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Raymond Dijkstra is best known for the many very limited releases he has to his name, but perhaps also for the various projects he's involved with, such as Astra, La Pupee Vivante, Nivriti Marga, or in the past with Ki Sync Pulse and Indra Karmuka. Late 2015 he surprised me with the addition of a new project, Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah, with whom he released a LP, 'Remembering In The Cosmic Manifestation', with Raymond (calling himself Le Ray back then; he's now back at calling himself by his real name) playing "Moog IIIp, mellotron and 'percüs'", which is perhaps something he also plays on the three pieces on this new cassette; there are no such things mentioned. On the label's website you can find a true story in which Dijkstra sells a harmonium to a young man, which turns out to the grandson of a previous tenant of the same house where Dijkstra now lives. That inspired this tape, which title is translated as 'feedback', which "attributes this idea of feedback loops within language", as it is called here. Whereas the previous Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah seemed to be very much inspired by the work of Florian Fricke's Popol Vuh, with a percussive sound and cosmic synthesizers that were part abstract and part melodic, the three pieces on this cassette are mostly abstract. It is more like abstract music to me, of sound resonating around in space, with collisions of objects and sounds going in a machine, and coming at the other, slightly transformed, going back in, coming out and you get my drift. There are no melodies here, not even vague ones; if this is also to be called 'cosmic' music, which I would easily do, this is how I imagine the earliest Kluster to have sounded, when Conrad Schnitzler was still a member; experimental, moody, noisy perhaps, improvised for sure and spooky. Especially the slightly distorted 'III' worked for me quite well. The scraping of metal plates reminded me of the other work of Dijkstra, but this time around it is embedded in a more orchestral synth pattern, a church organ on the verge of meltdown or something like that. I can see why this was released on cassette, as the nature of the music is probably a bit too extreme for wider consumption. Real fans of Dijkstra should pay attention, I think, as this is a bit different again and probably quite limited. (Frans de Waard)(Vital Weekly)



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)

Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthath (from here on, referred to as BB) is Le Ray, who turns out to be Raymond Dijkstra. No squeaking glass this time. Instead the two side long, two part suites concentrate on Moog and Mellotron explorations with (at times) heavily phased hand percussion. This sounds like a replication of a hippy Krautrock experiment from the late 60s and in some sense it is, as the sound is vaguely intact, but the atmosphere is turned on its head. Even at its most even tempered, the music seems a little dangerous and sinister, not at all filled with 'happy vibes'. Kosmisische Vereichtund (side B) is pretty scary with ebbing and flowing waves of atonality. Raymond's music is always of interest to me and this is another fine addition to his eccentric catalog. Nice gatefold sleeve as the cherry on the pie. (Scott Foust )(Swill Radio)


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)
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)


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)
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)

L'OPUS L'H (LP) (2010)

The most recent release by a Dutch artist very much locked into his own personal mission to express himself via non-musical objects as much as instruments such as the harmonium and tuba. Since the beginning of the decade, he has been releasing low-run vinyl and CDr editions of his work, often in special packaging via his own Le Souffleur imprint and wholly dedicated to a pure artistic approach rarely found these days. Over the two sides of this entry in Dijkstra’s Opus series of releases, we are treated to a hypnotic yet wheezy harmonium and all manner of mostly subtle and perfectly suited scrapes, clanks and screeches sourced, it seems like, from glass and wood. Organic and rich in movement, the entire listening experience is a mesmerising one that leaves one gasping for more. Limited to 300 also, this has desirability stamped all over it. Beautiful. (Richard Johnson)(Adverse Effect)

