A while ago, Thijs Troch found himself in the studio with some time left after he’d done some overdubs for an upcoming solo record with electronics. To use his remaining time efficiently, he recorded 26 Minuten, which sounds exactly like an album you record in the studio when you find yourself with some unexpected time left. Which isn’t to say that 26 Minuten is a hurried hodgepodge or a lazy affair, but it does stick to just a few simple ideas that probably didn’t need a lot of preparation. And then there’s the length. 26 minutes. For some bands that’s barely an EP’s worth of music, for others it represents an epic threshold. Just for comparison’s sake: it’s about the length of The Beach Boys‘ Friends, Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline or Nick Drake’s Pink Moon. Outstanding albums. Of course, legions of grinding punks needed less than that for their entire catalog.
The point being? No musician should ever feel obligated to keep going when brevity suffices. “Soundcheck I” is a carillon-like sound exploration that gets increasingly sinister. “8 Minuten” a minimalist exercise in sparseness and space. The dynamics become broader when “Soundcheck II” introduces new metallic textures before making a U-turn, while closer “Hyper” almost could’ve been played by Troch’s toddler. It playfully disintegrates like a piece of self-sabotage that lets imagination run its course. And with that askew finale, 26 Minuten reaches its end. It’s a curious little release and perhaps even a bit vexing in its unwillingness (or inability) to offer some closure, but I, for one, will always prefer a brief, somewhat stumbling exploration over a perfectly prepared exercise in conventionality that goes on for too goddamn long.
Thijs Troch - piano, prepared piano
Recorded 23/12/2021 at Studio Ledeberg by Peter Desmedt
Assisted by Gert Malfliet
Mastered at Cochlea by Gert Van Hoof
Cover picture by Annelies Biesbroeck
Liner notes by Guy Peters.
Big thanks to Sonja Van den Durpel, Chris Troch, Seppe Gebruers, Nils Vermeulen and Dries Geusens.
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