Monday W – The Dirt – REVIEW

Monday W – The Dirt

“Ah, some percussive guitar playing. Do I hear some Frippertronics there? A demo for an Explosions in the Sky intro, maybe? Wait a second, there are 65 of their ditties, snapshots, and musical guitar Polaroids, one might say. 65!
It shouldn’t really be a surprise esc. rec from Deventer not only delivers musical goods on a very frequent basis and with stellar results, but the label also excels in physical niceness, often with neat packaging, original hand-printed designs, et cetera. And with clever artistic concepts, too.
Hidde van Schie = Monday W or vice versa, whatever you like. He has made the 65 short-form pieces collected under the title The Dirt. Basically, five albums of 13 tracks featuring only electric guitar: a “documentation of a series of spontaneous experiments with texture and composition.”
Pure, simple, pretty fragile and remember the catalogue charts of colours Gerhard Richter made? Well, in all variations, there’s undoubtedly coherence in an unbalanced equilibrium between colour and texture, effect loop and clean signal, and analogue recording and digital processing.

There’s a searching, unsteady quality to these tunes – an uncertainness, in a way – trying hard not to be fixed or fixated. Yet the digital versions, the five albums, are indeed manifested, set in stones of ones and zeros. Maybe that’s why Van Schie also made a physical edition consisting of 50 unique(!) cassettes with improvisations recorded directly on tape, an edition of 6 small photos, a poster with accompanying text and a download code for the five albums. And the tape is an altogether different proposition, for this a one-on-one encounter per se. Here, the connection between the recording artist and listener is as immediate and short-circuited as one basically gets, short of a private live concert.

Van Schie shares two poignant memories on the spectacular riso-printed poster. Both inform a potential context for the music. Or you can instantly try and forget about these. Let the mind wander in magical wonder. Of sounds heard and music unheard. Or good news and bad. Thoughts floating on their own wavelengths or concentrated layerings of the drone. Of expansion and contraction. Tales of a garbage heap of colour, low vibrating frequencies, and shrill echoes. Complex, frail, intense and movingly up-close and personal, The Dirt monumentalises something like a literary form that might be called ‘an empty plot’ in the most poetic of ways.”

Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg for Vital Weekly 2023