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OVERCOME BY BEAUTY
It’s only on rare occasions that I’m really touched by one of the many albums that, zooming down the digital highway or just popping through the lid of a good old analogue letter-box, have succeeded in finding their way to my desk– voilà the price a music critic ‘slash’ singer-songwriter has to pay for a life in music. Call it blasé, fastidious or elitist if you like, but for me it feels more like a curse. In an era in which everybody seems to want to make music – and more often than not, actually dóes so – all you need is a laptop to create your brainchildren and send them off into the world. And quite rightly so: music is and absolute must! However, because of this tsunami of words and sound it’s getting harder and harder to uncover the exquisite pearls hidden under a layer of shells, pebbles and sand. State of the art technology can be bought, talent, alas, is not for sale. But sometimes, unsuspectingly strolling down this musical flood line, one of these pearls reveals itself in front of you bare feet.
The name of this pearl is I Sing and the mother of pearl is called Helen Botman.
I don’t know if a person, like by extreme heat, can be overcome by beauty, but something like this actually happened to me while listening to this beautiful, timeless album. Timeless, because fashionable clichés – whiffs of obligatory electronics, sampled beats or overly lush vocal adornments – are completely shunned. This is the sort of music that can’t be made on a laptop. It takes top level musicians, years of experience and a whole lot of talent to create quality songs like this. I sing, Helen Botman modestly states. And yés, Helen: singing is what you do. You do this in a way that hardly anybody does these days, in a way that you seem to have the blueprint of. I know that it’s an anatomical impossibility, but I’m pretty much sure that Helen’s vocal cords can be found in het heart.
(Music journo for HP/De Tijd, singer-songwriter in his own right)
released October 12, 2016
Ton Nieuwenhuizen - bassguitar
Rob Stoop - piano, rhodes
Arthur Lijten - drums
Recorded by Joris Wolff at the Power Sound Studio, Amsterdam
Red Limo String Quartet - strings
Recorded by Bart Wagemakers at het Gemengd Bedrijf, Limmen
Willem Swikker - hammond
Recorded by Ton Nieuwenhuizen at Studio3, Bergen NH
Mixed by Ton Nieuwenhuizen
Mastered by Norbert Sollewijn-Gelpke
Coverphoto by Saskia Kerkhoff - assistence by Kyra van Baar
Hair & make up by Renate Bommer
Liner notes by Ruud Meijer