The onset of the music is so gentle one may not notice at first ~ like the first inklings of light from a cobalt blue sunrise. The undulating tones are accompanied by matching shots of waves, until the fourth minute, when a sheet of waves is placed over a sheet of sky. For a moment, the two are one. This effect recurs in the 49th minute, producing a visual symmetry. By that time, the audio element will have morphed multiple times, doubling back on itself as well.
This slow mingling ~ ocean to sky, ambient to drone ~ is a reflection of the subject matter. Hoek, or more properly de Hoek or The Corner, was built as part of Rotterdam’s defense line during the Second World War, a line in the dunes, filled with underground bunkers. Today it is also a seaside resort: recreation mingling with history. In 2012 and 2014, Roel Meelkop and Marco Douma (music and visuals) produced installations in both locations: beach club and bunker. Hoek combines the best of both: a unified work, a hand-assembled labor of love and a definitive audio-visual statement.
A third of the way into the piece, the drone dissipates, revealing a gorgeous sequence of chimed tones ~ like sea glass revealed by the receding tide. In like fashion, the video momentarily leaves the sea to wander in the upper thickets of winter trees. Field recordings enter the sonic territory midway, grounding the release in the real world. Slowly the video returns to the sea, inviting sea birds to sing their own impressions of de Hoek.
The tone is refreshingly reverent, resisting any temptation to veer to the sounds of wars or clubs. Instead, the attention remains on the everlasting. Tumbling tides, shifting sands and baby birds are reminders that nature views time through a different lens: some things happen once, while others happen again and again. Even the laser-like intrusions of the 39th minute eventually fade away, and the dunes are quiet again. The abstractions melt into images of sky, then sky and sea, then simply sea, and finally black, mirroring the opening sequence. One is left with a feeling of completion, now seeing the cover as a sunset rather than a sunrise, the blue orb sinking, a white afterimage left in its wake. (Richard Allen)