a closer listen

The Void* ~ Values

Values is the album so big, it took three labels to release it: Netherlands co-conspirators Lomechanik, Shipwrec and Esc.recs.  The sound is similarly large, as it crosses between genres like ships through the wormholes of its die cut cover.  The predominant shade is post-rock, but there’s drone here, too, and ambience, and a heavy dose of electronics, the latter which inspired the band’s name and its track titles, which are based on C++ language.  The Void* (pronounced “The Void Pointers”) creates its own instruments and programs, and refuses to be pigeonholed, wordplay intended.

After an initial search through radio frequencies, the opening track finds a tone to settle upon: a repeated guitar note, which holds the door open for a host of squealing and humming drones.  Everyone is welcome to this party.  The track builds throughout its length, finally fuzzing into the first piano notes of “D BI DI F”.  This time the hums recede into beeps, reversing the plot of the opener.

Before long, the sonic field is filled with a field of abstractions, and one wonders if this is the cumulative effect of all the “wine, cheese and cows”.  It’s clear that these tracks began as sketches and required some rehabilitation before they were released.  Yet this is the fun of Values, whose title may refer either to the ground rules of the recording or the sonic values possessed by the individual listener.  There’s no predicting what turn the album might take next, although there’s nothing here that is so abstract as to prevent entry.  As such, the holes in the cover become symbols for the accessibility of the project.  Some may enter through large circles, others through smaller dots.

Electronic fans, for example, may find “Abstract” (yes, that word again, now ironic) to be their point of access, as it begins with light beats and stomps before adding rhythmic, marchlike touches, while post-rock veterans should head directly to the shimmering closer.  Instead of saying, “this is the sound of the Netherlands,” one might make the suggestion that these are the sounds of the Netherlands, difficult to comprehend when they are speaking all at once, but lovely in their interaction.  (Richard Allen)