NM012: hydrus / kettel - narrominded split lp series #2

NM012: hydrus / kettel – narrominded split lp series #2

format: lp / digital
released: march 18 2004


side one
hydrus – chime ep

side two
kettel – yellow baron
1.thanks, friendly sorcerer
2.antique summerhideout
3.glance n2
4.why aren’t we talking
5.waking up early
6.weeping pillow II

The second installment in the split lp series is a Dutch affair, but it has everything it needs and more to soon make name far abroad. Each side of the record contains a complete work clocking in at about twenty minutes.


Side A is Chime EP by Hydrus. The four tracks they contributed stand out because of their meticulous production and their wonderful sense of melody and emotion. This is music in the best electronic tradition, blending hiphop, idm, ambient, funk, drone and badass breaks. Hydrus begins this twenty-minute journey with a funky bump and end it in a mess of nervous percussion, splintered to dust.


Side B is an altogether positive and quirky piece of work by Kettel. Kettel is Reimer Eising from the Dutch city of Groningen. In the past few years he enriched the great catalogues of labels such as Planet µ, Neo Ouija, Kracfive, Clone and Dub. His music covers the vast terrain between electronica, hiphop, IDM and more classically conceived music. According to Reimer music is about beauty, emotion and entertainment: ‘I know the whole world says it, but I say it three times louder. Every music without beauty is noise to me.’ He is an animal lover and cats, bunnies and cows sometimes grace the artwork of his record sleeves. Like most of his work of the last few years, Yellow Baron is exploding with beautiful melody. In six tracks Kettel puts everything to work to make your head bop, to bring a smile to your face and a tear to the corner of your eye. Classic stuff, without losing sense of experiment. The first spring record is here.

press downloads
hi-res image of cover
press release (english)
press release (dutch)


july 5 2004
by jonas andersson

dutch label narrominded got a very fine response to their first split lp – this is the second one, and it comes stronger and stronger for every listen, not least thanks to its melodic strength. hydrus (side a on this release) and kettel (side b), both acts originating from the netherlands, share many production values – namely clarity, melody, and harmlessness.
kettel, aka reimer eising, admittedly cares about one and only one thing in his music: ‘every music without beauty is noise to me.’ hydrus (herman wilken and almer lucke) are students at the royal conservatory in the hague. expect no haphazard fruity loops mashups then. yeah, sure there are beats here harking back to jungist dirt-styles, but obviously well-kept behind beautiful glass walls, ours to watch and not touch. elegiac is the word.
surely this rings absolutely true to this release; a fine example of contemporary electronic harmonics, very much in the vein of black dog and other forerunners of the nineties’ eclectic intelligentia. rhythms are distorted but never threatening enough to break out of the comforting, harmless, harmonically eager soundscape. melodically, especially kettel owes a debt to the originators behind the pan-european shift from folk/jazz in the seventies over to symphonic/electronic in the eighties (marc moulin over to vangelis and jarre, for example). their please-all, harm no-one legacy is still heard in the all-encompassing humanist, loving and caring ethos of this narrominded release.

june 5 2004
by david gunn

although of clear benefit to bedroom-twiddlers around the world, the affordability of compositional software is something of a double-edged skillet. whilst has given many artists an opportunity to explore new forms of composition, it has also led to a burgeoning growth of mediocre meandering. and, in many ways, the recent split lp series provides a neat exposition of this.
the split series are an ongoing set of long players released on dutch label narrominded, each divided into two complete works of around twenty minutes. the first of these was released towards the end of last year, and starts out very promisingly under the aegis of narrominded founders, living ornaments. in spirit, it exists somewhere in between fennesz’s early walls-of-glitch and the lush ambience of bowie’s moss garden. as the piece progresses, it oscillates between these extremes of abrasive granularity and synthetic idyll to great effect, creating a diverse collection of landscapes that are well worth exploring. to be critical, it does come across as an ep of moments rather than a more structured, coherent statement, but in the main it is a enjoyable, promising work. which is more than can be said of side 2, inhabited by accelera deck. the first track, a 15 minute drone work, does little to endear him – there may be moments of interest but nowhere near enough to justify the effort required. the latter tracks are better, but still, the sense of adolescent indulgence is hard to shake.
by contrast, split series no 2 is a far more balanced affair. the first half is occupied by the debut ep of dutch artists hydrus. the artists behind hydrus are current studying at the sonology department of the royal conservatory of the hague, and this release does feel slightly academic – a little over-fussy and self-conscious. however when they do relax, the work is engaging – with an ability to combine serene clarity with some rather complex and varied rhythmical detailing. kettel’s work is also strong, but represents a rather more upbeat and disordered bag of fun. exhibiting a similar preference for simple melodics, kettel’s approach distinguishes him by his liberal use squelches, rattles and a host of other noises drawn from the crib of a add baby. there is a self-conscious innocence here too, but at the album’s best moments, it is accompanied by an off-kilter playfulness that prevents the music from veering into outright sentimentalism.
the split lp series, then, is by no means an unmitigated success. however, it has begun to provide an invaluable platform for a series of artists who seem to be finding their own voices in an admirable manner. and if you’re looking for an opportunity to sample some unknown and interesting electronica, this series is well worth seeking out.

