When Simon Van Honacker (°1994, living in Ghent BE) approached me to do an intern with ECN he caught my intention with his plan to study Flemish Folklore, yet from a Deep Listening perspective. Imagine the sound of fanfares, people getting drunk during braderies (tr. street fairs), cover bands, the general buzzing atmosphere during reenactments, … All aligned as parts of an Organic Symphony for deep listening.
I don’t consider pioneering, or the striving for the freshest new idea, as purely necessary for art. However, I will always have a soft spot for every Charles Ives in this world. And as far as I know, the loved and hated world of Flemish Folklore (Flemish Canon alert!) has never been transposed to Deep Listening. This wild, “unartistic” world gets a new “artistic” life through concentrated and / or meditative listening. Furthermore, Simon approaches his realm with humor. Dull cynicism and / or irony staying out of the picture. Not even a whiff of sensationalism. Refreshing.
I remember listening to Van Honacker’s compositions in the auditorium of the Antwerp Public Library. In front of a bewildering audience who didn’t really know they should laugh and / or listen intensely and / or flee the scene. Bewilderment. Also not a necessity in art, but when it’s executed in all honesty, why not? And when it serves a purpose …
Sitting in a pitch-dark room. Clouds of mumbling people as musical bits. Public speakers morphed into orchestra leaders. Strange jokes, people cheering and clattering bottles. Sudden anecdotes popping up only to swiftly disappear, like flying fish jumping over the waves. Leaving you waiting for an answer.
We are working on a big documentation of Van Honackers work with Flemish Folklore events. But for now, we have this debut cassette with recordings of Italian village parties, games and gatherings. This is a rare example of foreign recordings by Van Honacker. So I guess his debut album is immediately a bit of an off-catalogue endeavor. But there’s enough to explore. From the sound of “wheat beaters”, a marching band, traditional instruments, and fireworks. Through the atmospheres during a Fiolet conquest in the valley of Aosta.
The bit of the Fiolet game is very Van Honacker-ish. After a few rather typical musical impressions, his gaze remains suddenly fixed on this peculiar game of Fiolet – a sort of mix between rock throwing, tennis and golf. During this part, a tapestry of sparse game sounds and sideline jokes in great accents, the pace slows down and something unfolds. For documentation reasons, this excerpt is edited in length, but it goes without saying that this moment could go one forever…
It took me a few listens to “get” this, even though it exists in a musical community I think of as relatively familiar. But there is something about “~~~” that feels a part of my own existence, even though there is no overlap between this artist’s life and my own. This is maybe where the magic is...a cosmic voice of sorts that shows us we originate from the same dust and answer to the same call. bzztm-bzztj