BRANDING_FM-poster-WORDPRESSYou walk into a jewelry store. What music would you expect to be playing? Same question, but now for a pie or DIY store. How does a bra or drinking a latte macchiato translate to music? 

Maybe you are pondering this for the very first time. But out there exists a whole industry around creating and imposing identities for brands and stores through music. It is used extensively by retail chains to give personality to their brand, to differentiate themselves from the competition and in trying to influence your behavior.

BRANDING_FM-schema-WORDPRESSUnder the moniker BRANDING FM I’m doing extensive field research, harassing marketing departments and delving into the theory of underlying mechanics – both cognitive music science and of the sales mumbo-jumbo kind. And I’m having a blast. I love music. Not only making it myself, but also how music affects the world. How specific sounds can trigger specific associations, how you can make people talk in a different cadence when subtly changing the background music, but also how a song will get a pair of jeans to give you the impression it will increase your chances at job interviews or at having intercourse.
// FYI: during ovulation women prefer more complex music
I devised a classification system in which I distilled the 6 most archetypal musical flavours in branding identity and how they relate to each other. And a bit further down you’ll find Retail Roulette, a playlist employing this system to turn every environment into a schizophrenic guessing game. // Or jump directly to it

The 3 outside categories

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN04Silence is golden – Retailers without in-store music are to be found at the low-budget and high end of the spectrum. Either stores like Kruidvat and Aldi that benefit from being seen as low-priced, because no music means no money spent on music branding strategies and licencing fees. Or exclusive brands that are too ‘classy’ or ‘authentic’ to be perceived as trying to influence behavior. Certain designer brands and jewelers for example.
     // Funny enough the Schaap & Citroen jewel store proudly plays deep house.

My Thang – When stores play music of their choice they fall into this category. This can be using CD’s, mp3’s or using Spotify. Some stores just don’t care, but mostly these are smaller non-chain shops that benefit from having a headstrong, independent or underground image. Like hipster barbershops or smaller record stores. They play whatever they seem fit. Keeping track of music played and copyright fee administration will be quite the hassle.
Some stores want to bypass copyright organisations out of principle. Their options include royalty free music, creative commons licensed music or unregistered bands.
     // HAP is a nice local Fair & Vegan Food boutique. They just started their shop and contacted me on how to have a music strategy that keeps with their principles, is fair to musicians, yet would involve music that is pleasant and in line with their business. Again, this too is an immense time consuming task, not helped by some very murky legislation and guilty-until-proven-otherwise fining tactics of copyright collectives. And officially Spotify may not be used in a business context. HAP got me thinking. To be continued on this one..

Radio Ga Ga – Stores like Wibra and Zeeman just put on the radio. Sky Radio in particular, or other channels lacking talking radio DJ’s. Entries in this category want to radiate an air of no nonsense and we-are-the-same-as-you. Yet radio has a tendency to broadcast commercials and radio station jingles.
     // So in a sense retailers pay remuneration to copyright collectives to fill their stores with the sound of potential competitors. – EDIT 10 march ’25: The personnel of Wibra stores are actually free to put on any radio station they want. The Wibra near you could have classical music playing.

The categories of Branding FM

Most retail chains use playlists tailored more or less to their needs. Made internally, outsourced, or subscribing to a business music streaming service. The first 2 encompass the BRANDING FM archetypes, and are used in Retail Roulette. The last category can be a wildly meandering ride into maddening mediocrity or surging schizophrenia. This results in a rant so I’ll save it for the end of this article.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN02Internal – Big chains leaning on image and ‘feel’ mostly have a marketing department with internal music branding strategy. H&M and Victoria’s Secret take great pride in this and publish playlists on Spotify promoting their ‘flavour’. Starbucks even used to release records. De Tuinen have it easy: every store receives a monthly SD-card to freshen up the new age jukebox.
     // The last 2 years H&M’s music identity drastically shifted towards EDM-pop. This shows a transition from a more progressive young-at-heart store to a more broadly appealing place to which you can bring your girlfriend to choose what you should wear. Also: I consider Oren Lavie’s Her Morning Elegance to be the ultimate Starbucks song.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN01External – In this category companies outsource the making of music playlists to external specialized businesses. For a fee stores periodically receive SD-cards or cd-r’s, or have a centralized music stream so in every store plays exactly the same. These playlists can go from very remiss to extremely intricate.
For most chains the music at least is dependent on season and if that chain is having a sale or not. Bijenkorf uses curiously edgy music. Hunkemöller could be selling the same bra as Victoria’s Secret, but while Hunkemöller uses music from the Starbucks archetype, Victoria’s Secret is all geared towards empowerment with an American sounding Single Ladies music palette. And Coolcat for example – with the target group being youngsters up to 18 years old – uses playlist that anticipate the time of day, adapting the flow of the music to school and party schedules.
     // A central streaming system could have it’s disadvantages. The Opposites does not only play in Dutch Coolcat stores, but also in the French ones. I wasn’t there when it happened but I can imagine French shoppers fearing a Nazi viking invasion. If it would be the other way around: the general French taste in music would turn every Dutch Coolcat into a coffeeshop.

