of music, which is for a cassette release perhaps quite unusual. Eleven pieces, easily clocking at eight or nine minutes. This is not the kind of hit one string, sample and hold that into an ever-spiralling drone piece, but they are surely part of the music. On top of that, however, De Meester plays melodies and even is not shy to put a rhythm in place. Not some 4/4 beat of course (not until we get to the four remix at the end), but sampled bass notes forming creative loops along with that drone like material. It gives this material quite a varied feeling, using different approach to his material. I can image some people thinking this perhaps too wide apart, but throughout I enjoyed these excursions.  De Meester likes to show he can actually play the bass guitar, yet that he also knows how to put on a fine drone excursion or two. The
    remixes at the end are for me a bit superfluous; it was good as it was.

  5. Da Music

    Distant Fires Burning is blij. De Mechelaar is blij met de tientallen ambient- en droneartiesten die hij adoreert en hem omringen. Blij met zijn basgitaar. Blij met dochter en gezin. En dat blij zijn moet eruit. Met muziek als uitlaatklep. Ontstaan in de eigen men-cave, met basgitaar en een berg elektronische apparaten, klankhervormers en registratietoestellen. Klaar om na lang gepuzzel en geknutsel acht jaar stilte te doorbreken met een nieuwe release. Hypermodern in vele digitale formats én tegelijkertijd heerlijk oldskool ... op een cassettebandje. Geheel op de eigen manier dus.

    Grappig genoeg zijn al bovenstaande ingrediënten ook prominent aanwezig op ‘For The Love Of...’. De verzameling van elf tracks waarmee Distant Fires Burning de grenzen van minimalisme, ambient, IDM en dronemuziek opzoekt, is volledig ontsprongen uit de geliefkoosde Fender Jazz Bass.

    Maar ook de lotgenoten tekenen present, wanneer Stratosphere, Misantronics of Ashtoreth hun eigen versie van een Distant Fires Burning verhaal mogen vertellen. En ook kind en gezin komen erbij, wanneer enkele huiskameropnamen van een trotse vader die zijn dochter helpt kruipen, doorheen de digitale bonus -de Original Version van ’Each Day’- weerklinken.

    Eerlijk is eerlijk. In feite gaat het over slechts zes tracks en vier remixen (plus dat digitaal bonusje). De aanvang daarvan is de basis en eenvoud zelve: een enkele grondtoon die ontdubbelt in twee noten die, volgens het principe van organische drones, tegen elkaar botsen of elkaar versterken. Less is more in een langzaam opklimmend, verrijkend geheel van sfeer en klank. Dat is zo’n beetje de enige constante: de idee van eenvoud en evolutie.

    En toch durft de soundmeester aan beiden ook weer zondigen. De manier waarop tonen, een soort van belletjes en samples in het ijle met elkaar aan het spelen gaan in een wat meditatief Any en de vreemde, compleet hervormde glitchbeats die tot wat gefrutsel weggevaagd zijn en daar doorheen wringen, kan je moeilijk van eenvoud beschuldigen. De live bas improvisaties van And More waarin noten los samenhangen en met wat extra effectbewegingen meer tot vraagtekens dan antwoorden leiden, kan je ook niet echt als “evolutie” beschouwen.

    Wél een feit: Distant Fires Burning kent wat af van subtiele bewegingen en minimale sfeermuziek. De manier waarop noot en stilte elkaar opzoeken. De ene keer met knipoog naar Biosphere als een sappig geheel van klank en veldopnamen, de andere keer wat dreigend en duister met zwaar trillende basdrones.

    Soms mag het zelfs nog prominenter, wanneer pulkende baslicks en getokkel op de klankkast een bijzonder funky ritme in I Would Move vormen. En dan gaat het nog niet over de stevige housebeat en orgellagen die Misantronics later onder dit nummer durft te plaatsen. Of om de warme, melancholische melodielijnen van digitale strijkers en gitaar die Stratosphere doorheen afsluiter Mountain weeft – zijn artiestennaam alle eer aandoend.

