¥715 starfish pool. the illusions of move - the golden cycle. june 2k1
|hide and seek|
|pitch dark/say anymore now|
|break the sea below|
all music recorded at borgerhout/belgium
soundrecordings by chantal yzermans at new york city/usa
soundrecordings by esther santoyo at mexico city/mexico
starfish pool is the electronic project of koen lybaert. it's an electronic project where rhythm will appear in, in all its aspects. since the very start it is the manipulation of loops - the basic idea of the way tracks were created as starfish pool. this concept that has nothing to do with the sound but more with the way that tracks are practically made. the illusions of move cycle is an idea that started end at the end of 1999. it all comes to colours. the first one called blue, the colour that reflects on sadness and dark feelings. blue reflects these feelings, so it was the right choice to start with the chapter blue as introducing this new cycle. the other four albums will be chapter red, black, white and yellow. red will go around passion, black will be heavy but soulful, white very open and minimal, and yellow bright. that's the general idea. these releases are planned within a time-period of two years. a mixture of dark ambient soundscapes, hypnotic drum patterns, an impressive stylistic range, emotional minimalism and timbral sophistication. harsh sound-structures unfold a new chapter for smooth atmospheric noise.
the third step in the cycle of the 'illusions of move' serie aswell as the first of the two cd's that come together with the five vinyls that will complete this serie. five tracks taken from the 'chapter blue and red' vinyl releases together with five previous unreleased tracks.
on this release there have been contributions made by two female vocalists (laura rebuttini and ivy smits) and two female soundartists (chantal yzermans and esther santoyo). this gives the release the concept of a new interpretation and not as a compilation. another step in the 'illusion of move' serie.
from driven ambient to minimal techno or breakbeat. a imaginary soundtrack with sweet female vocals and realistic soundrecordings taken from the streets of mexico city and new york. starfish pool's new release proves to be something of its own kind full of enjoyable and intelligent music. complex and soulful, this changing mood style can take our feelings and mind into sad, joyfull or dark atmospheres. with a general urban feeling worked out in an intelligent way. the final step so far of starfish pool's work and something which fits well with the very high quality of the hymen releases.
equinoxe ausgabe 16
eine echte entdeckung für mich, etwas wirklich erfrischendes, ein fantastischer cocktail mit wohlschmeckenden zutaten elektronischer couleur. starfish pool bewegen sich im dunstkreis smoother, düsterer, chilliger, ambienter, blubbernder, trippiger, hypnotischer wabersounds, die teilweise durch melancholisch-mystische female vocals ergänzt und bereichert werden. abgesehen von mir nicht ganz so gut gefallendem, etwas nervösem zweiten stück reibt sich hier ein schmankerl ans nächste und zieht einen unwiderstehlich in einen sog feuchtwarmer gefühle hinein, einen strudel voller ekstatischer verzückung und entrückung. ein sahnestückchen moderner elektronik, das sogar die schon sehr gute neue download meiner meinung nach übertrifft! (2xr)
side-line no.36 july-august-september 2001
in his planned series of 5 vinyl releases and two cds dedicated to different colors, starfish pool is progressing quickly. two 12"s have already surfaced, ('blue' and 'red'). this release is now the first on digital medium and combines five tracks from 'red' and 'blue' with five unreleased tracks. after 'black', 'yellow' and 'white' come out in the next year, another cd will complete the ambitious project. 'the golden cycle' opens yet another chapter of his sparsely textured music in which he is experimenting with female vocals and concrete recordings of street noises in mexico city and new york. the emphasis on subtle rhythms and minimalistic ambient prevails, but his warm soundscapes receive an almost organic touch and cinematic feel. the human element lends soulfulness to the moody tracks which are, as always, driven by rhythmic prerogatives. surprisingly lush and reverberant tracks despite the electronically reductive approach. >from dark to naive, koen lybaert's music always manages to captivate and slow down the inner clock. time and again i lose myself in his concoctions of timbre and rhythm. (ttm)