BRANDING_FM-retailrouletteTHUMB2BRANDING FM presents:
Retail Roulette!

A playlist rotating between the 6 archetypes of BRANDING FM’s classification, with chunks of approx. 12 minutes each. Very useful to turn 1 environment into 6 or create a schizophrenic party. Can you guess them all?

spotify:user:weerthof:playlist:6nS55Mlrk9f9AyRem0EiOI

Ps: Retail Roulette premiered at Cafe Bel in the entry hall of Rotterdam Contemporary during Art Rotterdam 2015, colouring it’s entrance in alternating sonic contexts. Funny enough, Rotterdam Contemporary itself got some bad reviews, calling it drab or pedestrian. Could this subconsciously be because of Retail Roulette’s influence and the point in time when the reviewers entered? Because we all know, art people are unaware and defenseless when it comes to looking with their ears (wink smiley).

As promised, the last category resulting in a rant.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN03• Streaming subscription – A choice becoming more and more popular with retailers. It is cheap. You receive a box. With a knob. This knob mostly gives you three options: pop, chart and lounge. If you pay a bit more you can buy an extra setting. Like Vitamin Store did when they started with their juice bar formula, now being stuck with rather inappropriate music. And if you pay more than a bit more you can get a setting ‘just for you’.
It is cheap because you don’t have to pay to copyright collectives anymore. As a middle sized retail chain this could save up to E17.000,-. This could very well be a good thing. Yet this is possible by using the cheapest and/or most generic music around. Resulting in very inconsistent in-store music, or music so mediocre it will actually stand out because of it. ANWB-stores stopped using it, and Hema also suddenly steered away from maddening muzak with their new shop formula. To make it worse, these streaming services sometimes get their music roster through publishing agencies that buy up royalty free or creative commons licenced music in bulk, abusing the good (maybe naive) intentions or deliberate reasons of musicians.
// I’ll try to come up with an explanation why it is popular anyway. The music market, distribution and music consumption is rapidly changing, and so I notice the role of music transforming too. The way people listen to music is changing, and music is changing along with it. On one side it is present everywhere and more easily available then ever before, so is been taken more for granted. Yet on the other hand people consume music with less patience, so new music accommodates this by becoming more generic. In my experience people are becoming – dare I say it – dumber music wise. So retailers choose for the least expensive solution that will get them whatever music in the shop without too much hassle.
     Becoming musically dumber isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes us less aware of-, and more susceptible to the intricate subconscious workings of music. Which could make music use even more effective and make in-store music employment an even more refined (and/or nasty) art. Yet these streaming services don’t even hone in on this. Being bold: I find it is lazy and degrading. Degrading to retailers, their customers and music producers. End of rant.


Weerthof & Frietboer challenge you. Find them all and win stuff! [edit: the hunt is over! Winners are Willem Zenhorst & René Genten. Congrats, hombres! Want to see the actual solution? Scroll to the bottom]

friethof
Dear Frietboerians & Weerthovians,

The new album Frietboer Remixed And Covered is out. For this album he invited a big bad list of bands /musicians /producers – including me – to reinterpret original Frietboer tracks. You can download the album for free here.

Cover-Front[1]Frietboer asked me to do his track Beetje Gek, in which he mashed together some of his favorite tracks. Inspired, I decided to reconstruct it by building a new Weerthof song out of as many as my old tracks as possible. This became Product. Dedicated to rough patches we both had, to Henk – a man who was very special to Frietboer, and to my father.

So to celebrate the future we hereby challenge you to spot all the references in Product. Can you find them all? You can WIN FABULOUS OMG PRICES! This is the Weertboer – Friethof Challenge. 

mixtape[1]What can you win?
1st prize – One of a kind Frietboer Mixtape – Homemade by the man himself, including quite some exclusive Frietboer tracks + the famed Out of Control limited edition wooden usb-stick by Weerthof
0001870273_10[1]
2nd prize
 The physical albums Hoi, Joyce & Erikjan, Nederwijk & Man met pijp

How does it work?
How many references to my older tracks can you spot in ProductweertboerfriethofThese references are both melodically and lyrically, and coming from the albums Hoi, Joyce & Erik Jan, Nederwijk & Man met pijp. A good place to start nosing about is the Weerthof Bandcamp page. – And extra bonus points if you can find the references in Frietboer’s original.

1) Like the Weerthof and share the Product video on your wall, and tag me (Weerthof) in the post  – 2) Send me a PM or email with your answer, naming all the tracks you think are included in Product.

Contest rules
Send in your answer before the 9th of June. 1 entry per person.

And remember: If you don’t pay for a product, you probably áre the product😉

Happy hunting!

┌( •o•)┘└(•o• )┐
Thijs & Michiel aka Frietboer & Weerthof

——

The solution!

