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It has been quiet around Raymond Dijkstra, although most likely he was active but much of what he does moves outside of our scope, being highly limited releases on vinyl, between two and five copies (this seems an usual intro these days when I write about him; I used something similar in Vital Weekly 972 when I reviewed his previous record). Dijkstra has released a lot of LPs in the past years, solo as well as with Astra, a duo with Timo van Luijk and with La Poupee Vivante with Timo van Luijk, together with Arlette Aubin and Frederique Bruyas or with the latter as Nivriti Marga. Now it's time for yet another new alter ego, Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah - and I have no idea how to pronounce that. Dijkstra, who calls himself Le Ray here (so really two alter-egos really), plays Moog IIIp, mellotron and 'percüs' and with one side called 'Remembering In The Cosmic Manifestation' and the other 'Kosmische Vernichtung', one could, actually quite rightly, think, mister Dijkstra has gone down the hippie trail. While I haven't cracked the complete cosmic egg, I think especially the music of Popol Vuh is of particular inspiration here. I could wait with writing about this album, until our in-house expert on Popol Vuh (our very own Dolf Mulder), drops by and ask for his expert opinion, but over the years I heard a bit myself, and the percussive sounds of Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah (mainly bongos or congas) are coupled with some very interesting synthesizer music come quite close in terms of inspiration. In the second part of 'Kosmische Vernichtung' there is no percussion, but clusters of synthesized sounds stabbed together. In the other three pieces (each title has two parts), Dijkstra has a more cosmic approach with his part abstract synthesizer parts and part melodic bits, along with the rolling percussion. In the first part of 'Kosmische Vernichtung', this is all quite orchestral, while 'Remembering In The Cosmic Manifestation' is a somewhat more open piece of music with Dijkstra spacing notes on his synthesizer, set against a drone on another synth and rolling around percussion. All of this is actually quite rough in terms of recording and production. No easy bouncing arpeggios in this cosmos, but rusty space ships on a dark psychedelic trip. More like Popol Vuh indeed in the early years than Tangerine Dream, if you get my drift. I enjoyed this shift in musical direction a lot. I have no idea if Dijkstra is planning to keep this going for a while; maybe a film maker should jump in and use this as a soundtrack and maybe we see Dijkstra's career take off in a similar was mister Fricke's? That would be awesome. (FdW)(Vital Weekly)

The newest cosmic excursion Lp by  Raymond Dijkstra, here playing Mellotron, Moog IIIp and Percussion. His mixture of electronics and Mellotron with assorted percussions conjures up visions of deep, mystical emotion: spacy, abrasive, frightening, and beautiful all at once. (Fabio Carboni)(SoundOhm)


RAYMOND DIJKSTRA ~ CE PHÉNOMÈNE NÉGATIF D'UNE MANIÈRE SATISFAISANTE (This Negative Phenomenon Of A Satisfactory Manner) (LP by Editions Le Souffleur)
Experimental musicians really don’t like to make things easy on you when you’re a music writer.  Some people are happy to sit down with a relatively blank canvas, close their eyes, and apply their own experiences to the aural path that has been laid, whether or not that crumbling dirt road was intended to be theirs to walk or not.  However, others crave context; after all, what’s the point to eloquently crafting an exquisite hardcover box with a brilliantly considered pull-stick for the record sleeve if you don’t want people to have a more concrete vision for the fragile journey housed within?

There is a rather complex, surreal, and youthful story to act as the foundation for Raymond Dijkstra‘s latest creation, Ce phénomène négatif d’une manière satisfaisant (This Negative Phenomenon of a Satisfactory Manner), which was again issued through his own Dutch Le souffleur imprint, yet the artist has inexplicably chosen to leave the story out of the release itself, opting to include it only on the label’s archival website page for the work rather than applying it to the opposite side of a one-sided insert that otherwise only pictures alternative artwork.  It may seems like a small detail to miss, but when we’re talking about a minimal album without definitive form or lyrical value, context is—quite literally—the world.  Forcing your audience to go online to make a piece of art whole defeats the purpose of a physical version to begin with.  It would seem that a man like the Friesland-born Dijkstra would understand this, as he goes to great lengths to explain his love for a complete package on Le Souffleur’s mission statement page: “There is no reason why music should be published as a multiple and not as one sole original work of art. Especially the editions of 1-10 ex. carry the personal hand-print of the artist by means of hand-executed artwork. One of the fine characteristics of the work of Dijkstra is the full integration of sound and image. The visual artwork is always done by the artist himself; music and image stem from one whole universe, inside the artist. One continuum.”

