Queeste emerges with the nocturnal sounds of Haron’s Wandelaar, an album which successfully turns listening into an act of transport, leaving you in the midst of falling asleep, at a junction of dislocation, hazily arriving in a liminal world. Wandelaar is Haron’s reaction against the confines of dance music, gathering energy from his estrangement from its limitations and expectations, and using it as a means to reorder and interrogate sound.
This release gestures a shift in Haron’s career, moving away from the dancefloor applicable output we’ve come to hear over the past four years from the Netherlands based artist. This new direction encourages a dialogue between sound and image, accompanying films and fashions shows, moving closer to the atmospheric ambience of his recent Blowing Up The Workshop mixtape.
In Wandelaar, Haron uses the piano to cascade us into a suspended consciousness, exploring his long-term interest in music’s talent for inducing and affecting dreams. On listening, we follow the album’s narrative tale of ascension, picturing a ‘moony landscape,’ grey and desolate from afar, intricately detailed on approach, neatly mirroring the minimal canon of the composition. The album conjures up Karl Zeman’s Baron Prášil, in which we see large drifting spheres, undisturbed cavernous spaces, reflective surfaces, crystals and endless lights.
With his opening track ‘Lotuseter’ – a sparse, pensive arrangement – Haron reaches out inquisitively, almost timid in nature as he makes his first contact before drifting timely into more movement and life with ‘Maangerij’ and the shimmering, rattling sounds of ‘Caverne’. In ‘Selenieten’ we open with soft thuds and a clunky arpeggio and in ‘Foschia’ we arrive at a more melodic scene, nimbly changing pace as it slowly erupts into one of the most cinematic tracks on the album. The harmonic chords of ‘Sepia’ rest themselves neatly into a lullaby attunement, followed by Wandelaar’s closing – and most charming – piece, ‘Music for Elbows’, a sketched arrangement absent of design and playfully composed.
Wandelaar finds itself a decidedly visual album, one that plays not only with the strictures of composition but also with our senses. Centering on the modest piano, each solo note becomes fertile and full, suspended and considered. The notes strike up a conversation, talking, obliging each other the space to breathe, guided by principles of minimalism from composers such as John Cage and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Whereas Wandelaar’s cinematic quality harks more towards the work of Arthur Russell or Arvo Pärt.