Wat ik zeggen wou (Joyce & Erik Jan) – footpump organ starting @ 0.04, melody @ 0.35
Bruin (Hoi) – saxophone starting @ 0.51
Überhaupt (Hoi) – saxophone starting @ 1.24
Gat in de weg (Nederwijk) – referencing gnaoua-esque rhythm
Golem (Hoi) – referencing lyrics “drenkend in je mensengloed doe ik mij aan jou tegoed”, and referencing autotune doubling in verse
Wolkenkrabber (Joyce & Erik Jan) – referencing lyrics “in stukken maar toch niet alleen”
Kopje koffie kopje thee (Nederwijk) – referencing lyrics “kopje koffie kopje thee”
Mensenorgel (Joyce & Erik Jan) – referencing lyrics “bouw een lied uit je skelet, jij refrein en ik couplet”
Sweet like kerstkaart (Joyce & Erik Jan) – snare @ 1.41 & glitchy beat @ 2.12 remixed from trashbin, glass harmonica after breakdown
Kilimanjaro (Nederwijk) – referencing it’s main melodyline starting @ 1.09 & literally sampled in the interlude, remix of churchorgan piece (in the end part, in Kilimanjaro starting @ 5.52, returning in bonustrack Nieuwbouwwijk aan Zee, from Satie’s Messe des Pauvres)
Spoorstaafbreuk (Man met Pijp) – glitched strings throughout the whole song, starting @ 0.52, sampled and remixed from Dvorak’s Opus 22 – tempo di valse
– Grüezi concerto (Man met pijp) – strings right from the start, sampled and remixed from Projofjev’s violin concerto Ous 19 – moderato

Bonus points – Referencing Frietboer’s original ‘Beetje gek‘)

Dune – Million miles from home (main vocal melody in Product)
White town – Your woman, who in turn sampled it from Lew Stone. (used in Product too)
Sting – Englishman in New York (interlude) – not used in product, but should’ve been



 

A Dutch piece in the VPRO gids (real ink printed on real paper!) about our movie Chejv mej nü j angst (which was featured on VPROtv), the We are Citizens project in general, and our cooperation with Roma in Slovakia and the Netherlands. (2014, week 7, p. 30-31)

The article online

Bibberende chihuahua's bijten niet

Stack of dirty dishesMusic is like food and luckily I’m a cook and gourmand, not a food critic. So without objectivity or completeness this is the music that made me get out the cutlery. To savour, dissect, digest, discover and assimilate its inner ingredients and preparation. In short: the music that made my music.

• Weerthovian 13 of ’13

• 12 songs to sing out loud during the dishes

• Servitude: soundtracks 2013

• Music for eye-people: video

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• Weerthovian 13 of ’13 •

Being those artists and albums that I discovered this year and blew my mind (not with one song, but for the whole ride), fell on fertile soil, pried their way in my musical fermentation tank and had an impact on my own music-making in 2013.  (in no particular order)

└(•o• )┐┌(•o•)┘┌( •o•)┘

Dutch Uncles – Out of Touch in the Wild

So, you want to occupy the space-time continuum with audio waves. Than get on with it, spill the beans. Make music that isn’t scared to be poppy as hell or downright unlistenable when necessary. Music that tries to swoon me with deliciously constructed melodies, smart-ass self-conscious swagger and drool-inducing choice of sounds and instruments. Music that dictates with a middle finger up my arse which tools, studio-trickery (or lack thereof)  and means to an end it decides to use to tell its story. The funny thing is: this album actually fails to deliver.  Out of Touch in the Wild wants to be unruly and autonomous, with cheeky manoeuvres in every corner. At the same time it is meticulously constructed and is begging to be liked. It wants to be a misunderstood masterpiece but fluent hipster-pop at the same time. But this is actually what I really like about it. And it doesn’t try to hide its intentions, which makes it extra charming. Maybe it is music for musicians and I like it because I’m listening from a fellow-maker perspective. It may be a stinted effort but what you end up with is a delicious intermediate between Talking Heads and Cardiacs, filled to the brim with mightly solid tracks.

Igorrr – Hallelujah

Damn, making music is gooood. And listening to someone who is having a damn good time making music without mercy is damn goooooood. It was damn time someone FINALLY made this album.  Genres are for the weak. Igorrr is a deliciously refreshing and bloody breeze who understands baroque IS metal IS breakcore IS folklore IS every object or animal making sound IS muzak IS hell IS heaven, as long as you want it to be so, ask people to do what you cannot, be brilliant and at the same time work your ass off to make it consistent. And Uncle Igorrr did. Damn.

