Hans van Eck | BassBox
 Cat: AB021
 Time: June 09
 Media: CD & Digital Download

 Info: Pulses of inhaled and exhaled air form hypnotic 
 compositional streams. Hans van Eck presents his 
 sound-world delivered from the unique architecture of 
 the bass box.

 Artist site: www.schreck.nl

 PDF Press Release: Download 

 01. Diepe Deining - Deep Roll (MP3 Preview)
02. Zindering - Scintillating
03. House - House
04. Rivieren - Rivers (MP3 Preview)
05. Chaotische Slinger - Chaotic Pendulum
06. Complexi - Complexes (MP3 Preview)
07. Geschud Ritme - Shaken Ryhthm - dark flutes 1, 7 - equal flutes 2, 5 - star flutes 3, 6 - space flutes 4
Hans van Eck - BassBox download download download
QUESTIONS | Hans van Eck
 Who are you?
Hans van Eck, a Dutch composer and sound artist. Originally trained as musicologist I turned to active performance and composition during the last years of my study. I chose the second study at the Institute of Sonology because studying electronic music gave me the possibility to create my own sound world. I had the idea that only with this media I could realise the sounds I could hear in my fantasy. This resulted in some purely electronic pieces later collected in the cassette-release ‘Blind Area’, you can still find some of this music wandering around on the web.
Later I combined these sound worlds with the acoustic music and sounds I was composing. Also because my colleague Arie van Schutterhoef seduced me in starting with him an ensemble for electro-acoustic music, the Schreck Ensemble. In this ensemble, initially violin, synthesizers and other electronic gear, I played synthesizers and was responsible for the mixing. With a few changes this ensemble got his definitive form in 1993 and it is still my basic machine for the performance of my music. Then in 1997 we started a very succesfull collaboration with sound artist Hans van Koolwijk, which was very successful. Together with Hans we created many new music and – new for me - also new music instruments. The BassBoxes are the best instruments we created together, and since the definitive form of these instruments in 2003 (with the creation of the ‘Pulsor’ the low frequency synthesizer made for ‘feeding’ the BassBoxes) I made a lot of music for the BassBoxes. Why do you write music? Music has always been my only destination. I imagine music in my mind and I want to realise it, to hear this music in the real world. So basically I compose for myself. I have the idea that sounds can be a source for understanding and connecting to the world in an intuitive way as opposed to the rational dealing with the world in our scientific description. In this view music is a way to describe the world as I feel it.
What does this album mean to you? I have the feeling that with the BassBoxes I managed, together with the brilliant artist Hans van Koolwijk, to discover a new and intriguing sound world. The music I made for these instruments is very dear to me, the way you create music in the BassBoxes are very close to how it works in my own mind. I have the feeling that this music is the best I have made. The album is for me the presentation of my sound world. Can you elaborate on the BassBoxes? A BassBox is an electronic air pump which pumps wind in measured quantities through flutes, giving rise to rhythmically fascinating sounds. In contrast to what might be expected, the Bass Boxes do not produce bass sounds; rather, one hears rhythmically overblown bamboo flutes which are provided with air from the powerfully vibrating bass loudspeakers. At the moment that the cone of the loudspeaker moves forward the foremost flute sounds, while a small amount of air is drawn into the hindmost flute. As the cone moves backwards the process is reversed. This explains the percussive nature of the sound; there is a constant inhalation and exhalation of air, which moves swiftly through the mouths of the flutes. This creates superbly refined combinations of sounds. The rhythmic patterns can shift with extreme subtlety, but a strict pulse is also possible. BassBoxes are processors: they change electronics into sound by means of air pressure, generated by low frequency ‘sounds’ from the bass speaker. This is a principally radical, new way of creating sound in flutes that has never been put into practice before. That special use of electronics to generate sound is also unprecedented. The BassBox is the first installation of its kind and enables us to connect two worlds that up until now had always been separated. The use of fast, refined electronics is extended to the level of the much slower reacting, more cumbersome aero phones. We have designed the bamboo flutes to be extremely responsive to swift and minute alterations in pressure, resulting in ‘pure’ sounds free of the surface noise created by the flow of air. This gives rise to new possibilities for composers and radically influences compositional techniques. By means of the Pulsor, a sort of analogue synthesizer without keys and presets (designed by Jo Scherpenisse) the performer generates pulses, which are transmitted via two heavy direct current amplifiers (designed by Jo Scherpenisse) to the bass speakers. There, two flute tones are created per BassBox, making a total of four tones, which are interconnected to a certain extent. To provide amplification of the flute tones, four mini microphones (DPA 4061) with adaptors (DPA DAD 6001) transmit their signal via the digital mixing board to two stereo amplifiers (Vincent SP331), which are placed under the BassBoxes. Short cables connect these to the loudspeakers (JJA F99 130mm single cone full range). What are your future plans? More performances with the Schreck Ensemble in the coming season, different music on different venues. The start of the large project with Hans van Koolwijk: The ‘Klankkaatser’, August 2009 the first presentation, I will make the 12th hour composition that will sound inside, played by the sound machine’ devised by Hans van Koolwijk. Make new compositions for the Bass Boxes; find other ways to perform on them using computer-generated low frequencies.


 Audiobulb “are a Sheffield based exploratory electronic record label that is home to some of the finest purveyors
 of all things experimental. “Works supported by Audiobulb often explore the interface between the electronic and
 natural world. We embrace the complexity of unique electronics, intricate acoustics and detailed microsound.

