L'OPUS CH ~ RAYMOND DIJKSTRA (The Advantages of Schizophrenia)  (2009)
 Raymond Dijkstra L'opus ch




Vinyl-record weight: 120 grams. Black vinyl. 33 Rpm. Limited edition of 300.
First title of two twin records in the series 'De voordelen van schizofrenie...' (The advantages of schizophrenia...)(2nd title is L'opus L'h released by Dekorder)
Artwork Raymond Dijkstra.

*RAYMOND DIJKSTRA ~ L'opus ch (LP) Excerpt

Le Souffleur Audio Player

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Since 2003 Dutch painter, musician and sculptor Raymond Dijkstra has put out more than 40 releases on his Le Souffleur label, in a range of formats (LP, 10", 7", 5", and 3" vinyl), under his own name and a variety of pseudonyms (Ki Sync Pulse, Razoul Üzlü, Dadaphon). All are very limited art editions, whose sleeves feature his drawing and painting, and are priced accordingly. Dijkstra's lack of profile and insistence on working in isolation make it tempting to classify his work as a form of outsider art. He has certainly evolved an unusual and relatively unique approach. The few of his albums I've been able to hear sound like nothing else around - organ loops, metal scrapings and string scratchings are crafted through insistent repetition and crude manipulations into totally self-contained and obsessively insular soundworlds. L'opus Ch and De Fazant are his two most recent releases. The more substantial L'opus Ch serves up two sidelong tracks, both primitive improvisational collages, at times indistinguishable from each other. A small range of sounds is repeatedly distressed, forced into meandering, circular patterns, with little in the way of development or progression - unidentifiable tinny scrapings are filtered through echo and delay effects while what sound like a pump organ creakily chunters away in the background. Like much of Dijkstra's music, it's at once futile and profound. (Nick Cain)(The wire)

Sometimes one should really believe the hype. I'd read raving reviews of this guy's albums and they sounded like exactly the kind of thing that I would enjoy. And still I resisted checking them out, who knows why. Maybe I was worried about being conned into buying something that would turn out to be just the latest flavour-of-the-month. The fact that the albums were issued at a terrifying pace in very small and exorbitantly expensive hand-made editions did not help either, it all sounded like a case of style over substance to me. Turns out my fears were completely unfounded and I have been missing out on some of the greatest sounds in recent history!
This is the regular edition reissue of a disc that was originally released as a hand-made art edition of 50 copies. Now there are 300 copies of these things and luckily they go for standard LP prices. The cover is fairly unassuming, a greyscale collage of cut-up photographs printed on a nice rough-quality cardboard. My first impression when the vinyl starts to spin is of low-key improv with various analogue instruments and objects. There's piano in there, along with what sounds like a tuba, a harp, some type of harmonium and various metal artefacts being rubbed, rattled and abused. And then it hits me, he's not really improvising in the normal sense, there is a definite structure built into the piece, both on micro- and macroscales. Instead of exploring the soundscape he's creating an otherworldly structure that moves deftly in time and place. There's also a rhythm of sorts, maybe more implicit then explicit, like a gentle human pulsation that runs through the whole album. Each sound is carefully caressed into existence, slowly brought fort out of mystery and then freed to decay into the acoustic domain. Slight changes in tempo take place once in a while and we witness small scale eruptions of dynamic tension. Generous amounts of echo generate an impression of space, but clearly of the imaginary type. There is no beginning and no end, instead we are trapped inside a grand structure of infinite dimensions. What remains for us to do is to flip the vinyl, over and over again. Like being trapped on the surface of a Möbius strip, if you excuse the cliché. The sounds are coated in such a strange magical shimmer, it's almost impossible to stop listening. Some of David Jackman's work might serve as superficial reference points, something like Up from Zero or Kammer (Organum) But whereas Jackman always strives for harmony (even at his noisiest), Dijkstra seems to take pleasure from minute disturbances and revolts, creating a sort of micro-harshness. One could even draw meaningful comparisons between this and The New Blockaders (especially Changez Les Blockeurs). L'opus Ch is not quite as noisy and hectic on the surface but somehow the definition of music (anti- or otherwise) is stretched as far back in both cases. Maybe TNB strive more for the immediate impact and Dijkstra takes detours to achieve the same outcome.
Very highly recommended, true echelon stuff. Immediately upon hearing this I spent almost 100 euros on this guys other releases... (Markus Metsälä)(Special interests)

I’ve only heard a handful of Raymond Dijkstra’s LPs and none of his expensive art editions, but Opus CH would definitely be my favourite. Most of the other music I’ve heard has been denser and a little noisier, with a certain alien approach that brought to mind both Topography Of The Lungs and the first New Blockaders LP. Opus CH is a slightly different pie. Whilst retaining the squeaky electronics, the acoustic sounds (a harmonium and maybe a horn) are brought to the fore, creating a heavy atmosphere that lasts from beginning to end. Opus CH also has more of a repetitive nature allowing the listener to luxuriate in the strange and compelling sound world. A powerful statement. Excellent production and pressing too. Go for it! (Scott Foust)(Swill radio)

Perhaps a lengthy introduction, but please bear with me. On Friday 27 March 2009 Extrapool Nijmegen staged another one of their "Audiotoop" evenings. The idea of Audiotoop is that artists from various disciplines create a radio play especially composed for the evening of the performance. This Audiotoop saw a performance of Edward Ka-spel and Silverman (of the Legendary Pink Dots) who staged spoken word pieces with added soundscapes created by Silverman. Quite wonderful. After their performance ASRA was next; a collaboration between Timo van Luijk and Raymond Dijkstra. I was really looking forward to their performance as I hold both musicians in high esteem. The stage was scattered with a lot of small acoustic instruments, a piano and a tuba. Together they performed the best live set I have heard in a long time. Beautiful, spacious music with respect for all individual sounds and both performers. The reason for this introduction is the fact that that night I bought the new Raymond Dijkstra LP L'opus CH. Another reason is that when I came home and played the record the following day, something of the magic of that performance appeared to be also etched in the grooves of this record. I have all Raymond Dijkstra LP's so I know his music well. For un-initiated ears his records might sound "all the same", but that is not the case. His music carefully and gradually develops and Dijkstra documents this process in his records. Interestingly enough this works well. L'opus CH (attractively packed in a handmade cover; made of old newspaper fragments stuck to the cover) is a new step in Dijkstra's development. The instruments used on this album include piano and tuba amongst his more regular set up. More relaxed, more open than ever this is one of my favorite records from the past few months. Not just a record for those "in the know", but certainly one for everyone who appreciates beautiful music. As only 50 copies were pressed, I suggest a certain haste in contacting his label Le Souffleur. (Freek Kinkelaar)(Vital)

© Raymond Dijkstra