Matmos – The marriage of True Minds

Matmos are Kings in telling stories with structured sounds in time (= music), and show how the medium is capable of having a few dimensions extra. I’ve always enjoyed Matmos, but with The Marriage of True Minds they might have made their most wellrounded, well produced album yet. And even better: without sounding like tiresome intellectuals, and doing so without forcing it upon you. No conceptual crap, this is great great story telling.    — yet I’ve always felt their was a link missing, and then a few weeks ago (for how I didn’t know about them all this time is beyond me) these guys came into my view:

The Books – Well yeah, everything they ever did

Yep, the missing link was language. For language is just a form of sound. And nobody understands this better than The Books. I’ve always been searching which role language plays in my own music. After my language laden album HOI came the instrumental EP Out of Control, yet how does it all fit in the bigger picture..? And then The Books enter the stage. BAM. A whole discography filled with inspirational music from guys who gave language the place it deserves. As an integral part of music, not squirted on top of it. I haven’t devoured all their albums yet, instead I take my sweet time to digest it all. But enjoying everything they trow at me. Especially the subtle gentleness permeating though. Unlike the more rational Matmos, The Books seem to actually like humans.

Minotaur Shock – Maritime (2005) & Amateur Dramatics (2008)

Another one of them pretties I haven’t had the privilege of knowing until recently, and another one of them musicians who’s music to me is almost palpable. The infectious mix he creates with the contrast of electronics and dynamic acoustic instruments is homely and alienating at the same time. One of those albums that work for every season, and could be played in the morning as well as during the dead of night.  The way he lets sounds and instruments intact and breathe without too much trickery and programming in Maritime gives me a somewhat eerie yet warm and fuzzy feeling not much unlike Twin Peaks (nb: season 1!). The selfreleased Amateur Dramatics has a bit more kick to it, as if he thought ‘no more mister nice guy’. Like the darker side of Ratatat or the cozy danceable cousin of the band Fridge (the criminally unknown band Fridge that gave birth to Four Tet). Also the system he invented to let you pay per song, with a pricing system based on the amount of time, energy and frustration that went into all the individual songs, is flawed for being too taxing on the average music-consumer, but immensely sympathetic and recognizable for fellow musicians and producers in an age where music is rapidly becoming fastfood.  With his latest album Orchard I couldn’t feel the magic, but did suspect an ‘okay-I’ll-give-you-your-damn-hit-album’ sentiment (and who of us doens’t feel like this once in a while?). To cut things short: very sympathetic and inspirational music from a very sympathetic guy who deserves all our money.

Wild Wild Ambient Boys – We Don’t Rock

The label esc.rec., and more precisely the man behind the curtains Harco Rutgers, is one of my big heroes of 2013. But next to taking the risk of putting up with me, esc.rec. had a LOT of great releases this year. To pick my favorite: We don’t rock. Seemingly serene, meek and laidback. It could be this is Hidde van Schie and Jeroen S. Rozendaal’s solution to- and salvation from the loudness war. Quiet is the new loud. And the more silent you become, the more you hear. And when you actually listen, you can hear more is going on in this record than on a Christmas day at Disneyland. Soundscapes and fieldrecordings fluently glide into very solid pop-songs, and surprises lurk at every corner. A very well rounded album, both as a statement ánd as a good listen-adventure that planted quite some seeds in my mind.

Microwolf – You are the Everything

It seems I grew more quiet by the end of the year, and got more and more interested in fieldrecordings and acoustic spaces. And if Wild Wild Ambient Boys planted the seeds, Microwolf made them blossom in full glory. Benjamin van Vliet made an absolute gem of an album with this. Fragments or homemade folksongs and fieldrecordings made into one 18-minutes sound journey. Wild, still, pristine and distilled. Put on your headphones and travel along with Microwolf.

Stromae – 

Let’s go in a completely different direction: For the mouthwatering contrast of his sharp lyrics with smart yet phat hit-seeking missile music, his intellect combined with him (ab)using his underdog position and physique to the fullest and his phenomenal sense of promotion and buzz Stromae absolutely belongs on this list. As a Dutchman I’m a tad jealous we have to do with De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, while the Germans have Deichkind and the Belgians have Stromae. Already with ‘Alors on Danse’ in 2009 it was delicious to see it becoming a hit on Radio 538 and have breezer-gulping teens make out on this song, while being blissfully oblivious to the meaning of the song. √ kicks it up a notch, with the commercial circus in full swing yet Stromae doesn’t seem to be bothered. He knows what he’s doing and the music and lyrics doesn’t loose its edge, and even gets an extra smudge of swagger and grandeur. So we actually end up in the same territory where Dutch Uncles kicked off (who doesn’t like a list that prosaically goes full circle?). I particularly enjoy Papaoutai and its video, but the whole record is solid and even effectively uses DJ Tiesto- & Gigi d’Agostino-like pathos when necessary. This is a guy who deserves every critical and commercial acclaim he gets.

