Press release notes by Hannah Spencer for Hibernate Recs.
Haruki is the pseudonym of composer/sonic artist Boris Snauwaert from Ghent, Belgium, who creates sonic environments through the precise, meditated amalgamation of a diverse variety of sounds, both musical and non-musical. In any given track Haruki combines any or all sound sources; field recordings, acoustic instruments, acoustic noises, found samples, sampled instruments and so on. Throughout production of the EP, musicality has remained of quintessence to Haruki; the continuous ebb and flow of textures and timbres throughout, the production and evolution of harmony through the treatment of seemingly unrelated sounds and, in places, rhythm becoming much more of a dominant musical element. There are moments of great depth, and contrasting sparse moments; variation between busy polyphony and contrasting single lines, all executed in a faultless manner.
The tracks on "The Land That Lies Behind Us" work together as a whole picture, or individually as glimpses of the dark, eerie atmosphere that Haruki has striven to create.
SOME WORDS ON THE EP BY OTHERS:
"Released earlier this year, The Land That Lies Behind Us comes as a 3” CD presented in a three-fold cover wrapped in a white envelop. Built from a wide array of sound sources, ranging from acoustic instruments to field recordings, some processed, others left in their natural state, the textured landscapes with which Snauwaert experiments are particularly evocative. Each track constitutes a singular universe, totally independent from the rest of the record, yet perfectly incorporated in the overall work. The basis for each of these tracks are infinitely detailed soundscapes, which can at times be extremely delicate and refined, or at others distorted and distressed, upon which Snauwaert adds fragments of melody, occasionally placing a piano or acoustic guitar in the foreground, but rarely developing these into full sequences. Instead, it is the atmospheric nature of his tracks which is at the heart of Haruki’s work. Snauwaert continuously applies almost imperceptible alterations to his soundscapes, triggering subtle variations and shifts in the tone or mood, ranging from the dense ominous drone-like form which serves as backdrop to The Quiet Side Of A Square or the increasingly dissonant and distorted forms on You Were Harmless, which at times sound like an acutely orchestral construction, to an abrasive electric guitar which is ultimately swallowed by a high pitched tone on In The Time or strident drone compositions which progressively make way for the sombre undertones of a sampled cello and a scattered piano line on A Century Of Losses, and the ambitious and multi-faceted White Meadow, which at first appears to hark back to the opening moments of this record, yet dissolves completely when a gentle acoustic guitar melody appears." THE MILK FACTORY
"With the cd inside being folded in card, it feels like a greeting card but when you play it, it sounds like a message from another world. (...) Five songs on five inches. It sounds small but the result is a big impact. Eerie affecting minimalism for the small hours." WAS IST DAS
"(...) I say musical and obviously that’s not music in the traditional sense – rather there’s a sense of melody that sits within each of the pieces. Spooky at times and certainly on the cinematic side of things there are some real tangible elements of darkness that are balanced by the soaring moments of higher range soundscapes. It forms a really engaging release that delivers its own unique narrative throughout. Marvellous sounds once again from Hibernate." SMALLFISH RECORDS
"Here you get five tracks of whacked out drone, field recordings, acoustic instruments and noises all blended together to make a tasty atmospheric treat. As far as drone goes it's busy with plenty going on with what all the found noises and acoustic instruments popping up here and there. Spend some time with it as it does very good indeed on first listen!" NORMAN RECORDS
"Haruki is the recording alias of Belgian sound designer Boris Snauwaert, a resident of Ghent who creates abstract electroacoustic tapestries - intertwining sampled instrumental snippets with environmental recordings and well placed electronic drone tones.
Opening track, 'The Quiet Side Of A Square' announces itself with a wayward squeal of sax before field recordings start to drag you off towards some unspecified mystery location. Before you really know what's going on a rickety deep bass rumble rises up and some sort of Eastern pipe begin to carve out a melody at the forefront of the mix. For want of a far better account of what this sounds like, it's faintly evocative of being chased around the belly of a submarine by a snake charmer.
Snauwaert commences his second piece ('You Were Harmless') with a discordant tangle of sustaining tones, making for a more conventional drone outing, but one that's rendered fairly impressive by its level of nuance and uneasy harmonies.
Far grubbier sounding is 'In The Time', whose metallic sustains have to jostle with distorted thrums and scrappy maintenance noises before getting a clear stretch to the finish. 'A Century Of Losses' offers a welcome turn towards more openly melodious soundscaping, even introducing a rather lovely final phase marked out by sparse piano keyings.
Essentially, these are compositions that slot together as variants on a central sonic theme, and while the drones tend to dominate the recording, it's the curious location noises and hints towards an industrial setting that'll keep you listening carefully. Limited to 100 copies." BOOMKAT
"Boris Snauwaert is Haruki. His first release, 'Haphazardly, While Sitting' (see Vital Weekly 652) I didn't like very much, but his second 'To Humble A Nest' (see Vital Weekly 687) I did. They sounded quite different from eachother. The first one was quite improvised on a metal string instrument, whereas the second was a collection of pieces that had field recordings, electronics, analogue and digital and that rusty saw again. It seems now, with this new release that this is a combination that suits him quite well. All the elements of 'To Humble A Nest' are here again. Haruki plays drone like music, but from within a musical context. The melodies are a bit angular and at times even a bit piercing, especially when using a bow on the saw. But the addition of say a piano takes off the sharp edge and adds a great texture to the music. Quite a nice release, short and to the point. Haruki is maturing and this new release is quite a step forward. (FdW)" VITAL WEEKLY
"Fijn hebbeding". MIXTUUR / KLARA
"Het valt op dat het nieuwe mini-album van Gentenaar Boris Snauwaert vooral uitblinkt in drones en field recordings. Daarmee is het meeste over ‘The Land That Lies Behind Us’ zelfs al gezegd, buiten dan het feit dat Haruki duidelijk een aantal sterke composities
in elkaar kan steken. Zo is ‘The Quiet Side Of A Square’ een innemend spel met gevonden geluidjes, dat -durven we het woord emotioneel gebruiken? - treffend omslaat in de distortion van ‘You Were Harmless’. Aan de minder positieve kant willen nummers als ‘In The Time’ en ‘White Meadow’ dan weer eens verzanden in de platgetreden paden van Tim Hecker of late Fennesz. Een handvol aanraders en een handvol middelmatige tracks dus, maar geen van beiden hebben er baat bij dat het om een 3”cd gaat. (ts)" RIFRAF
For those who read Japanese:
"妖しいダウナーなムードの漂う反響音や、不規則に空間を縦断するアブストラクトなノイズ、鍵盤楽器のドローンなどと、微かな物音のようなフリーフォームなパーカッション、信号音のようなエフェクト〜クランチノイズ、チリヂリとしたマイクロ・エレクトロニックサウンド、コラージュチックに散りばめられた生音の断片などで展開される、アヴァン〜エクスペリメンタル〜エレクトロ・アコースティック・サウンド。綺麗なピアノ〜アコギフレーズなども混じっている穏やかなサウンドと、ややキツめのノイズやメロディの無いディープなサウンドの両方を組み合わせた、ミニマルな実験的なサウンドを作り上げています。The Land Ofからの作品がお好きだった方には今作もオススメです。全5曲22分収録。限定100枚でのリリースです。試聴はマイスペースよりレーベルサイトのほうが充実しているので(全5曲聴けます)、そちらのリンクを貼ってあります"
released March 12, 2010
Written and produced by Boris Snauwaert
Photography by Boris Snauwaert