Currently residing in Amsterdam, Dijkstra has mostly stayed true to his personal solitary vision over the years, opting to retain full control of his work by releasing the vast majority of it through Le souffleur, and the visuals therein hint that, even when he has rarely chosen to branch out to other imprints like Dekorder and Crouton (after all, what self-respecting experimental musician turns down an invitation from the incredible Jon Mueller?), he has had a controlling hand in the entire process.  As the title hints, Ce phénomène négatif d’une manière satisfaisant is a bit of a fragmented, mildly maddened journey through specific moments in Dijkstra’s youth.  While the album cover and alternative artwork do a fantastic job of elaborating upon the beginning of his story, Dijkstra describes it best when he says: “I remember having walked that road adorned with beautiful old Oak trees in my hometown in Friesland… the road swirling through a landscape now filled with old big 19th-century houses, some in Jugendstil style, others in a more classical style, but everything was softly pulsating… It was covered in strangeness and my walking was slow…“ Indeed, the entire album is absolutely awash in a gentle, calm blanket of genuine peculiarities that are dominated throughout by a noticeable pulsing / warbling that, while changing in tempo and severity on side B, never leaves the listener.  It’s a constant presence, and while it is distracting to the point of annoyance at first, once your ears get accustomed to it, this effect really does help bring out the surrealist intensity behind the music.  Both Timo van Luijk (one-time member of the important Noise Maker’s Fifes) and well-traveled spoken-word artist Frédérique Bruyas accompany Dijkstra here on his drift into memory, each providing a crucial single role at specific respective moments in the album, yet it is the headmaster himself who has created the heart of what amounts to a beautifully complex record that never lapses into becoming needlessly overwhelming like so many other experimental efforts.  Ce phénomène négatif d’une manière satisfaisant is laid-back to a fault, and would almost be meditative if it didn’t require active participation to enjoy what it has to offer.  I can’t help but feel that more variety is needed to bring his work to a higher level, as by the end of the record it did begin to take on a “more of the same” quality that was likely detrimental to any future choice to return to it, but after nearly a decade and a half of evolving as an artist, Dijkstra has really begun to hone in on what makes his work special and how he can bring that to the forefront of his artistry.(S.L. Weatherford)(Heathen Harvest)

RAYMOND DIJKSTRA ~ CE PHÉNOMÈNE NÉGATIF D'UNE MANIÈRE SATISFAISANTE (This Negative Phenomenon Of A Satisfactory Manner) (LP by Editions Le Souffleur)
Things have been quiet for Raymond Dijkstra. At least that's how it seemed looking from the outside: maybe he was busy with painting or creating super limited pieces of vinyl with handmade packaging. The latter is something he always does himself. Apart from 'De Gedachte' and 'De Gelofte', Dijkstra creates all of these linen boxes himself, which must have cost him quite a few hours and which remind me of small book press work. His latest record comes in three editions: a soft cover one (100 copies) a hardcover one with poster (100 copies) and a highly limited edition of 10 copies with original artwork, wooden dowel and two posters, for which you have to fork out some money. For this new LP Dijkstra gets help from Timo van Lujik on Monochord and Frederique Bruyas (voice). This is quite a departure from much of the work he has released after 2003, moving away from louder scratches of metal forks on glass plates and random stabs on the harmonium, but opts for a much more careful and quiet sound, which perhaps has more in common with the music Dijkstra plays with Van Luijk in their group Asra. Very much improvised here, as always, but very subdued and quiet, almost like a zen meditation. Dijkstra plays harmonium, tuba, fork, feedback and mellotron, so you could all too easily think that there is indeed nothing new under the sun, but that's not true. Dijkstra operates in a spacier realm here, with delay pedals full open and creating lots of air in which Dijkstra's music seems to float quietly. A distant surreal sound. If Dijkstra's music is something you like but not keen on every new release, but you surely like to hear something new, then this record might be exactly up your alley. It's not the big departure from what we know, but it's surely quite a move in a different direction. (FdW)(Vital Weekly)

