Dreaming with Amatorski’s New LP
Belgian band Amatorski, made up of multi-instrumentalists Inne Eysermans, Sebastiaan van den Branden, Hilke Ros, and Laurens Van Bouwelen, found fame initially through Humo’s Rock Rally, a Belgian rock band contest running since 1978. Their breakout hit, “Come Home,” from the EP Same Stars We Shared, was inspired by Eyersmans’ discovery of her grandmother’s love letters and is indicative of the dreamy, narrative style the band would continue to develop through their first LP, tbc in 2013 (Crammed Discs).
Their new record, from clay to figures, out June 10th on Crammed Discs, is an evocative slice of dream-pop perfect for the hazy summer days ahead. The lo-fi sounds of the songs are a hallmark of the band, whose name references the Polish word for “amateurish” to reflect their penchant for minimalistic compositions with melding, fuzzy edges. Despite the name, though, the music is anything but basic. The first single from the album, “Hudson,” enfolds you in flowing layers of sound that include guitars and horns accompanied by Inne’s ethereal voice and poetic lyrics. The video matches the qualities of the song through abstract, subliminal images that simultaneously evoke and eschew meaning.
Other songs have a slightly darker feel. “wild birds” begins with a melancholy piano riff echoed by moody vocals. Although the song evolves into uplifting, melodic synthesized sounds, the mournful undercurrent is like the barely perceptible, sweet sadness that can creep in on even the sunniest days. “deer the wood” invites you into a crepuscular soundscape where the slightly sinister vocals (“Don’t be late/ Don’t worry about the darkness outside./ […] It’s only a playground”) are swathed in resonant instrumentation.
Amatorski has been compared to artists like Sigur Rós, and they have a similar talent for evoking dream landscapes through sound. Amatorski’s songs also seem tinged with nostalgia, not just for the past, but also for a future pregnant with possibilities. Amatorski’s website describes the music as, “On the edge of knowing and not knowing, [where] a story unfolds, abstract thoughts become concrete and a new musical landscape takes shape.” from clay to figures is the unfolding of this story, the aural experience of the hypnagogic state that immediately precedes sleep.
You can pre-order from clay to figures via the band’s website and iTunes now. Their interactive digital project with We Work We Play, “Deleting Borders,” is also up. It’s a multimedia exploration of technology, music, and art that allows users to co-create a few seconds of a song, inviting audiences to manifest their own experience of the group’s compositions.