orkus nr.09 september 2001
der konzept-zyklus illusions of move des belgischen projekts starfish pool hat seine wurzeln bereits im jahr 1999. damals begann klangtüftler koen lybaert, unter diesem namen im zusammenhang mit einer farbe bestimmte gefühlswelten musikalisch auszudrücken. zwei veröffentlichungen mit den titel illusions of move - chapter blue und illusions of move - chapter red eröffneten den farbigen reigen auf vinyl, und das vorliegende album bildet sozusagen mit fünf track dieser werke und fünf neuen stücken das digitale bindeglied zwischen vergangenheit und zukunft. wie zuvor bedient sich auch die goldene ausgabe der bewegungsillusionen eine tiefgründigen mischung aus sphärischen dark ambient-landschaften, monotonen rhythmusmustern und geräuschcollagen, die dieses mal dank zweier wirklich guter gastsängerinnen sogar bisweilen in heavenly voices- oder trip-hop-gefilde eintauchen. im gegensatz zu vielen anderen ambient-künstlern bleibt starfish pool durch den einsatz von harmonischen anteilen und melodiefragmenten stets sehr zugänglich. wer sich auf einem entspannenden meer aus klang in bester electronica-manier treiben lassen möchte, liegt mit dieser cd buchstäblich goldrichtig. (alexander maciol)
black #24 sommer 2001
in seiner geplanten reihe von fünf vinyl veröffentlichungen und zwei
cds, die sich verschiedenen farben widmen, geht starfish pool schnell voran.
zwei 12"s sind schon draußen ("blue" und "red"),
und diese cd ist das erste digitale medium, das fünf tracks von "red"
und "blue", sowie fünf unveröffentlichte tracks kombiniert.
so bald "black", "yellow" und "white" im nächsten
jahr erscheint, wird eine weitere cd die ambitionierte reihe verschiedener stile
und stimmungen abschließen. "the golden cycle" eröffnet
nun ein weiteres kapitel in seiner spärlich texturierten musik, die diesmal
mit weiblichen stimmen und orginalaufnahmen von den straßen in mexico
city und new york experimentiert. der schwerpunkt subtile rhythmen und minimalistischer
ambient bleibt bestehen, aber seine warmen klanglandschaften erfahren einen
fast organischen anstrich und filmische aura. das menschliche element verleiht
den stimmungsgetragenen tracks seele, auch wenn sie wie immer rhythmischen prioritäten
folgen. trotz reduzierter herangehensweise an die elektronik sind es überraschend
üppige und widerhallende stücke geworden. rangierend von dunkel bis
naiv, versteht es
koen lybaerts musik immer zu verzaubern und die innere uhr zu verlangsamen. ich verliere mich immer wieder aufs neue in seinen verkettungen aus timbre und rhythmus. (tô)
amg expert review: part of a series of titles under the illusions of move rubric, the golden cycle continues lybaert's dual fascination with rhythm and, for this sequence in particular, color. the golden cycle itself features lybaert working mainly with two collaborators, chantal yzermans in new york city and esther santoyo in mexico city, both of whom contribute found sound recordings. rather than aiming at a consistent fourth world style of avant-garde jazz/electronics, for all the city themes and occasional explorations of darker sonics, lybaert creates some fine variety, with serener numbers suggesting the early-'90s ambient techno of biosphere and similar acts. nothing is in-your-face or explosive, neither is it explicitly doom-laden in overall approach - subtlety is the key here, both in music and in singing. the singing, mostly by laura rebutinni and ivy smits- both have attractive voices, gently smoky and passionate - softly echoes through their respective songs, gently verging between functioning as another instrument and a more direct clarity. the smits-sung "break the sea below" is the most conventional song in this regard, a bit of a torch song effort relocated into the future (and, to lybaert 's credit, sounding nothing like a portishead rip-off). "hide and seek" introduces a light, persistent loop, which then continues on the following "sinked," appearing in slightly different guises but otherwise making for a gently meditative musical core, the more so because it's a synth-tone loop rather than, say, a breakbeat. where lybaert does introduce direct percussion beats, again the effect is more implied instead of slammed out of the speakers, the combination of cylical melodies and backgrounds emphasizing the rhythm as much as the drum sounds. 2001 may seem a bit early for the 1993 electronic revival in the end, but starfish pool make a good case for such a thing here. (ned raggett)