RAYMOND DIJKSTRA ~ CE PHÉNOMÈNE NÉGATIF D'UNE MANIÈRE SATISFAISANTE (This Negative Phenomenon Of A Satisfactory Manner) (LP by Editions Le Souffleur)
The fantastic new LP from Raymond Dijkstra translates as ' This Negative Phenomenon Of A Satisfactory Manner'. A curious title indeed and the music is equally curious. Mellotron, waves of subdued feedback, and a tuba all figure prominently in the compositions. Raymond's trademark hard echo also lends itself to the deranged and yet subtle atmosphere. Timo van Luijk adds some monochord and Frederique Bruyas adds some fine spoken word (in French) on one piece. The aspect I like best about Raymond's music is its total unconcern with 'what is going on' in the rest of the musical world. Whilst the music is very abstract, it seems to be the exact opposite of the current soundscape craze, which displays much less originality (and shows little sign of abating.) Raymond's music is truly music to get lost in. It has the perfume of the dusty corners of time where the mind is free to roam. This release comes in three editions: A hyper-deluxe (edition of 10), a deluxe (edition of 100) and a regular. This is the deluxe edition. It comes in a beautiful handmade black linen box with a print on the front. The record is dispensed via the dowel system and there is a signed print as well. Beautiful edition. Fantastic music. (Scott Foust )(Swill Radio)

NIvRITTI MARGA ~ s/t (LP) (2013)

NIvRITTI MARGA (LP by Edition Le Souffleur)
The sound artist Raymond Dijkstra is highly regarded by many. I admit I have always found his work, what little I heard, extremely austere and difficult to process. Around 2008 he sent us two of his hand-made art objects releases Die Sonne and Die Wille. which resembled case-bound books in black buckram, and were both as foreboding as a necromancer’s spell book. More recently, we received an LP by NIvRITTI MARGA on 9th July 2013 and this is mostly played and performed by Dijkstra with the help of Timo van Luijk, the Belgian player who I associate with Noise-Maker’s Fifes and the droney art-trio Onde; and Frédérique Bruyas, who contributed the voice work to the record. At any rate, it’s more eventful than the ultra-minimal and perplexingly cryptic LPs I heard in 2008, which isn’t to say it’s exactly “listenable”. On one level, Nivritti Marga (ÉDITION LE SOUFFLEUR) is a spoken-word record showcasing selected texts of the Comte de Lautréamont, the 19th-century French poet who wrote Les Chants De Maldoror and had such a big influence on the Surrealists (and later, the Situationists it seems). I suppose André Breton and his crew tended to favour anything that was an affront to polite society, and with his fixations on dirt and filth and dung and parasites and nasty insects living in the dung, coupled with his apparent wish to annihilate the entire human race, Lautréamont fit the bill and was instantly elected as a poet maudit by the Surrealist cabal. I’m not here to tell you how Raymond Dijkstra interprets these bizarre texts, but this record of his disturbs and troubles the mind as soon as the needle is dropped. Eerie formless semi-musical noises produced by means unknown are set out in a lurid, spooked-up framework enhanced with judicious smears of grisly echo; it’s electro-acoustic music creeping out from the most extreme regions of the composerly soul. On top of this disjunctive and tuneless musical arrangement, the voice of Bruyas is dropped in, remorselessly intoning the texts (spoken in French, although printed translations are provided) in a crisp, unemotional manner; to add to the general malaise, the tape of his voice has been speeded-up ever so slightly to make it less human, and more like the voice of a malignant goblin spitting out curses against the world.
But this isn’t an especially shocking record, on the surface. Dijkstra executes his plan without any outright sonic violence, and in fact the work is not especially noisy, nor explosive in its emotional range. Instead, it remains distant and cold to the point of reaching near-zero temperatures, and very few familiar toe-holds for the intrepid listener can be found as we try to scale this forlorn, rocky peak of alienation. The sense of disjuncture extends to the sleeve collage; a “tasteful” array of antique chairs, furnishings and stucco walls has been shattered, through cut-ups, negative images, and tilted horizons, to induce instant visual nausea at first sight. This monochrome image puts me in mind of Last Year in Marienbad, and could almost be read as a still from that cinematic work which arguably carries the torch of surrealism into the latter half of the 20th century. In both music and imagery, I would guess that Raymond Dijkstra is attempting to undermine all that’s bourgeois, safe and mainstream, doing so by subverting normality; the record is a nightmarish parody of classical chamber music, and the cover art is pretty much a direct attack on our cosy homes – by way of the centuries-old European traditions of furnishings and decor. In doing this, I’ve no doubt that he aligns himself 100% with the nihilistic spirit of Comte de Lautréamont. Outside of that, I don’t pretend to understand one iota of what this record proposes, but I’m still feeling quite sickened after a single listen to its inhuman tones, and the memory of what I heard brings an involuntary shudder to my pallid flesh. If any of this appeals, by all means check out this disturbing and marginal art statement. (Ed Pinsent )
(The Sound Projector)

