Since Lieven Martens Moana’s (Dolphins Into The Future) last lp, the massively overlooked “Music from the Guardhouse”, our composer has moved from the islands of Okinawa to the Swampland of Mexico City to the Portuguese countryside, running his Private Press, and composing music for ensemble and commercials. This very pluralistic life-style and commitment has led us to his first full length record in three years: “Idylls”. Presented as a 12 page book with an LP disc, the listener first hears concentrated and intentional sound-prose poems of the life of Robert Louis Stevenson as Martens attempts to “see through the eyes of RLS”. Because of Martens ability to poetically reflect Stevens’ obsessions, we can hear field recordings, not just as documents, but as compositions and imaginative story-boards of a poets journals in the locales of Polynesia. As we flip sides we enter into the colorful and active aspect of Marten’s palate.
Flowing from active electronically treated thumb piano to tranquil serene alien piano, growing towards a rumbling volcano and settling into archaic Goldberg Variations by Mia Prce of Miaux, the listener is now startled by Captain Moana’s refusal for his music to be pure inspired decoration, but instead a world of prose and storytelling. By now, we ask ourselves what has changed in the music of Lieven Martens Moana? Its is for certain on “Idylls”, that with a Polynesian Fascination seemingly unchanged, the intellectual palate has grown so much, that what we have in front of us, are wildly colorful and intellectual compositions that seem to have arrived from a literary mode, and grown into pieces that have an illusively romantic allure. The uniqueness of “Idylls” rests upon the artists willingness to arrive at strange and difficult compositions by way of natural story-telling and inspired readings; Martens further exacts his process, away from just appreciating Polynesia, and into the act, that Gaugain and Stevenson might have enjoyed, of symbiotic immersion. We can for certain hear from the Captain himself:
“Being(“Idylls”) a portrait, an ethnographic study, an exotic illustration and a ritual. The latter used in the most mundane sense ever, since I’d like to stay far away from a sensational bubblegum approach to (religious) ethnography, to the copying of ethnic behaviour, or to approaching it as something odd or weird. These behaviourisms unavoidably invoke the end of all rituals, thus making the world a duller place. As being interested in the exotic, (c.q. the exotist), an act under constant scrutiny, it is a duty to observe and sustain, to withdraw and refrain.”
-Spencer Clark, Pacific City Antwerp, Belgium