Other greatness to complete the 13:
• Rosa Ensemble – Landschap der Nederlandse Volksmuziek (deel 2)
Best life show I heard (saw) in a looooong time, brilliance + craftmanship + showmanship + not giving a damn =
• DJ Clap – Best Night Ever
Dance to THIS, n00bs
• Palmbomen – Night Flight Europa
Oj, this album had me both puzzling for weeks with tape-recorders and plugins, ánd break my plates
• Kettel – Ibb & Obb OST
Game soundtracks really are the concertos and symphonies of today
• Frietboer – Auntie Bass
Phatness distilled to a crisp

Honorary mentions:
• AC Berkheimer – Equation of State
• Gluid – The Metamorphosis EP
• Human Pyramids – Planet Shhh!
• Paul Kalkenbrenner – Berlin Calling (2008)
• Brandt Bauer Frick – Miami
• Secret Chiefs 3 – Book of Souls
• Public Service Broadcasting – Inform Educate Entertain

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• 12 songs to sing out loud during the dishes •

Being the songs that nestled themselves in my brain with their hooks and earworms, haunted me throughout the year and ended up being – with or without reason – my personal ‘hit singles’ of 2013. Making a good self-containing song is maybe even more difficult than a solid album. And albums are a dying breed in this internet-era of music-saturated people, so we’d better hone our hit-making skills..  (in order)

└(•o• )┐┌(•o•)┘┌( •o•)┘

Mechanical DuckDie Liebe Farbe (Die Schöne Müllerin)

Where this one came from I don’t know, but it turned out to be THE biggest earworm of 2013. Not only me, but also my girl was infected. Singing it during the dishes, riding our bikes, walking in some random city, during consumation, this song stalked us wherever we went. We went to bed with it, and awoke with it sitting on a pillow grinning it’s big drugdealer smile. This dawdling re-interpretation of Franz Schubert’s whiny eternal-virgin complex is like a jazzy Portishead and will nestle itself in your brain, heart and soul. Forever. And you will be happy it did.

PalmbomenMustard (Night Flight Europa)

The whole album is a big inspirational pleasure (to hell with vinyl, tape FTW!), but you don’t want to know how much pleasure I got from yelping this song along. Preferably as out of tune way as possible, while doing drunken stompy dances. I actually broke some plates over this one.

VisitorsWish upon a star (as yet unreleased)
Out of the blue Bertin van Vliet (mister Visitor himself) delivers an absurdly addictive track. A bassline I want to live in, and a melody that was stuck in my head for eternity. Lesson: less is more.

DJ StonebridgeThe Fear (Lily Allen Club remix)
Who needs depressive music, when happy music can do the same twice as effective? The original already was a massively well made and deliciously sadistic delivered song, but DJ Stonebridge brings out it’s most villainous sadistically tooth-glaze shattering side, gives it an extra-nose candy sheen and beats Stromae at his own game. I don’t care it wasn’t made in 2013, for it punched me in the face in 2013. When I heard this one, I KNEW it had to be part of the documentary ‘Chejv mej nü j angst‘, which Rieneke de Vries an I made about the hugely ambiguous subject of Roma youngsters in Slovakia. (mister Stonebridge and I will both act dumb when you ask us about it, but let’s just say; give him your money)

Maliko – Mirage (as yet unreleased)
This could just as well be on top of my Soundtrack list, but this is not a soundtrack of a movie or game, it is the soundtrack of the searing hot summer. All means are used to make this track as arid and feverishly torrid as possible. And at the same time being very listenable and making the new Boards of Canada seem pale in comparison. I listened to Mirage a LOT this year while doing weird little dances.

Mara & The Pillows – Thin Red Lines (Pinata Vandals Remix)
Powerballad! A real one. Let them instruments blare and vocal-chords rip. Not only did Mara make an infectious hit, but the Pinata Vandals got out it’s fullest potential.  Celine Dion 2.0!

PlugsMolecule Man (Self titled)
Another one not from 2013 but this deserves a place on this list: great band, great album, great songs, great video’s, but signed by a label that utterly fails at distribution for dummies and should be decapitated for incompetence. (please direct all your boorish rage here) Plugs self-titled album makes Atoms for Piece want to crawl in a corner out of shame they didn’t make this album, makes us remember why Gorillaz was such a good band and paves the way for Blond Redhead’s coronation. Oj, the whole album is a gem but this is one of those songs I want to be buried with..

Hunter ComplexHours (Heat)
Just the starting notes alone make me want to forcefeed Adlib Gold soundcards to my computer. Arpeggio’s that make me long for a future filled with Bomfunk MC’s. Hours is a song that gives shoegaze a pair of long needed testicles, and finely walks the line between moist pathos and dry bleak ennui (haha, finally managed to cram that word somewhere). Why be a crying nerd when you can be a crying nerd with a golden cane in a big pimpin’ speedboat?

Ligeti – Hungarian Rock
2013 was a year filled with a rekindled personal interest in modernism and constructivism in general, and Hungary in specific. A way too late discovery of Venetian Snares’ masterpiece Rossz csillag alatt született (my early album ‘Man met pijp’ bearing an uncanny yet unrefined resemblance), Igorrr’s double whammy in the form of ‘Hallelujah‘, the death of Gorecki and travels abroad made it all fell into place.  Hungarian Rock rocked my socks off.  The title, the energy, the detached smirk. The version of Elisabeth Chojnacka, the hottest harpichordist ever. The insanely fun barrel organ version. And this version with drums which gives it a beautifully sad and detached edge. You may like the piece or not, but it has had a huge influence on me personally. My song ‘Navels’ ows a big debt to mofo Ligeti.