NIVRITTI MARGA – Nivritti Marga LP
Together Raymond Dijkstra and Frederique Bruyas already released a CD, centered around 'Les Chants De Maldoror' (see Vital Weekly 801), which I didn't dig altogether. It was a mixture of spoken word (Bruyas) and music (Dijkstra), separated in the left and right channel, which is perhaps what made it for me a bit less. Here Bruyas and Dijkstra work together, with the help of Timo van Luijk on monochord and acoustic noise. The music is all trade mark Dijkstra: lots of echo used on the sound sources, which here may have a lesser focus on glass and forks, his usual instruments, but a somewhat more obscured electronic sound, maybe the harmonium and electronics? Maybe not, as it's never easy to tell. Van Luijk's flute is apparent, and there is an occasional processed feedback. There is also some curious form of processing on the voice of Bruyas, which makes it sound a bit like something that has been sped-up, a bit old school industrial, but very nice, whereas the music is actually not very industrial. Altogether this is highly obscure music, but I must say I quite like it. The voice reminded me of Cortex, or very very early Die Form, and the highly improvised music had also something vaguely old-school, like a mid-80s cassette release. It's a dark, yet fascinating sound, which is recorded quite softly and not too outspoken, but which allows the listener to perform his own meditation, his own ritual or simply adjust the volume in such a way that one feels most conformable with. Fans of Raymond Dijkstra and Timo van Luijk know what to expect, probably, yet somehow this is slightly different, slightly something else and a further expansion of a highly private universe. (FdW)(Vital Weekly)

NIVRITTI MARGA – S/T (Editions Le Souffleur) LP Nivritti Marga is Raymond Dijkstra, Timo van Luijk, and Frederique Bruyas. (She is a professional reader!) The texts are from Maldoror by Comte de Lautreamont. There are a lot of long instrumental passages and the pacing is very dream-like. The music seems to be mostly from acoustic sources, although Raymond's trademark hard, short echo is in effect on and off throughout the LP. Bruyas' voice is also processed, leading an even odder air to the proceedings. This is another fantastic release from Raymond and he seems to have a very unique, updated and individualistic angle on Dada/Surrealism. He continues to construct a very personal sound world. The record is in a bag, with a 12" x 12" artwork and a printed inner sleeve with the texts in French and English. PS If you have not read Lautreamont, you owe it to yourself. (Scott Foust )(Swill Radio)

NIVRITTI MARGA – Nivritti Marga LP
Timo van Luijk seems to specialise in collaborations with autodidacts, semi-recluses or limelight avoiders. He's paired up with Christoph Heemann in In Camera, Andrew Chalk in Elodie and Raymond Dijkstra, firstly in the now defunct Asra duo and now in Nivritti Marga, a trio with Frédérique Bruyas. The group's moniker is a Hindu term connoting an inward path of contemplation. Dijkstra's last two solo albums (Cittavibhrama and Hiranyagarbha - also one of the track titles here) had Hindu titles, suggesting themes of spirituality or religion on which their debut album - in it's familiarly surreal, hall of mirrors confusion - disquietingly extrapolates. It's somewhat reminiscent of Dijkstra's 2011 Les Chants Du Maldoror duo with Bruyas in it's use of spoken words texts. Her narrations, in French, are treated to a higher than natural pitch and fed through delay, which at first seems a little comical, before gradually taking on a more sinister bent. Van Luijk adds monochord scrapes and acoustic noise to three tracks; elsewhere Dijkstra's spiralling synth textures resemble controlled explosions going off in the background. (Nick Cain )(The Wire)


Very cool duet of the accordion of Amsterdam based polymath Dijkstra and the violin of Switzerland's Boss. Dijkstra also seems to throw in some electronics, but most of it is acoustic, and a very odd battle between bellows based puffery and arm-driven tone saws. As nutty and full of life as the wonderful dada based sleeve design. First there is a system, then there is no system, then there is. (Byron Coley)(The Wire)

