Got a nice little package in the mail the other day from Belgium based musician Stijn Hüwels. His nom-de-plume is Steiner and this handmade cdr (with a striking Polaroid on the cover) represents the extent of his musical output thus far. His website stresses that he's not in a hurry, which is refreshing to read when considering our current hyperbolic era of music consumption.
Clocking in a just over 26 minutes, Untitled is rather short. Despite its ephemerality, Hüwels manages to scribble down a map as to where the composition is supposed to transport us, or perhaps, where it could have transported us had the piece been an hour instead of just shy of half that.
Untitled is... nice. It's nice in the same way that a flower bed is nice, or a sunny day. That's not to say this is bubble gummy, it deserves more credit than that. I get a clear sense of all the musical elements working together, and yes, at any given moment they do always work well together. I don't, however, get a clear sense of purpose in the composition, like where the flow of sound is going, or where it's coming from. It just sort of fades in and fades out, leaving me with a certain sense of longing, like the feeling I get right after listening to a really good excerpt from a forthcoming album I'm anticipating. It's that hard hitting feeling of "I need more."
The work succeeds in its expert sense of timing and ability to evoke all the feelings that the best practitioners of this sort of serene soundscaping evoke. The most powerful of all probably being a steeped sense of melancholia with just a hint of nostalgia. The music is light but every note seems to resonate heavily with these emotions. Clearly, Hüwels is a maker who cares about his art. I look forward to hearing more defined work from Steiner in the future.Untitled by _steiner
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