when i first started listening to this album i thought "oh, that's just like frank tovey and boyd rice's 'easy listening for the hard of hearing'" then i thought that it sounded a bit like a lighter coil. after a while i thought of future sound of london, and then the klinik. of course, i realised that with such diverse reference points it has to be more starfish pool than anything else. i'm still stuck with a feeling that it sounds like the klinik, or at least something they could have done. it's more ambient of course and when there are vocalisations it's performed by women, two women in fact, laura rebuttini and ivy smits. both have very nice voices and perfectly executed phrasing all neatly intertwined with the music. it's hard to pick favourite tracks since i feel that this album is complete, or the tracks complete one another, though the song that most reminds me of the klinik is track nine "mexican escape". i feel that if i take out one track i destroy the whole therefore i can't give you favourites, and i don't feel i have to since all songs are more or less equal, just as good i mean. now the music is ambient, but with its roots not as much in ambient techno as in ambient industrial e.g. coil, throbbing gristle/psychic tv, 400 blows, hula, early delerium, test department, the hafler trio and so on. there is, i think, always an underlying threat in the music almost shadow-like urging you to spend the next hour in introspective "retreat", urging you to face your own shadows lurking within. or am i being pretentious now? if i am, i apologise because this album is definitely not pretentious, just soothing and at times necessary.
irgendwo zwischen dem dreiundzwanzigsten und dem vierundzwanzigsten rippenbogen des klangabsorbmonsters, welches in meinem gehörgang lebt, liegt sein herz. wie es schlägt, so klingt es in mir. an genau dieser stelle befindet sich, neben dem selbsterhaltenden pumpgetriebe auch die seelenkammer. hier unten, das jochbein nur noch als verblassende erinnerung unweit des vergessens, entsteht so etwas die romantik der klings'n'klonks. sollte es außerhalb der gradlinigen digitalschwelle eine lebensform geben, die sich von eben jenen digitalen strömungen zu nähren weiß, so findet man sie mit sicherheit unter einsatz der "illusions of moves - the golden cycle". starfish pool schafft ein universum an romantik, dem sich diverse ingredienzien aus dem umfangreichen giftschrank der digitalen hexenmeister zugrunde legen lassen. so mag es sein, dass die kleinen herzklappen in meinem gehörgang sich schon allein aus reiner erinnerungsfreude zu einem übermaß an bewegung entschließen. bilder, die sich mit leidenschaft entfalten erzählen von biosphere, aphex twin, autechre und tortoise. von patrick pulsinger und jeff mills ebenso, wie von den frühen pink floyd. und zwischen all diesen bildern erzählt es die eigene geschichte. diese liegt irgendwo zwischen new york und mexico city. hier die eine seite, als gratwanderung zwischen ambient minimal techno und breaks und da die elemente, die mit dem gesang zweier frauen die romantik als festen bestandteil des ganzen verbindet. dennoch weigert sich das kleine klangabsorbmonster hier ein gefühl von kitsch entstehen zu lassen: vielmehr eine sättigende form der erinnerungswürdigen digitalanalogmischung.
after a long period of silence substanz t resurfaced on hymen with "tripped
experiences." this album is technically the second full-length since release
of "intersolar" back in 1997. this album was an amazing exploration
of dark complex trance, that even now remains one of the best albums in this
genre. his other trance efforts - "essential trance mixes" and "sirius
b kontakt" were stylistically similar to "intersolar," yet a
little "lighter"-sounding. substanz t appeared a few times as remixer
for renowned industrial projects, and finally he got a whole disk to himself
on "electronic lust v2" sampler.