A duet for violin, knife and spoon. The latter two played by Raymond Dijkstra, of whom we have reviewed a whole bunch of records over the last years, and he's stuck within something he choose to do. Play that, and work on that sounds, using glass surfaces and the result is a scratchy sound which is no doubt his own. His records are like excersises in what he does, endless variations on that theme. I never heard of Matthias Boss, who plays the violin here. He does that in a great way! This really fits the hectic playing of Dijkstra and Boss a similar hectic playing the strings. His playing remains like the one you would expect a hectic violin to be played, yet still sounding like a violin. It adds to a more musical effect to the music of Dijkstra, which is always more like chamber noise music. These two ends working in a similar ways - the hectic, the nervous shifting of sounds - on different instruments make up for an excellent 7". Right on time, with the exact length to keep the listener hungry for more, but not over feeding them. (Vital Weekly)


SANTASEDE ~ SANTASEDE (10" by Le souffleur)
Santasede‘s ten-inch (LE SOUFFLEUR 74) is on Raymond Dijkstra’s imprint and I expect we received it along with the horrifying NIvRITTI MARGA item noted here. It has a similar cover image, cut-ups of photos of antique furnishings, only now printed in negative. Grisly, nerve jangling metal percussion is to the forefront of both sides of this white vinyl slab; lurking in the background are quiet but fatally sinister chords of a murderous nature, lurking like shrouded assassins. The entire release is a ghostly vision, hinting at a dissipated European past of decadence and ghastly buried family secrets. It’s like the soundtrack to an Italian horror movie, only nowhere near as lurid as you’d expect from your typical Dario Argento gore-fest, and if a cinematic abortion existed to accompany this unsettling music, it would be a severe psychological horror of such monstrosity that viewing two reels of it would send the cinema-goer straight from the theatre to the bughouse, transported in a special truck constructed for the purpose with padded walls. Santasede is a collaboration between Raymond Dijkstra and Tiff Lion; Tiff, who might be better known to Italian indie-rock fans as the singer Tying Tiffany, provides the eerie voice work, electronic music, and acoustic instruments. Chilling, distant, alien. (Ed Pinsent )(The Sound Projector)

SANTASEDE ~ SANTASEDE (10" by Le souffleur)
Santasede is Raymond Dijkstra and Tiff Lion. Raymond you should already know and Tiff Lion is from an indie band called Tying Tiffany. An odd combination to say the least. No songs here though. There is some sitar, piano, hand drums, and what might be a piano soundboard all sparsely organized to make for a very engaging listening experience. I haven't heard anything this close to sonically describing a Surrealist room since NWW'sOstranenie 1913. Mysterious. Two complete, side long scenes of disruption and purpose. I am not sure what Ms. Lion does, although there are some sparse male and female voices on the first side, but this is an superb collaboration. Raymond has always cut a highly individualistic path and this 10" continues that tradition. No scraping. Excellent atmosphere. (Scott Foust)(Swill Radio)

SANTASEDE ~ SANTASEDE (10" by Le souffleur)
It's been awhile since I last heard something from Raymond Dijkstra, but that doesn't mean he's been quiet all the time. As a true artist, his records are sometimes art objects in very small editions and then don't end up in the review columns. Here Dijkstra has something new to offer, a new band of himself on acoustic sounds - the area where we know him best - and one Tiff Lion ('from Tying Tiffany fame') on synthesizer, voice and acoustic instruments (only side two). Apparently Tying Tiffany is an electro post punk sort of thing, but she didn't bring that to the table here. It seems that Tiff Lion and Raymond Dijkstra have opposite ideas, but that's not something that shows here. But if I had to say it, I think it's Dijkstra who puts down the ideas for the music. It carries that improvised character that much of his music has. Or perhaps improvised is not the right word, but more random like strumming of piano strings, plastic objects and the hard to understand reciting of words by Tiff Lion from an old alchemistic book. It's more the surrealistic approach to music creating, the automating process of creating music. Such notions as compositions or improvisations do not apply to this music: this is much more randomly put together and the outcome is dictated by a strange internal logic. According to that same logic, there is also a strange way of recording; some of this appears far away in the mix. The synthesizer was something I didn't hear very well on this record, I must say. Raymond Dijkstra has added once again a most powerful, strange record to his extended discography. Especially 'Due' sounded great, with those plastic bottles, deep drone hum, and far away sounds. If like In Camera, and love to go to more daring music, here's a possible route for you. (FdW)(Vital Weekly)

SANTASEDE ~ SANTASEDE (10" by Le souffleur)
Santasede A new improvising duo joining Raymond Dijkstra’s Dutch acoustic string/percussion muddling with Tiff Lion (aka Tying Tiffany)’s Italian vocal/electronic succulence. Dijkstra’s efforts are usually best when they’re focused, and this one is. A sweet blend of mysteries that actually functions better as a record than as an art object. (Byron Coley)(The Wire)