Palmbomen II

Betonkust & Palmbomen II “Parallel B” (Dekmantel)

2020-03-07T05:39:26+00:00March 7th, 2019|

Moving on from their time holed up in a leisure resort relic, the Dutch retrogressive, analogue synth machine obsessives and tape fanatics Betonkust & Palmbomen II have teamed up together once more for a new EP. An immediate follow up to their debut LP Center Parcs, the new EP pays fictional homage to a now deceased famous TV star, who instead on working on the screen, took up a new direction in making music. Once more replete with esoteric experimentalism, analogue jams, drums machines, synths, and a healthy dose of acid basslines, the production duo advance upon their aesthetic with a new extended EP of nostalgic, melancholic electro.

With Palmbomen II a.k.a. Kai Hugo, based out and working in Los Angeles, collaborations with Dutch-based partner Betonkust happen less frequently than they should – especially when you acknowledge that they do not use, or record to computers. When they do happen though, their distinctive sonic palette of saturated distortion, and warm melodic wavey house shines through. This time recorded in a bungle somewhere in the Dutch countryside, the two producers have created a concept record about Bart, a local hero and his imagined life in a parallel universe. In this reality, instead of making it in TV, Bart is a successful music producer, the track titles detailing his journey through this new and imagined life. ‘Bart Is Alone Again’ kicks off the record with its wistful melodies, and harmonic leads, before ‘Underground Dance Floor’ kicks in with its predominate bassline, and squelching deep-rooted, undercurrents of hardcore. Along Bart’s odyssey there are moments for ‘Bart’s Jam’, an early days Warp Records / Detroit belter; ‘Rejected Demo Tape’ a downbeat moment of anguish; ending with ‘A Series of Bad Decisions,’ in which the EP plays out to somber, yet harmonious conclusion.

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Betonkust & Palmbomen II “Center Parcs” (Dekmantel)

2018-07-19T18:00:45+00:00July 19th, 2018|

Recorded in an aging holiday park during off-season, Center Parcs is the debut LP by Dutch artists Betonkust and Palmbomen II; a conceptual, musical-tristesse full of lo-fi harmony, and fanciful, psychedelic-colored modulations, with an undercurrent of saturated, outsider-house beats, all recorded to tape. With a shared passion for experimental music, and gnarled Dutch electro, the duo has crafted an LP of esoteric-electronic-pop, reflective of the time the two spent holed-up in isolation in Center Parcs. Palmbomen II, aka Kai Hugo, is the electronic-focused, alter-ego of Palmbomen. Existing in his secondary iteration, Palmbomen II gained notoriety for his alternative, warped style, having released two LPs, both receiving critical acclaim. Originally from the Netherlands and now living in Los Angeles, his musical relationship with Betonkust stretches back several years, leading to a unique live, and studio-working symbiosis. Meanwhile Betonkust — hailing from the westerly Dutch shores — has been notching up kudos points with his Detroit-like analog sound. Having found their studio-synchronicity, the duo has already notched up a couple of select EP releases, plus a featured track on Dekmantel’s ten-year anniversary series. “It’s a weird environment, but we like it,” Palmbomen II says about Center Parcs, where the album was recorded. Originally built in the ’70s, Center Parcs De Eemhof in Zeewolde provides a pseudo-tropical environment for vacationing families, with an aging, ersatz jungle; its faux decor gradually fading to grey. Recorded during the winter, the two Dutch men took-up home in one the park’s chalets with select hardware — predominately synths and drum machines — and recorded all of their progress to tape. Being the only occupants in the melancholic, somber settings, the duo made an LP that was reflective of the unpretentious surroundings. Everything on Center Parcs was recorded on hardware, in the moment; “real jams” as the guys describe them. No computers. It was through this in-the-present-process that led to the recondite, lo-fi shoegaze record, reflective of their shared influences — from the likes of I-F. through to Cocteau Twins. Opener “24×33”, has a reverberated VHS aesthetic; “De Rust Die Je Zocht’ (“The Peace You Were Looking For”) sounds like an angelic score to a forgotten family game show; “Nintendo Pantera” a solemn, upbeat Detroit-retro-fitted-vapor ware melody. The album is a follow up to the Center Parcs EP — the producer’s debut cassette release on Canadian label 1080p in 2016.

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