"tripped experiences" falls somewhere in between "hypnotizing low vibrating frequencies" off "electronic lust v2" and his trance efforts. if you slowed down his trance rhythms, added a little more structure to his ambient works, the result would probably be very close to "tripped experiences." however from the very first moments something appeared to be missing from this album that i could not exactly place. i guess i was expecting something along the lines of "intersolar," and at first i failed to see any substance on this album; it appeared to be overly amorphous, unstructured, and simply too "generic"-sounding. but at the same time there was something in it that almost every night for a few weeks in a row made me play this cd again and again. at some point this strange addiction called for some analysis, and i guess the best i can come up with is the atmosphere that the band creates that is both relaxed and at the same time has vibrating subtle intensity that keeps you glued to the headphones. sound textures on every song are a combineationof deep brooding basslines and simple yet very efficient technoid percussion. it develops slowly (referencing its trance past?), evolving and developing. distant strings and very sci-fi sounds find their way through the sound layers and before you know it, you are immersed in the same atmosphere that "intersolar" had, but transformed, slowed down and mutated to the strange detached state. it features a lot of technoid elements (i guess hymen *is* a right label for this album) that you might find in traditional techno, but on this album they are used in a completely different way contributing to overall atmosphere. after you listen to the album for a few times, you start noticing all the subtle details that build up in every track - from strange swirling noises, to gentle key progressions; from deep orchestrated movements to rolling percussion textures, reminding me of "intersolar". the sound is very spacey, fluid; they build up similar to your normal trance track, but at the same time it is not technically trance - it is deeper, slower, more profound and diverse. it toys with atonal strings, slowly building melodies, occasional exotic touch. on a few tracks it even features disembodied vocals that only enhances the atmosphere. once again substanz t managed to build an amazing deep atmosphere, that perfectly matches hymen's profile. it is probably one of the most interesting combination of ambient and technoid rhythms. the only comparable atmosphere was created by early xingu hill on their nova zembla releases. my only recommendation for this release will be a good set of headphones and your undivided attention for a few minutes until you fully get immersed into the album's atmosphere.
recycle your ears
the "illusions of move" series by starfish pool is going to be a huge piece of work once it will reach its completion. planned to be released over two years, five vinyls and two cds will constitute starfish pool interpretation of colours. after the blue and red chapter, here comes the first cd, who feature five tracks from these two 12" and five new ones. magnificiently packaged (am i the only one who noticed that stefan alt has begun this year to real human subject for his designs?), this cd is a highly profound and addictive thing. and the surprise is that "the golden cycle" sounds, paradoxically, very different from the blue and red chapters. even though half of the tracks are taken from these discs, the fact that the "blue" tracks are very poetic and flowing, the "red" one more minimal techno-id provides some diversity, which is re-inforced by the main surprise on this cd, the voices of two female vocalist (one from new york city and the other one from mexico). this singing make of the new track something completely different from what starfish pool used to offer us, and leaning far more toward his work in llips. may it be real "songs" or just choir-like things ("arised"), the tracks on this disc are really more than the very flowing music i was expecting from starfish pool (and that is to be heard, for example, on his cd on daft). more "broken" but more poetic, the music stays electronic but goes more in the background, as the voices are on the forefront on the songs. the tones are still gentle, the beats are still small but well placed, but the whole thing has again gained in poetry and deepness with the addition of this "human aspect". all in all, if "passing by" (from the "chapter blue" 12") stays my favorite track on the disc, this cd brings something new to the whole cycle, and maybe introduces a new dimension that will be developped in the next chapter. time will tell how starfish pool will evolve, and if it will stay this very melodic and subtle techno act it used to be, or if koen lybaert's solo project will get even closer to the accoustic music of llips. anyway, this is a recommended cd, that is all the more mandatory if you haven't got the 12" yet. (nicolas)
ahhh, categories. i have played with them in reviews past, and it's appropriate here, i think. starfish pool... i.a.m.? intelligent ambient music? hmmnn... traditionally, i have been stunningly underwhelmed by the material on hymen records. starfish pool have shattered this tradition with a beautifully catchy release, apparently part of a series of releases designed to be heard together. the 'illusions of move' series has followed color scales, with 'the blue cycle' being the first, and 'the golden cycle' being the latest. (at least, i think that's the basic idea... the press release is less than informative having been written by someone boasting less-than-adroit esl skills...) the author of starfish pool, koen lybaert, has used a variety of field recordings from the streets of mexico city and new york city to create the 'golden cycle', and embellished on the concepts with the vocals of laura rebuttini and ivy smits. 'the golden cycle' is evocative, even hypnotic, bringing to mind jean michelle jarre's work. no easy task, yet deftly executed. not as dark and brooding as i usually like my ambient, yet not so 'fluffypeaceandlove' as new age-styled ambient. part soundscape, part meditational background music, part ambient experimentalism, starfish pool is a very enjoyable project. i would highly recommend this to fans of experimentalist ambient music. i.a.m. indeed.
