Review: Kleefstra + Pruiksma + Kleefstra – Deislieper

There’s such a restless sense of restraint running through Deislieper. Each instrument is stroked and tapped rather that smashed and twanged, and the players feel as though they’re in a constant battle to hold the dynamics down; hollers of feedback are strangled into silence as quickly as they come, while thumbs and fingers itch to escalate the gentle guitar strums into something more forceful and rhythmic. The album provokes that feeling of wanting to scream in a quiet space, and bubbles with a tension that looks increasingly capable of forcing an eruption from the group’s steadfast willpower.

Pruiksma and the Kleefstra brothers rightly ensure that this eruption never occurs. Tremolo guitar makes frequent appearances, trundling and pulsing through chord changes that come with ample stretches of nothing in between. Meanwhile, cymbal scrapes and ghostly vibraphones enter on instinct to plug the gaps, as if fearful of what might occur if the music is permitted to drop into total silence. Such a gentle handling of the instrumentation means that Deislieper is comprised of musical sound and stereotypically “unwanted” sound in equal part – caught plectrums and fret noise feel as crucial as the notes that lay in between them.

The only element of the album that doesn’t slot in too neatly is the occasional passage of murmured vocal. Deislieper gets on just fine without it, and there’s something quite deliberate and careful about their execution that doesn’t correlate so well with the album’s brittle dynamics and sonic accidentals – all of the other elements allow you to track their wavering path between inadvertent noises and pre-composed music, and this depth feels absent within the use of voice. Thankfully it’s only an intermittent distraction, and its presence is all but forgotten once Deislieper draws to a close. What sticks with the listener here is the sound of three musicians daring themselves to breach both silence and sound simultaneously, evoking the music that paradoxically exists within its own materialisation process.