 To be honest, in this day and age I will applaud any artists that will try and explore new realms of sound and 
 rhythm. These artists stick true to their ideas, that are born from imagination and invention, without trying to pigeon
 hole their sound into genres or even worse - trends and fashions.

 Hans van Eck is a collaboration between the Schreck Ensemble (as yet I have not discovered if they are in any 
 way related to the cartoon character) and sound artist / instrument designer “Hans van Koolwijk” (I have not 
 discovered, as yet, the wig maker either). The idea is that large bass speakers are placed inside a “BassBox” 
 which is a cabinet with only two small holes for letting the air escape. These holes are placed in close proximity 
 to flutes, so that the vibrations from the speakers cause the flutes to play, and it is these noises that are recorded.

 From reading this it is probably quite difficult to imagine what the album actually sounds like. Well it is a mixture of 
 heart arresting tractor like drones and throbs like on Track One 'Deep Roll,' to the delicate and complex rhythmic 
 melodies heard on Track Three 'House.'

 “BassBox” is never going to appeal to a mass market, but that was never the point. The experimental music 
 collective is seen as a method of creating sound that is not only new and distinct but also a sound that has a life 
 of its own. The creators of “Bassbox” are certainly able to have slight control over what the overall song sounds 
 like, but I am sure that it is never what they originally completely intended. This means that the music almost has a 
 life of its own. A structure that is in harmony with the natural world and a meaning that is very hard to decipher, 
 yet alone understand.

 In the music spectrum there is definitely a place for this sort of “experiment”. Audiobulb Records see and hear a 
 depth to this type of music that many will not understand.

 On “BassBox” there are glimpses as to why and how this music can be so effective. Intricate flute melodies that
 seem to build up on themselves, outlining a driving yet underlying subtle melody which drowns the listener in 
 delicate, yet complex structures like those in evidence on 'House' and Track Seven 'Shaken Rhythm.

 When the BassBoxes are used to create the kind of low frequency drones that make you want to visit the 
 bathroom, I personally, am not so sure. 'Deep Roll' and Track Two 'Scintillating' are not exactly musical, but 
 remain effective. Fans of “Noise” and “Drone” music will certainly be interested, and taking into account that 
 there is little or no “post-recording” production, bar amplification, the noises and sound-scapes are highly 
 interesting, if not overtly musical.

 All in all, I applaud Hans van Eck’s enthusiasm, imagination and drive. Hans van Eck have stayed true to their 
 ideas and never veered from their distinct path and that in today’s fickle world, must be applauded.

 It doesn't happen a lot, the excitement of mail arriving and then there is the new work by *** (fill in the blank), the 
 much rumored new work. At the Vital HQ lots of mail arrive, and mail means work, its that simple. You may find 
 it hard to believe but there was some old fashioned excitement when opening a small parcel by Audiobulb, which
 contained, much to my surprise, a CD by Hans van Eck. Who? His name popped up in the announcement section
 a couple of times, as part of the Schreck Ensemble, with whom he performs works of twentieth century serious
 composers. My first encounter with his music was a cassette only release in the late 80s, 'Blind Area' (which I 
 think you can download on the Schreck website) of works created when studying sonology. Serious electronic 
 music, but which sounded to my ears great. Never heard much of his music again, so that may explain some of 
 the excitement. Here he works with a bassbox, 'an electronic air pump which pumps wind in measured quantities 
 through flutes, giving rise to rhythmically fascinating sounds'. The vibrations of bass escape through two small 
 holes and go into bamboo flutes. A simple and effective idea. And that brings me straight to the problem I have 
 with the CD. There are seven pieces on this CD, and there is only one, 'Rivieren', which sound distinctly different
 than the other six. The six pieces are variations to a theme it seems. Maybe the speed changes a bit, the amount 
 of air blown into the bamboo (even within a piece, which makes this sound like Reich's phase shifting), but after 
 the third piece I had enough. I took it off, highly disappointed, but when I started to review the review I went back, 
 and it seemed the fourth piece 'Rivieren' was different, more like sine wave like experiment. Maybe I was wrong 
 and I played the CD to the end. But no. That track is the odd ball, and the rest is standard. That I think is a great pity. 
 I can imagine the bassbox is a nice thing to see in action, but as a whole the CD is a bit disappointing. Having said 
 that, the pieces as pieces are actually nice. Nothing wrong with them as such, but to play it in one go, is just a bit 
 too much. Hard to imagine, but play one or two pieces of this and then move to something else and then back to 
 here. Seems like a lot of work. Audiobulb took a brave step by moving away from their usual musical releases 
 and that's great too.

 Dell'olandese Hans van Eck ricordiamo una cassettina pubblicata nella seconda metà dagli anni '80 dalla Decay 
 International, ponderose composizioni elettroniche realizzate in gran parte negli studi dell'Institute of Sonology di 
 Utrecht presso il quale l'autore si è laureato in musicologia. Poi l'attività nell'ambito della musica contemporanea con
 lo Schreck Ensemble e poi la collaborazione con lo scultore Hans van Koolvijk per il design di strumenti musicali non
 ortodossi. Come la BassBox, una pompa azionata elettronicamente che veicola masse d'aria in due flauti di bambù
 piazzati allo sommità dello strumento a produrre drones ribollenti e ondeggiamenti ritmici. Tutto molto affascinante, 
 ma anche non poco monotono. (6) Nicola Catalano

 Audiobulb Is an exploratory music label designed to support the work of innovative artists. 

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