    Dus ja, we hebben zeker een boon voor deze creatieve doe-het-zelf en doe-het-samen plaat. Ze bewijst dat er veel borrelt onder de oppervlakte in het Antwerpse “new ambient” wereldje. Weliswaar vaak heerlijk langzame beweging, maar ook duidelijk waarneembare beweging.

  6. Kilroy Records

    Distant Fires Burning is blij. De Mechelaar is blij met de tientallen ambient- en droneartiesten die hij adoreert en hem omringen. Blij met zijn basgitaar. Blij met zoon en gezin. En dat blij zijn moet eruit. Met muziek als uitlaatklep. Ontstaan in de eigen men-cave, met basgitaar en een berg elektronische apparaten, klankhervormers en registratietoestellen. Klaar om na lang gepuzzel en geknutsel acht jaar stilte te doorbreken met een nieuwe release. Hypermodern in vele digitale formats én tegelijkertijd heerlijk oldskool ... op een cassettebandje. Geheel op de eigen manier dus.

    Grappig genoeg zijn al bovenstaande ingrediënten ook prominent aanwezig op ‘For The Love Of...’. De verzameling van elf tracks waarmee Distant Fires Burning de grenzen van minimalisme, ambient, IDM en dronemuziek opzoekt, is volledig ontsprongen uit de geliefkoosde Fender Jazz Bass.

    Maar ook de lotgenoten tekenen present, wanneer Stratosphere, Misantronics of Ashtoreth hun eigen versie van een Distant Fires Burning verhaal mogen vertellen. En ook kind en gezin komen erbij, wanneer enkele huiskameropnamen van een trotse vader die zijn zoon helpt kruipen, doorheen de digitale bonus -de Original Version van ’Each Day’- weerklinken.

    Eerlijk is eerlijk. In feite gaat het over slechts zes tracks en vier remixen (plus dat digitaal bonusje). De aanvang daarvan is de basis en eenvoud zelve: een enkele grondtoon die ontdubbelt in twee noten die, volgens het principe van organische drones, tegen elkaar botsen of elkaar versterken. Less is more in een langzaam opklimmend, verrijkend geheel van sfeer en klank. Dat is zo’n beetje de enige constante: de idee van eenvoud en evolutie.

    En toch durft de soundmeester aan beiden ook weer zondigen. De manier waarop tonen, een soort van belletjes en samples in het ijle met elkaar aan het spelen gaan in een wat meditatief Any en de vreemde, compleet hervormde glitchbeats die tot wat gefrutsel weggevaagd zijn en daar doorheen wringen, kan je moeilijk van eenvoud beschuldigen. De live bas improvisaties van And More waarin noten los samenhangen en met wat extra effectbewegingen meer tot vraagtekens dan antwoorden leiden, kan je ook niet echt als “evolutie” beschouwen.

    Wél een feit: Distant Fires Burning kent wat af van subtiele bewegingen en minimale sfeermuziek. De manier waarop noot en stilte elkaar opzoeken. De ene keer met knipoog naar Biosphere als een sappig geheel van klank en veldopnamen, de andere keer wat dreigend en duister met zwaar trillende basdrones.

    Soms mag het zelfs nog prominenter, wanneer pulkende baslicks en getokkel op de klankkast een bijzonder funky ritme in I Would Move vormen. En dan gaat het nog niet over de stevige housebeat en orgellagen die Misantronics later onder dit nummer durft te plaatsen. Of om de warme, melancholische melodielijnen van digitale strijkers en gitaar die Stratosphere doorheen afsluiter Mountain weeft – zijn artiestennaam alle eer aandoend.

    Dus ja, we hebben zeker een boon voor deze creatieve doe-het-zelf en doe-het-samen plaat. Ze bewijst dat er veel borrelt onder de oppervlakte in het Antwerpse “new ambient” wereldje. Weliswaar vaak heerlijk langzame beweging, maar ook duidelijk waarneembare beweging.