Dutch musician, painter and sculptor Raymond Dijkstra has released more than 40 vinyl records on his own Le Souffleur label, often in extremely limited art editions, but this is his first widely available release since his collaboration in 2003 with Timo van Luyck under the name Asra. It's no coincidence that van Luyck has worked with Nurse With Wound: here, Dijkstra pursues a mutual fascination with surrealism, working in an improvised context that he likens to the surrealists' practice of trance-like 'automatic writing'.
To achieve this, he confines himself to working within a rigidly narrow framework, constructing a tense and slightly sinister soundworld out of harmonium blurts, tuba snorts, agitated piano strings and the application of carefully controlled tape echo. Those muted knocks and rattles are highly reminiscent of Sun Ra's similarly echo-laden Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy, and it's worthwhile to note that L'opus L'H is the second title in Dijkstra's series The advantages Of Schizophrenia. Just as Ra was hinting at exploring an inner other-world, so Dijkstra is engaged in the therapeutic exploration of a highly personal internal universe. The sounds advance and recede in waves of urgency, like traces of intensifying and diminishing moods of alienation.
If, at times, it's gratingly unmusical it nevertheless grips the attention with it's grimly focussed monomania - like an unguarded and oddly vulnerable statement of identity. It comes, of course, as absolutely no surprise to discover that the second side of the record sounds exactly the same as the first. (Daniel Spicer)(The Wire)

Somebody asked me a difficult question, while looking at my record collection. "Which of the Raymond Dijkstra records is a must hear? His opus magnum?" I told my friend I didn't know, but that somehow I don't think Dijkstra would think along such lines, the high-light of his career. But true to the fact, if you are looking for an artist that switches his musical patterns then, Raymond Dijkstra is not your man. His new record, 'L'opus L'H', is no different than his old records. He plays tuba, organ, harmonium, glass objects, and all of that in a highly personal manner. Improvised, with the most minimal changes, no electronic processing of whatever kind. Just exactly as those… how many were there… ten at least… records before. But there is one difference: this is a record for every wallet. His older records are usually highly limited and therefore come with a price tag that is sometimes a big high. 'L'opus L'H' is however a record that comes in a bigger edition and no doubt reaches more people and why not? This is as a good as a place to get into the man's work. Not his opus magnum, but maintaining his quality. (Frans de Waard)(Vital)

Dutch artist/musician Raymond Dijkstra is one of the most radical and original composers around today. With a clear DIY ethos and self-imposed restrictions he has created a singular universe all by himself. In the past 7 years he has (self-)released countless LP's, 7" , 5" & 3" Vinyl releases in very tiny editions on his Le Souffleur label, all packaged in carefully edited artworks made by Dijkstra himself.
"L'Opus L'H" will be one of his first widely available releases since 2003's collaboration with Timo van Luijk (Af Ursin, Noise Maker's Fifes, In Camera, Nurse With Wound) as Asra.
Dijkstra is using a minimal set-up for all of his compositions: harmonium, scraping metal & glass, and, exclusively to his "Opus" cycle the addition of tuba, strings and audio effects. He's exploring these small parameters in an improvised and highly personal, often trance-like, ecstatic setting comparable to "Automatic Writing" or "Surrealist Automatism" techniques. By offensively restricting and repeating his methods he is able to profoundly explore the depths of the particular sounds and, not least, of the player/composer's psyche itself.(Dekorder)

DE SCHROEF (LP) (2009)

Raymond has been releasing odd and sometimes luxurious editions of his music for some years now. This is a rather bare bones release with a sheet of printed newspaper with the titles, etc. and the record in a heavy plastic bag. Dijkstra’s style, wheezy harmonium with an amplified and effected metal scratching on glass sound, is present, but broken up into short fragments followed by silence and a lock groove, then repeated. Five short pieces on each side. A perplexing release and a great art record. (Scott Foust)(Swill radio)

