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/howrah
about bliss

Arnold de Boer, Amsterdam 2021

[PERMANENCE] The #32 hexagram of the I Ching, called permanence, has to be seen as stability and constancy. Like thunder and lightning are together, the wise person seeks unions that are forever.

[HOWRAH] When hanging out with this band, you could think they are all one family. The members are close, operating from the Katzwijm Studio in Voorhout (NL), run by drummer Ineke Duivenvoorde. This is where they write, rehearse and record their albums. The recording was done by Jan Schenk, who, as a teenager, learned the tricks and tricks at the studio in Voorhout. On the new album he creates an open, bright and warm sound that perfectly suits the songs. The HOWRAH members hail from the vivid Dutch underground scene, coming from bands like Zoppo, Space Siren and The Howl Ensemble. The family comparison is illustrative for the band and its music when you take ‘dissonance’ as a core principle. A family sticks together despite their conflicts and oppositions. And dissonance is the root note of HOWRAH’s music. A music built on wringing riffs and harmonies born from discordance. Push and pull, full and empty, hum and rumble, noise and serenity, opposites intervene and keep each other in balance. While listening you feel like you’re sinking into a giant pillow filled with noise, dreams, riffs and waves of rhythms and words; this band could be your duvet.

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[TRUST] “Do you trust me? If you trust me first.” A key quote from Hal Hartley’s Nineties film hit ’Trust’. Kees van Appeldoorn, the songwriter of HOWRAH, has a tense relationship with trust. As much as he wants to trust and be trusted, so much he fights with doubt and anxiety. The fear of losing everything seems inseparable from the power of self-esteem and giving each other confidence. There’s always that ominous threat that everything will collapse. Fortune is a fading clover, like we see on the cover of the new album; Van Appeldoorn has settled the unity of bliss and despair.

[BLISS] An album that sounds like the diary of a man pushing himself into serious commitment, like, a marriage. The weeks leading to it, the linger, full of doubt and despair. We hear the fear of commitment and the passion of longing, craving, clinging and turning.

we sealed the deal, that rocked to its core

shakes like a ladder, for evermore

(Sacred Noise)

Deals don’t advocate harmony, they cover up regrets, bruises and pain. A promise is needed when there are lies and distrust but still love needs to prevail.

 

 

a steady beat of lies, cover up bleeding hearts, so it could all fit nice...

(A Steady Beat of Lies)

A party is crucial, and a party it will be, with witnesses, stories from the past and plenty of food and drinks. HOWRAH is the band playing at their own wedding, take you with them in the whirl to ensure all the pain will be cured.

 

if you were booze, I would spill you, if you were gas, I’d inhale

if you were ointment, I’d apply you, carefully, to my wounds

(Pool)

 

 

And we’re sent home with tinkling ears, swirling on a warm fuzz, dejectedly happy with our new duvet.

 

Arnold de Boer, Amsterdam 2021

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