CD Pastiche 2016

Peek-A-Boo: 94/100

"This is not just a good or fine CD, it is a magnum opu"

There is one band in the Belgian music scene you can’t put in any category, and that is Hedera Helix. Is it a music project? Is it a theater project or just a spectacle? Electro-cabaret? YES! It's theater, often with surprising visual scenes and a lyrical play that is often hard to understand. Sometimes you hear Dutch and other languages, and a mixture of electro, syntpop, industrial pop and dark wave. Hedera Helix calls it intellectro.

After 13 years there finally is a new album. They prefer quality over quantity, this is not just a good or fine CD, it is a magnum opus.

Abstract is a quiet opener with spherical and intoxicating sounds. Electroshock is genius dark wave with subtle guitars. The titillation of the process,described in the track, is almost palpable: the cracking of pads, the bleeps of the measurements. It's all there.

Folky female vocals open Col Cassé, followed by an eighties synth-like sound with a very rude and abrupt guitar after a few seconds. The track is about a writer's block and the spirit that no longer finds the words: drink extinguishes the brain... like a burning lump... typed or concealed... discard what does not work...

The album excels in terms of diversity and each track is a mix of styles. Comorbitumen has influences of minimal synth wave, post-punk, industrial and distortion. Beats find their way through the EBM track Hypnochonder, and we hear a mirage of oriental sounds. So far we heard no real dancefloor killer, but that’s fixed now!

A melancholic sounding piano introduces the dark wave track Nano Cortex. O.V. Kandinsky sounds dark and menacing. The guitars are used as a sledgehammer, but then the piano rreturns in the final.

Dolmen has noise, psychedelic guitars and a flood of verses (in stereo, left and right): sublime if you ask me.

Electronics are overshadowed by imminent and vibrant guitar growls in Colhozeh. The lyrics are mysterious and disarming. Again several styles, blended seamlessly. In the end, you find yourself in an underground afterparty club. Reflexum has influences of new beat with dark vocals.

Noise, crackling distortion, drones, classic synths, drum machines, these are the ingredients of Electrical Mantra. Popular is minimal wave/synth pop.

Torment sounds as painful as the title suggests. Mollusque closes the album: minimal synth wave with Kandinsky in French: and God created woman, mais aussi le ver de terre. C'est ainsi que je déclâme: c'est la femme que je préferre...

13 years is the time it took to make this album. Just like a spirituous liquor, you need maturation and fermentation to taste it. It's like tasing wine: you spit out the first sip. Afterwards, you can enjoy it as a flawless and perfect product. This album is just like that.

Pastiche is a large and diversified album. Lyrically it's a discovery. This album belongs in anyone’s collection.

(Peek-A-Boo, Jurgen BRAECKEVELT)

Coalescaremonium 2016

"één van de hoogtepunten van Coalescaremonium 2016"

"The avant-garde electro boys and girls of Hedera Helix played in the Concert Room. The nice thing is that you never know what to expect. And therefore, they waited to release the first beats until half past six. And this time it was a nice combination of assorted electro, regularly punctuated with guitar and backed by two dancers and a (!) butler. The audience was well present and enthusiastic, the show entertaining, the music good."

(Peek-a-Boo, Jurgen Braeckevelt)

Gothic Festival 2009

"the crowd really liked it and the band seemed to have quite some fans"

Hedera helix emerged in 2000 as a three-piece line-up of seasoned musicians which have produced since the band’s inception a couple of musical pieces within a varying stylistic range but not released any album thus far according to the scarce information I could find. Hedera helix is Oscar V. Kandinsky (lyrics, music, vocals), Maestro Virgule (keys, backing vocals), Goss (guitar, trombone, backing vocals), Öscr (visuals), Palacinta ( visuals) and Öswld (visuals).

Music & Performance: now that was a really special one. Actually, you’d have to say it’s much more of a performance than with anyone else. Hedera helix from the Netherlands doesn’t intend to present their music in any way the common audience is used to. They’re making it more of an act. This act started with a very danceable first song intermingling guitars as well as synth work, delivered by the guys - Peter De Koning and Steven Gossye - on the left and right on platform they wouldn’t be leaving for the entire show. That fact left much room for the singer and poet Bart De Poorter to move but it wouldn’t just be him as it turns out. But first it was only him, wearing sort of a priest’s uniform and not singing but reciting poetry. The problem was that I didn’t understand a word because it was all in Dutch as the rest of the texts would be as well. With the next song he would also start chanting, which was not extraordinary to my ears.

The extraordinary came with ‘Hypochonder’, the third song in the set. A guy - Öscr - slowly came on stage with a big fish in his hands, imitating swimming movements and then handing it over to De Poorter, who gave it a away alter to another guy - Öswld - who left the stage the same way the other entered it. But that’s not nearly the end of the line. For the next song we saw the two guys from before returning with what I suspect to be a bible, they would open and hold, while De Poorter seemed to quote a prayer or something. At that moment I cursed myself for not understanding Dutch. Would’ve helped here definitely this time around and I suppose be fundamental for a deeper understanding of their overall performance and how it’s connected to the lyrics. What I didn’t expect at all, the crowd really liked it and the band seemed to have quite some fans in Belgium or wherever they actually came from. As for me, it solely musically didn’t strike a big chord with me, but the performance; they laid down almost made that up completely.

(Sebastian Huhn - Reflections of Darkness)