ExtraNoVocal (new album – out May 2018)

‘ExtraNoVocal’ is the twelfth album by Dutch musician Ewald Kegel, to be released in May 2018.

The album is a collection of instrumental (hence ‘no vocal’) music recorded between 1987 and 2018. ‘Extra’ refers to the fact that these tracks have not been released before and can be considered as an addendum to regular releases.

The album contains a variety of styles ranging from minimalistic music and piano music (“Work in Progress”, “Sombre”, “Finale”) to full fledged, complex songs like newly recorded tracks “Please Make Me Wonder” and “Another World”. Also there are improvised tunes like ‘Mine’ and the chaotic rock of “Unintentional”. The album is centred around 80’s and early 90’s electronic music influenced by the then popular Yamaha FM synthesis. The album forms a pair with a previous album “Extra Vocal”, an earlier 2018 release. “Extra Vocal” had a similar approach, which is also expressed in the comparable album cover design. In the case of ExtraVocal the album obviously vocal tracks.

The album opens with ‘Please Make Me Wonder’ , an original version of the song was composed and recorded in 1985. The title refers to the Beach Boys song ‘Please Let Me Wonder’. By the time of the original recording of the song the producer noticed that some of the melodic elements sounded similar to the Beach Boys song ‘Please Let me Wonder’ from the mid 1960s.

The song can be listened to on YouTube:

The album weighs in on a rediscovered VHS tape in 2015. That tape contained mixes of songs that mostly were considered to be lost or forgotten (‘Xandra’ – ca. 1988, ‘Party Jam’ – ca. 1988, ‘Rush Hour’ – ca. 1988, ‘Hard Beat’ – ca. 1987). Many of these compositions were written originally for use in audiovisual productions. ‘Hard Beat’ was composed for a 1987 BMW commercial. The late 1980 songs on this album represent the introduction of the computer (Atari 1040STf) in the recording studio. Sampling became a common place in the music as is clearly audible on a track like ‘Hard Beat’.

‘Extra NoVocal’ also contains two tracks from the never released album ‘Synthesizer’ (2007): ‘Yess Delight’ and ‘Finale’. Other tracks on the album ‘Kirana’ – 2014, ‘Disco Daze’ – ca. 1992, ‘Mine’ – 2008, ‘Unintentional’ – ca. 2009, ‘Back 2 the 80s’ – 2011, ‘Sombre’ – 2014 and ‘The Last Supper’ – 2016 contain edits, remixes and added recording made in 2018. Another -more electronic sounding- version of ’Mine’ was originally released in 2008 on the ‘Magic Colors’ EP. The acoustic version on ‘Extra NoVocal’ is the original recording of the song.

Mac DeMarco, Tivoli Utrecht Nov. 29 2017 Utrecht

I learned to know the music from Mac DeMarco around the time his second album ‘2’ was released. It sounded low-fi mainly because he was using an old Tascam 8-track recorder with lots of wow and flutter. Nevertheless the effect of Mac playing all instruments by himself combined with the catchy melodies and low-fi sound resulted in a pleasant listening experience with songs like ‘Ode to Viceroy‘ and ‘My Kind of Woman‘. Mac could effortlessly continue this pleasant mix on his next album with his unmistakably best known song ‘Chamber of Reflection‘.

All of these songs were of course present in the playlist of his concert in Utrecht. Before Mac would hit the stage there was the supporting act Montero that painted nice psychedelic landscapes with Beatlesque song structures.

So at 9 PM it was time for Mac deMarco. It was the first time for me to see him play live and from what I had read things could become quite outrageous at his concerts. None of this happened in Utrecht, besides his somewhat distorted and clumsy way of movements and some beer drinking everything remained normal. He excused for having lost his voice for ‘hanging out too late’ and asked the crowd to sing the vocals on ‘My Kind of Woman’. It took some time before the public really connected with what was going on stage but when ‘Freaking Out the Neighbourhood’ was started the atmosphere changed and the first stage climbers and crowd surfers were noticed.

The set of regular songs was not too long and contained a nice anthology from all of his albums. One of the highlights for me was ‘My Old Man’ that got some minimalistic and jazzy treatment.  Because most of Mac’s songs are quite laid back (and the trend is getting more and more noticeable with each new album) the public had to wait until the ‘official’ playlist was done before the adequate band set in with a set of their favourite songs. This set covered more heavy and up tempo songs like ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’, ‘Californication’, ‘Run With the Devil’. Mac often took place behind the drum set letting his drummer take care of the vocal duties.