Daniel SmitsSynchronicity (unreleased)
Fellow Bosschenaar Daniel Smits has a knack for distilling a song to it’s bare components, and if you would compare music-making to gastronomy Daniel would be a sober sushi chef. Very tasty and savory, yet not one ingredient too many. Spartan and to the point, yet with a lot of depth. While song-making and being caught in too much fluff, I found myself returning to this song a lot and caught myself off guard humming it in the most surprising circumstances.

BosminkTime to walk the earth (unreleased)
Soundcloud is a great place to discover music in the making. It is like being in an incubator together with your colleagues (at least, before the big overhaul, but I will not bore you with that story). This song by Bosmink Bryce Albright struck a chord in the period after my fathers funeral, found it’s way onto my mp3-player, and has been there ever since. Simple and complex at the same time. I wish more guitar-players could take a lesson from it’s unruly non-guitar solo.

Camerata TrajectinaSceiden, onverwilic leit (Liederen uit het Gruuthuuse manuscript)
It’s a popsong meets proto-metal, it’s dutch, it’s more than 600 years old. Oh, and it is beautiful. Singer-songwriters, please drop your nylon strings and doff the pedantic hats. Thís is the voice of Holland. (And, as you might have guessed, nót made in 2013)

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Servitude: soundtracks 2013

└(•o• )┐┌(•o•)┘┌( •o•)┘

Being music and sound I could very much enjoy for the way it ties the rest in a production together, it’s insensitivity and craftmanship, and secretly makes me happy I chose the ‘winner’ of the senses. (Okay, smell conquers all but luckily as of yet nobody gained mastery over smell, for he or she would then be emperor of the galaxy.) (in order)

Kettel – Ibb & Obb
To be fair, I haven’t played all that much of this game, but throughout the year I listened the shit out of this soundtrack. Working in commission maybe brought out the best in Kettel, for this is athmospheric, coherent, balanced, and damn poppy. So much even, I lost interest in actually playing the game itself altogether. (which makes me doubt if this really ís a good soundtrack..)

Kazumi Totaka – Animal Crossing: New Leaf (7 PM, 10 PM)
Yep, I’m an utter Nintendo fanboy. And Animal Crossing is one of my favourites. The quirky simplicity of the music has been an influence for many years. It really ties everything in this game together, and the idea of giving every hour of the day it’s own music makes for a great concept-album. Personally I feel this is the first edition in the series that really improves upon the Gamecube original and the 7 PM & 10 PM tracks I can get lost in.

Hans Zimmer & Scott Hecker – Man of Steel
The movie wasn’t way as sucky as it had could have been, due to the depth of this soundtrack. It’s subtle use of motivs, the refreshing wide dynamic range and (let’s not forget) overall great inventive sound design. For I want to HEAR them superpowers. And using mp3 artifact blarble for space craft engines alone gets you a place on this list.

Ryo Nagamatsu – Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Dark Palace)
The used guitar midi plugin SUCKED (and utterly killed the Kakariko village theme), but Ryo Nagamatsua knows when to keep it small and when to bring out the big guns. It’s smart and subtle use of re-occuring themes, re-takes and turn-arounds of existing themes, tasty mix of electronic and orchestral, delicious brass and mastery of minimalistic musical suspense through drones for the dungeon themes (who all fitted marvelously with the level design and visuals, and in particular the delicious Dark Palace theme – the TIMPANI dragged me into a huge craving for Tonke Dragt ) almost made me forget Koji Kondo. (heresy!)

Steve Price – Gravity
I’m a sucker for space-music, and a possibily for composers to finally let some interesting unconventional chord-progressions take the stage. All hail John Barry! But as we all know by now, space is an empty lonely and soundless vacuum. Not many movies actually manage to convey this part of spaceyness – ‘Moon’ was the first in years to come close. So seeing and hearing the trailer of ‘Gravity’ made me drool. This soundtrack indeed makes me feel space is a HUGE and empty place, dares to be stretched out and spacious at one time, and disorienting the next. What makes this a good soundtrack, but got this on the bottom of the list at the same time is the fact the soundtrack dares to be Hollywoodian enough to make it accessable enough for the big audience. (edit: that song in the end when Sandra reaches solid soil is because of the esotheric chanting actually almost cringeworthy enough to scrape the whole soundstrack of this list. Yet the sound department did a nice job with the nature soundscape there.)

————————————————————

Music for eye-people: video

└(•o• )┐┌(•o•)┘┌( •o•)┘

Ewan Jones Morris – Video for ‘Moped‘ by Pinkunoizu

The song is totally overruled by the video, so as a music-video it isn’t any good. But oei.. what a video!  Objects! Colours!! Stuff moving!! With a good mix of simple means, precision and nonchalance here we have the essence of video. (and showing ‘Ok go’ how it is done)

Koji Aramaki & Julien Mier – Super Tropic Tramp

The song is great, full of details, delicious choice in sounds and instruments. But when you add the video it explodes! Wow. One of those rare occasions audio & video actually help eachother, not one being a vehicle for the other. 1 + 1 = 5. And the harmonica + triangles/circles at 1:05 is THE synaesthetic micro-orgasm of the year.

