Review: Drekka reworks 'Verjaardaag' 

The power of a rework

click to enlarge drekka_.jpg

Drekka Reworks Annelies Monoseré ‘Verjaardaag’
Bluesanct / Red Frost Industries

With everything going on right now, it’s hard to take in music.


And when the mastermind of ambient drone in Indiana, Drekka, reworks the already compellingly sufficient work of Belgian singer Annelies Monoseré, your heart and mind are in trouble. Drekka (Mkl Anderson) is known for creating pieces that extend film score influences, but with Verjaardaag the personal journey, distinct relationships, and attention to detail over time are crafted in a minimal package that, once open, devours you.

It baffles me how Drekka teaches me the power of a “rework” album – not a remix album, but something remarkably cerebral on its own terms. It’s not about stealing beauty. A mutual artistic rendition is thrusted to a different time/place; void of the derivative. Strikingly animate on vinyl (part of Bluesanct’s ‘art vinyl’ series) the 22 minutes EP on Side A includes a screenprint of handwritten liner notes from Annelies on Side B. 
“Like Yesterday” opens the EP, setting the tone with soft vocals that make you stop in your tracks and just listen. Actually – let me just stop the typical flowery reviewer language. This album forced me to stop what I was doing, sit down, and listen to it. Can there even still be music or moments that command your attention in such a way?

“Common Ground” leads you into the third song, “I will lock you,” but the transitions are less commandeering and more spatial apparitions on tones that build a loose tension, if such a thing exists. Annelies only comes in at the end of the tracks as it end abruptly, but appropriately. More instrumentation is heard on “7,” which likely features one of the subtle guest appearances from Justin Vollmar, Nathan Amundson and Jessica Bailiff.

The penultimate track “Like Yesterday (cello return)” is a solemnly traditional and fitting nod to compositions of old as well as a subtle splice that renders Verjaardaag a resilient non-traditional album. The source material comes from Annelies’ second album, Marit, which isn’t secondary nor primary to the beauty of the album, but there circulatory system that makes the wonder even possible. Drekka reworked and embellished this material in Ghent, Belgium and Bloomington, Indiana over six years, starting three years before Marit was released in 2009. That’s the dedication, care, endless mulling over that shows in every second of a work that commands you, for once, to just listen. 

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