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Hiele Martens - “Lips” (2017) review


Hiele Martens - Lips (Ultra Eczema, 2017)

Dennis Tyfus must have a short concentration span because the best Ultra Eczema releases are the single sided LPs: Marcel Van Maele, Georg Toet Smits, Blaastaal, and this one by Hiele Martens. 

Hiele Martens is the duo of Roman Hiele and Lieven Martens. The music they make together sounds pretty random at first. The same impression you got when you first listen to a Spencer Clark record: as if there’s been spreading around with the sound in a nonchalant and playful way. In Hiele Marten’s case: often ‘little sounds’, ‘small sounds’, non-sounds, maybe. Everyday sounds brought together in a non-academic way. So yes, you could see Roman Hiele and Lieven Martens as a younger version of Adam and Jonathan Bohman. Or as a double version of Idm Theft Able. Or as a duo version of Dinosaurs With Horns. That all would make sense, after a first brief listen. 

But when you listen closer and more often, you start to notice that it’s not that random at all. That Lips is actually way more delicate. That’s it’s very well composed music. More in the line of Jaques Bekaert’s best work. A Summer Day At Stony Point comes to mind. Or Visions During Movement by JD Emmanuel. And yes, at times, this almost sounds like a mini opera. 

But then again, by seeing this music as Musique Concrète, Modern Classical or opera, you would see this as 'serious work’, where it’s obviously the work of two goofs, meant in the best possible way. I mean: when I listen to this album, I can easily see two men with a beer in their hands, making fart jokes and doing silly impressions of common friends. 

I don’t like to talk about music in terms of 'the best’ because music is not about competition. I leave that to sports. But what sports and music have in common is that it likes to move. And Lips moves. So I’m going to say it anyway: this is the best thing I’ve heard this year, so far. 

- Joeri Bruyninckx
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