There it is, for the whole world to hear, see and smell. Hope you enjoy the listenin’ as much as I enjoyed the makin’!

// Download & Listen @ BandcampiTunesSpotifyDeezer
// Order the limited edition – Sold out

Like what you’re hearing? Spread the word, share the love.
If you have a dime to spare for the download your karma will blossom. It’ll greatly help the music makin’ and the payin’ of them bills.

// Credits
Music : Michiel van de Weerthof
Mastering : René de Wilde
Design : Michiel van de Weerthof & Harco Rutgers
Original artwork : Amanda Majoor

// Thanks to : Marijn Moerbeek, René Genten, Jyoti Vennix, Harco Rutgers, Yves Brandsma, Amanda Majoor, Marleen de Puydt, Carlijn Stevens, Mark van den Heuvel, Jan Huijben, Lot Broos & Wietske Vogels.

// Ingredients : Accordeon, Autoharp, Balloons, Bathtub, Beatboxer, Birds, Carrillon, Cellophane, Chair, Computer, Crystal Glassware, Cuckoo Clock, Cutlery, Daxophone, Digital Alarm, Faucet, Floor, Glycerin, Guiro, Harmonica, Harpsichord, Insedit Olea Redolentia, Kazoo, Lauric Acid, Maple Wood, Maracas, Pendulum Clock, Pentasodium Pentetate, Piano, Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes, Propylene Glycol, Rooster, Rubber Bands, Saxophone, Sewing Machines, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Sorbitol, Stearic Acid, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Toothbrush, Universal Serial Bus Data Storage Device, Valves, Vibraphone, Violin, Vuvuzela, Water, Whirly Tube, Wooden Ruler, Xylophone.

Out of Control uses sounds from freesound.org. See individual tracks for credit-list.

// Press release
The Out of Control EP takes you on an electro-acoustic journey through a (not so) ordinary day.

Glitchy electronics, neo-classical and unlikely musical instruments such as sewing machines, toothbrushes, daxophones, elastic bands, pvc pipes, balloons, whirly tubes and vuvuzela’s.

Originally this music is the soundtrack for circustheatre play ‘Huis op Hol’ (previously known as ‘Out of Control’) by Wietske Vogels about a peculiar female inventor who builds overly complicated contraptions to make her everyday routines into something gracefully awesome.

This release is available as a pay-what-you-want download, but also as an exceptional limited edition. Here it comes… a wooden usb-stick, encased in a bar of soap, home-made by Weerthof! No more vinyl or CD’s clogging up your house if you don’t want to! Only 50 numbered copies of these are made, straight from the Weerthof cooking laboratory.

(Some reactions to the smell of the Out of Control soap: “This smell reminds me of the boat of my grand-parents”, “It smells a bit electrical”, “Somewhere between an scullery and a workshop”, “Like drinking mint tea on Texel”.)

Weerthof is a musician, artist and producer of soundtracks and catchy pop songs hailing from Den Bosch. This is his fifth release, and his first instrumental one in almost 10 years. He seems to have returned a bit to his roots of fusing classical music with IDM, modifying trivial sounds and building objects to create those specific sound combinations. Yet bringing along the exploration of pop and early music from his 2012 album ‘Hoi’, resulting in a light, somewhat eclectic yet distinctly Weerthovian flavour.

Ooc-optie-4The release date is drawing near… October 2nd. The Weerthof production line is in full swing to have 50 soapy babies ready for your smelling, looking ánd listening pleasure. Meanwhile record label Esc.rec. and me are working on press releases, digital distribution, and getting stuff ready for the release event at De Krakeling. (see below)

But enough talking: have some glorious behind-the-scene pictures!

Already sure you want one? Send me a PM, and I’ll set one apart for you. But besides all the soapy stuff, let’s not forget the most important ingredient: MUSIC!

 

EP Release @ De Krakeling, Amsterdam – Wed. 2 Oct – 14.30
Come watch & listen to the circustheatre play ‘Huis op Hol’ by Wietske Vogels to which the Out of Control EP is originally the soundtrack. I’ll be setting up my soap lab there, for some live soap making. And off course, be among the first to get your hands on one of these soapy babies.

The mailman came by at Weerthof HQ. Bringing with him a ton of wooden Out of Control USB-sticks, engraved and all.

Take a look at their naked glory while you still can. They and the other 48 will soon be encased in soap!

a massive amount of soap // "..can ignite spontaneously when heated above 150° C."

The soapy core ingredient also arrived. 12 whopping kilo’s of it. Now it is waiting for the labels and the last secret fragrance ingredients, on their way from Australia and the UK. The scent notes are decided upon, yet the ratio will need some experimentation. Weerthof HQ already starts resembling a laboratory meets sweatshop.


