Somnambule - Writing About Music

Living Ornaments

Living Ornaments are an electronica duo comprising Netherlanders Lars Meijer and Coen Polack. Their two releases under consideration here are their own ep, Klonten which clocks in at a little over twenty minutes in length (blink and it’s gone) and their half of a split ep.
Klonten is an interesting too-short release. There seem to be a number of different tracks wriggling around inside Chriettitulaer (this is a good thing). There’s a reggae-ish dub spirit spiralling in the background, a stuttering, mutating biscuit tin drum and bass beat, abstract figures skating around and from time to time and an upbeat melody perambulating throughout.

Diewertjeblok (and no I’m not going to try to pronounce that title) darts and fizzes along before sloughing into a contemplative phase and running out of steam. Shorter tracks alternate with longer tones. The mixture of acoustic and electronic sounds is interesting, particularly the melancholic piano and associated chimes and strums on Henkmouwe. At times though there is something of an apprentice tentativeness to this ep – some of the drum sounds appear a little prepackaged and disposable and it would be good to hear the duo explore their ideas over longer periods of time, but Klonten is a promising and interesting release.

On their part of the Narrominded Split EP release (the other half contains tracks by Accelera Deck), Living Ornaments present 11 tracks ranging between 31 seconds and three and a half minutes long. Oliespatten navigates a number of different stages ranging from up and down pacing to headlong dash. The shorter tracks mix sudden almost comic pianistic interruptions wrapped round with electronic noise like poison ivy binding a graveyard statue. There’s a strong episodic and filmic sense to the music.

At times the music resonates with the sound of celestial bodies echoing down the light years, at other times the sound of synthetic vegetation buffeted in high winds. Crunchy, pummeling rhythms agitate and overlap with each other. Kwalrups breaks up in free fall, its signal lost in geiger noise. There is a hint of the deep space musics of the mid 90s (think of Pete Namlook’s collaborations with The Higher Intelligence Agency), though the rhythmic timbres and structures are entirely contemporary. I don’t know which of these releases came first, but I’ wouldn’t hesitate to confirm that this ep follows after Klonten. Their sound appears much more confident, more detailed and more solid and they seem to be pushing things a lot further. Worth searching out.
Colin Buttimer
January 2004
Published by Milkfactory