outburn issue january 2002
koen lybaert is one of those artists who, upon first hearing said artists' work (for me, the phenomenal rituals for the dying 10" and cd), one realizes here is a musician, a sound sculptor, who knows what he is doing. no questions asked, just confirmation and the joy re-instilled with each subsequent release. illusions of move-the golden cycle is the first of two cds corresponding with five lps, all dealing with the sonic impressions left by colors; the music here gathers five tracks from the blue (melancholy, dark ruminations) and red (passion) cycles, as well as five previously unreleased tracks. additionally, two female vocalists (laura rebuttini and ivy smits) and two female 'soundartists' (chantal yzermans and esther santoyo) lend major input to the final results. rhythm is the key, but not always the obvious crux, as some of the tracks cater to a more languid, dreamy disposition. scattered vocal debris and sparse, wavering synths resonate with a sensation like displaced trepidation during "wonder/mental slowed," while a sonar blip pulse trudges insistently along; the mood escalates with supreme precision as the track unfolds. jaunty percussion unravels during "pitch dark/ say anymore now," the transparent synths coating the wispy female vocals in a skin of never touched solitude. the convoluted, concentrated thump of percussive intensity during "passing by" is offset by mangled electronics that surge and swell, raspy exhalations that lead into a sample-laden finale. illusions of move-the golden cycle is a delectable treat that should be savored, almost to the point of greediness; a drowsy secret told at 2:00 a.m. that reveals too much, and yet hints at so much more. (jc smith)
starfish pool website
starfish pool. discography 2k1
cd. chill out 'n confused. sep '94. kk records
12". restless. jan '95. kk records
12". cool for lovers. mar '95. kk records
cd/2lp. amplified tones. apr '95. kk records
12". offday remixes. nov '95. kk records
cd/lp. interference 96. apr '96. kk records
12". abstract no two ep. nov '96. respect wax
cd. dante's carnival. apr '97. silver usa
cd. remixed. nov '97. silver recordings
12". remixed. nov '97. respect wax
cd/10". rituals for the dying. apr '99. u-cover records / conspiracy records
cd. kinetic. jun '99. daft records
lp. illusions of move - chapter blue. feb '00. hymen
7". touch / retouch (- versus quetzal). may '00. conspiracy records
12". lymph one (- meets various artists). jul '00. lymph ltd.
cd. sweetwater (- versus llips.). sep '00. u-cover records
12". lymph two (- meets various artists). sep '00. lymph ltd.
12". lymph three (- meets various artists). sep '00. lymph ltd.
12". lymph four (- meets various artists). nov '00. lymph ltd.
lp. illusions of move - chapter red. feb '01. hymen
"my very first influences are from the late 70's. i loved kraftwerk and the abstract work of early pink floyd. i have enjoyed the hard rock collection of my oldest brother and the classical collection of my father. but soon discovered the eighties with zoviet france, throbbing grissle, test dept., glenn branca, einstursende neubauten, cure, sonic youth, can, butthole surfers, big black...in the nineties the klf cd chill out and the first two biosphere albums, together with a live-gig of psychick warriors of gia, left me convinced that this was the music i really wanted to discover. autechre, patrick pulsinger, plastikman, aphex twin, kirlian, maurizio, squarepusher, unit moebius, mike ink, panasonic, jeff mills, pwog, thomas brinkmann, are a few of the names of those who could been seen as those who opened up my ears. besides that, i have kept my interest for the more guitar-orientated music. godspeed you black emperor!, sophia, evil superstars, tortoise, barkmarket, smog, built to spill, jon spencer blues explosion, etc... gave me the needed balance in my interests. lately i felt for the sound of kit clayton, l'usine and llips. to me those really do it."