Saxophonist Ben van Gelder (30) and guitarist Reinier Baas (34) have performed as a duo for almost a decade before recording their first studio album. Having tested the patience of their fan base for 9,5 bleak years, ‘Mokum In Hi-Fi’ will be released on September 13th 2019.
Mokum is a slang term for the city of Amsterdam, used in endearment. It means city, place or safe haven, and stems from Bargoens: a language used by criminals, tramps and travelling salesmen. ‘Mokum In Hi-Fi’ is a tribute to the city that is home to both artists. A tribute, in particular, to the rough-around-the-edges, beer swilling, herring eating, jenever drinking, barrel-organ-wielding crowd centred around the Jordaan neighbourhood, that has come to define the city in the past centuries.
The opening track ‘Deo Volente’ forms a diptych with the second to last track, ‘Pieternella’ - these are the names of the two Amsterdam house boats where Baas’ parents lived when they met. Although van Gelder had composed ‘Palace’ before this record was conceptualised, one could just about get away with attributing it to the Royal Palace on Dam square, with its many rooms and its stated but playful architecture. ‘Aquatics’ is inspired by the substance that the city of Amsterdam was built upon: water.
The orchestral soundscapes in ‘Aquatics’ and ‘Aquatics Revisited’ are the product of an elaborate experiment involving an antiquated boogie woogie piano and an enormous amplifier. Apart from these two tracks, the music was realised without any loop stations or post production and with minimal electronic adornment.
A comforting gesture towards inhabitants of Dutch ‘rival’ cities is the sticker sheet that is also available. With a few easy adjustments, the ‘Mokum In Hi-Fi’ CD’s and vinyls can be transformed into ‘Roffa In Hi-Fi’, ‘Agga In Hi-Fi’ or ‘Utca In Hi-Fi’.
Baas and van Gelder have shared the stage over 200 times in the past years, in various settings: as a trio with drum legend Han Bennink, as soloists with the Metropole Orkest and as sidemen in each other’s quintets. They have toured Asia, Oceania and large parts of Europe. During this time, they have developed a vocabulary of their own: “heaviness alternated with nimbleness, strange chords with melodic clarity, unpredictability with a reassuring sense of overall form” (New York City Jazz Record)¹.
released September 13, 2019
Recorded by Micha de Kanter at Studio Helmbreker, Haarlem on Oct 22nd, Nov 25th and 28th 2018, and at E-Sound Studio’s, Weesp on Feb 1st 2019.
Mixed by Micha de Kanter at Mideka Music Recording, Den Haag.
Cover design and artwork by Stijn van der Pol / thisissaf~. Photograph of Ben and Reinier by Jonathan Herman.
Reinier Baas (1985) is a guitarist, composer and recording artist from the Netherlands with a DIY approach and an
idiosyncratic body of work.
His critically acclaimed, mostly instrumental opera ‘Reinier Baas vs. Princess Discombobulatrix’ and his record ‘Mostly Improvised Instrumental Indie Music’ both earned him an Edison Award: the most prestigious music award in the Netherlands....more