Perhaps our most beloved outsider in experimental music. Raymond Dijkstra never ceases to amaze me. 'De Schroef' ('the screw') is his biggest edition so far (I think), limited to 200 copies. That's not the only chance here. The music is ten pieces of maybe one minute to 90 seconds, ending in a silent lock groove and with lots of blank space in between those pieces. Meaning you have to get up to place the stylus into the next piece. Most odd. It doesn't end there. Each of the pieces seems to be a variation on the same theme. An organ/harmonium sound, scraping of glass; all done rapidly. But the proceedings are short and one is left to think its the same thing, but perhaps its not. That's the great thing about releases by Raymond Dijkstra. It leaves an endless amount of thinking about it. Is it same, or different? Why is it cut like this? Poetry. I think Dijkstra offers us sound poetry. Without words, but these ten poems are variations on a few sounds. It will surely annoy a few listeners, but no doubt the true fans of Dijkstra - count me in there - are amazed. Once again. The great outsider. (Frans de Waard)(Vital)

May 2009 release ; always glad to be able to offer a new raymond dijkstra work here @ mms ... in this case, a suite of 10 1-minute pieces (scored for his now-familiar orchestra of pump-organ & screeching metals) “separated by a lock groove and a blank (grooveless) space” ...
A spartan edition (just a printed sheet of recycled newspaper in a sleeve w/ the record) but the innate complexity of both the included music (as obfuscating as ever) & it’s presentation (each piece is an island, beginning & ending in silent locked grooves with no lead-in / lead-out to speak of ; manual needle placement is necessary to advance to each new segment) makes it worth all the while ... highly recommended !!!(Keith Fullerton Whitman Mimaroglu)

L'OPUS CH (LP) (2009)

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)

DE HAMER (LP) (2008)
DE LARF (LP) (2008)

Here, on two new records Dijkstra continues to explore his own sound empire a bit further, with again subtle differences. 'De Hamer' seems to be richer in sound than 'De Larf' for instance, which is more sparse. Whereas 'De Hamer' seems to be having organ/harmonium sounds, 'De Larf' has small points of silence and the sounds are more stereo separated. In both works the glass sounds are again the leading instrument. 'De Larf' is the more minimal record and asks more from the listener than 'De Hamer', as this is a highly concentrated play on sound versus silence, or silence and sound. True Dijkstra fans, and count me in, will love this total outsider music, free of any pressure or need for a change and will love the building of this extended catalogue of sound. For those who think 'heard one, heard all', these two records may bring nothing else, but then surely you didn't pay enough attention. I think they are great. (
Frans de Waard)(Vital)

DE GEDACHTE (LP Box) (2008)
DE GELOFTE (LP Box) (2008)

Of course I don't like using swear words, but I do use them, usually English ones. 'Fucking Hell' is what escaped my mouth when I opened the latest box by Le Souffleur, the label that almost entirely releases the music of its owner Raymond Dijkstra. Two identical carton boxes (which were, oddly enough, called 'cassettes' in the days of classical music) of which the top lid has red velvet with gold print. Inside athin piece of paper with the same information and design. One record is called 'De Gedachte' ('the thought') and one is 'De Gelofte' ('the vow'). That's about as far as details go these two records. Like with his previous works, there is a strong similarity between these two new records, and with the previous releases, but there is an important difference too. Dijkstra moves glass over glass, while a sort of harmonium plays sparse notes. That is the same as before, but the harmonium playing seems to be lesser than on the previous records. It places an accent and nothing much else. The glass-on-glass is also more sparse and there is a total lack of sound effects - before it was an old 'space echo' machine, here it's entirely gone. I must say that these perhaps minor changes sound like 'nothing' to you, but for me it marks some essential differences. This is almost total acoustic music, of carefully scraping, scratching and touching of surfaces. Like before there are great similarities between the two records now available, but I don't think, in an Organum twist or turn, Dijkstra is playing the same piece twice, like a strict repeat. More over, I think he actually does play the same piece twice, but that he executes the two pieces in slightly different ways - just as a classical piece of music is never the same thing twice. Panta Rhei is what moves Dijkstra - everything flows. His music is like a river. It seems the same, but it never really is. Another two, great pieces of vinyl, and a very consistent oeuvre is built here. (
Frans de Waard)(Vital)