(10.18.06) Dutch artist Reimer Eising, a.k.a. Kettel, delivers us with My Dogan (Sending Orbs, 2006) another piece of bitter-sweet nostalgia. What I particularly liked about this album isn't its originality. Rather, it is the way it mixes so many influences of electronica in a fresh and joyful way. Emotions softly distilled, tracks beautifully crafted and entirely dedicated to the evocation of things gone, sad and merry.
Kettel's special talent is not on the experimental side, but both in composing and producing. When carefully listening, you might be able to notice, for instance, some almost subliminal samples - ambient ones, or voices, as in the second track, "Dogan 9247," birds on track 13, "Sylvia" (at the beginning - they are not subliminal at all at the end...).
Also, the electronic sounds are amidst the best processed ones I have heard lately. Not too much effect; there's no trying to blow up our minds, just the needed reverbs, pans and delays so the pieces can come smoothly to our ears with all its details and nuances and do its work of remembrance. Because, yes, all this seems to be about souvenirs, and evokes things like, a now past merry childhood, a scratched super-8 movie, children playing on the beach... Beautiful memories, that might hurt, nonetheless, because they are memories of dead things.
If you like detuned melodies and their strong appeal to the memory zones of our brains, you're likely to fully enjoy the 18 tracks of this album. Boards of Canada comes in mind, but the strength of Kettel and what prevents him from being a clone is his ability to instill his own feelings and emotions in his tracks. Reimer also uses some real-like instrument sounds like the piano and the chords on "Follow me!" (track 9), but he doesn't try to cheat us: the way these parts are processed and quantized make it clear they are digital and it puts us a bit further in the realms of nostalgia - at least for those who can remember the good ol' times of MIDI music.
My advice on this album is that it is a really great piece, for its ability to move us deeply, softly, and for the great quality of the composition.