DSC_0046_edit

“…can ignite spontaneously when heated above 150°.”


Want to see me do some actual LIVE soap making and usb encasing?
The 21st of September I will set up my cooking lab at Miss Match Party in Cafe Averechts, Utrecht.

Already sure you NEED to have one of those? Send me a message, and I’ll set one apart for you. (Release date: 2 October)

In case you haven’t heard: here a preview of one of the tracks of the EP.

Ps // These companies earned a shout-out and kudos for good service, communication and speedy delivery:
Flashbay – the usb dudes
De Hekserij – the soap dudes

To be honest: I don’t care that much about vinyl or cd’s. Plaques of matter, clogging up space in our houses. Neither for so called ‘limited edition physical releases’, for that matter. What I do care about is music. A lot. I love making it, and love listening to it. But I also love musicians and producers who go the extra mile to make their releases something special. Something tangible, to put the icing on the cake of the sweat and love they poured into it. Doesn’t sound contradictory at all, does it?

Ooc-optie-4On October 2nd my new release will come out on esc.rec:  The Out of Control EP.  And I’d like to make a ‘limited edition physical release’ which can both be a tangible thing filled with love, and something that doesn’t clog up your house if you don’t want to. So, Out of Control will not only be available as a pay-what-you-want download, but also (here it comes) ..

DIY soap & fragrence experiment #4 // ceder, bergamot, lemon, glycerin, fabric softener, usb-stick & motor oil

DIY soap & fragrence experiment #4 // ceder, bergamot, lemon, glycerin, fabric softener, usb-stick & motor oil

… as a wooden usb-stick, encased in a bar of soap – home-made by me. To make it even worse: I’d like to make the soap smell as how the music sounds. I’m now teaching myself the fine craft of soap making, making prototypes and delving in the fickle universe of smell. Will I get it right? I don’t know. Is it fun to do? Hell yeah!

Want to hear and see the music in action or get your hands on the finished product? Come to Theater de Krakeling in Amsterdam on October 2nd, and see the circustheatre show by Wietske Vogels – of which this originally is the soundtrack -, and be one of the first to get your hands on one of these soapy babies!

Usb-stick in soap Prototype #1

Usb-stick in soap Prototype #3

On this blog I will keep you posted on the soap making process and adventures.

PS 1 // If you are still wondering: why soap, man? Come to De Krakeling on October 2nd, and you’ll understand. And off course because experimenting with weird materials, chemicals, smells and fragrances is damn awesome!

PS 2 // Already itching to get your hands on one of these soapy babies? Send me a message, and I’ll reserve one especially for you.

PS 3 // What the heck is an EP? Wikipedia knows all about it.

I'm using glycerin, because the fat and lye otherwise needed isn't very appreciated by usb-sticks in general.

I’m using glycerin, because the fat and lye otherwise needed isn’t very appreciated by usb-sticks in general.

 

Glycerin doesn’t harden when using water or oil based extractions. It needs to be done with concentrates. But to get the smell right without the risk of giving everyone an immense rash still needs some olfactory experimentation.

Photo by SilentDJ.com

Photo by SilentDJ.com// Imagine: Silent Disco, but now yóur own (dance-)movements are controlling the music. Inter- and counteractions have a huge impact on the song dymanics and overall sounds. Now imagine 400 people working with and against each other to create a grand interactive composition..

// These last few months I was part of the team developing and producing this concept as sound designer and co-developer. Play!ground is an adaptable concept developed by Het Makershuis. Suitable for all sorts of visual or audiovisual applications using video mapping and track & trace technology. Festivals, organisations, educational purposes, you name it.

// This January was the big event: ATO Space Mission, a massive manifestation for 400 teachers. Focussing on the 21th Century Skills  we offered a ‘space’ exploration encouraging experience, which – for the participants – turned out to be entertaining, perplexing, engaging and somewhat provocative.

Photo by SilentDJ.com
Photo by SilentDJ.com
Photo by SilentDJ.com
Photo by SilenmtDJ.com
Photo by SilentDJ.com
Photo by SilentDJ.com

Thomas Rutgers & Michiel van de Weerthof in the 'Control room' - Photo by SilentDj.com

Play!ground trailer:

Technology & Programming: Thomas Rutgers
Audio & Sound Design: Michiel van de Weerthof
Graphics & Visual Design: Mark van den Heuvel
Visual concept: Rieneke de Vries
Logistics & Production: Marijn Productions
Supervision: Joost van Pageé
Management: Kirsti Pol
Nurturing & Catering: Natasja D’Armagnac
Voice over: Lonneke Van Oorschot

Developed by Het Makershuis // http://www.hetmakershuis.nl

Photos by SilentDJ.com

 


Remix by Frietboer & Eigenheimer
Video by rdenoudern.

The orginal album “Hoi”  by Weerthof (containing ‘Überhaupt’) is available @ http://weerthof.bandcamp.com/album/hoi