On Koen Holtkamp

Posted by Tobias Carroll

Koen Holtkamp is one half of the duo who make music under the name Mountains. Gravity/Bees is a mini-album, his third work under his given name; it’s quite good. Like the solo work that’s emerged from the members of Stars of the Lid, Holtkamp’s solo work is both rewarding on its own and illuminating for those listeners fond of Mountains’ resonant drone.

This mini-album consists of two longer pieces, each clocking in at around fifteen minutes in length, “In The Absence Of Gravity Please Note The Position Of The Sun” is a fine example of deep-well drone; it ebbs and flows in layers, with even more of a tendency towards moments of bliss than Holtkamp’s work in Mountains. There’s an almost childlike sense of wonder to how this piece unfolds.

“Loosely Based on Bees” is slower, with a perceptible La Monte Young influence. Tinges of psychedelia begin to creep in from the edges, and eight minutes in, a wash of guitar ebbs towards feedback. There’s a sense of a decaying signal before the piece ends in a wash of noise. In the end, Gravity/Bees works on multiple levels: blissed-out enough for the ambient fans, yet rich enough to reward repeat listens.