original article

june 1 2004
by ruud lekx

nm012-hydrus-kettel-narrominded-split-lp-series-2-hydrus-chime ep-kettel-yellow baron-fret-review

may 29 2004
by koen poolman

nm012-hydrus-kettel-narrominded-split-lp-series-2-hydrus-chime ep-kettel-yellow baron-oor-review

splendid e-zine
may 11 2004
by allan harrison

Notwithstanding the different approaches of the two artists involved, this split LP from Dutch label Narrominded offers 44 minutes of plangent, downbeat, brilliantly amorphous electronica. The clinical, desolate qualities of Hydrus’s contributions are best expressed on the opening “Qupex”, whose stark, clipped beats and woozily sad orchestral melody best recall “Tri Repetae”-era Autechre. Elsewhere, “Evolve” is an evocative, vibes-tinted glitch fest, while “Mighty-Tally” offers seven clattering minutes of distorted, hyper-percussive drum ‘n’ bass.
In the disc’s second, considerably quirkier half, Kettel lays his saggy-eyed melodies over a jerky, skittering strain of gleefully funky errorism. “Antique Summerhideout” welcomes in the season by layering ghostly chipmunk wails over an escalating melody, beneath which a squelchy, burbling break-beat works itself into a writhing sweat. “Glance N2” and “Why Aren’t We Talking?” also fool with drum ‘n’ bass, but of the catchily melody-propelled variety.
Despite the seeming incongruity of the two artists involved, the LP flows as a curious and diverse whole, making for perhaps the finest collection of Dutch electronica you’ll likely to hear all year.

fat bankroll
may 7 2004
by magnus

Holländska skivbolaget Narrominded startade som en CDr-etikett i början på år 2000. Då var det mest ambient och lo-fi som prioriterades. Numera har de fokus på elektronisk mumbo jumbo och riktiga vinylsläpp. Denna skiva är andra delen av bolagets split serie. Albumen släpps enbart på vinyl och endast i 300 exemplar. Lustigt nog så bemödar sig grabbarna som driver Narrominded att skicka ut CDr promos av albumen, trots deras begränsade upplagor.
På denna skiva samsas två holländska akter. Först ut är duon Hydrus, som består av Herman Wilken och Almer Lucke. Deras sida heter “Chime EP”, men det är inte någon Orbitalsk house det bjuds på här. Det osar istället tidig brittisk electronica. Lite Skam-aktiga skojigheter, vokalt klipp-och-klistrande, breaks och mörka strängar à la “Amber”. Totalt överlägset bäst är utan tvekan avslutande spåret. En fantistisk, lite galen, pots’n’pans-drill’n’bass historia, med svävande, spökiga och stämningsfulla syntackord. Det påminner lite om AFX och Squarepushers samarbete på Warps samling “WAP100”, men det spelar ingen roll. En brutalt svängig låt är det!
Reimer Eising får väl i sammanhanget kallas pojkspoling. Blott 22 år gammal har han redan hunnit släppa ett dussintal skivor under namnet Kettel. Hans sida av den här LP:n heter “Yellow Baron” och ståtar med 6 kortare låtar i gladtronica-genren. Om Hydrus får sägas vara inspirerad av herrarna Sean Booth och Rob Brown så spåras nog Reimers musikaliska rötter till Ed Handley och Andrew Turner. De få Kettelskivor jag hört innan har varit lite svajiga i kvalitet, men här lyckas de ibland löjligt snälla Casio-melodierna och digitalt funkiga beatsen samsas riktigt bra. Riktigt underhållande och knarrigt blir det.
Summa summarum alltså en kvalitetsskiva med bra elektronik, varken mer eller mindre. Narrominded är ett skivbolag att hålla utkik efter i framtiden. Med sådana här bra plattor blir det många krediter och möjligheter till omspel.

may 5 2004
by garet guitard

This release is the second instalment in a series of split LP’s by the Dutch label Narrominded. With this series Dutch artists share a side of vinyl with others from around the world. Chime/Yellow Baron, though, pairs two Dutch artists, Hydrus and Kettel. Hydrus creates dreamy techno laden with operatic swells, filling the air with choirs of effected vocals that seem to raise the spirit high. Small nuances of tinkering rhythms float around with some grunginess moaning beneath it. Track four changes gears into a hyper scattered and splattered drum & bass affair that grows more and more chaotic. Kettel is more of a positive, pop-driven, finger-tapping techno that causes one to feel slightly giddy while a smile emerges upon the scene. It’s feel-good music for people who maybe need a little pick-me-up or who just enjoy the daylight opening up the day or revere life and everything in general – sweetronica.

original article

april 16 2004
by theo ploeg

Last year Living Ornaments shared a record on Narrominded. Now part two is here with Hydrus and Kettel. Herman Wilken en Almer Lücke -Hydrus- from Haarlemmermeer hope to graduate on sonology at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague this year. Their EP Chime (the first side of this split lp) is as wonderful as their devastating performance at the Grasshopper Festival in Haarlem last year. Taking off with the dreamy and pulsating ambient of the first track ‘Qupex’ to the hectic breakcore of ‘Mighty-Tally’, the duo builds a fine little masterpiece in which the spirit of the old Aphex Twin is never far away.
Reimer Eising from Groningen is steadily making name for himself as Kettel. These last few years he released records on labels as Planet µ, Dub, Mouthmoth, U-cover and Kracfive and he is a regular guest at VPRO radio’s 3voor12 program. On ‘Yellow Baron’ (side B of this split LP) he more than lives up to his reputation. His material sounds accessible, happy and poppy. And that is quite something, considering all the changes in tempo, the strange rhythms, samples and numerous layers of sounds on top of each other.
Narrominded has made only 300 copies of this split LP. So get it while you still can.

original article

norman records
april 8 2004

Narrowminded records have flung us some Kettel/Hydrus split LPs & what a tasty treat of electronic soup we have here. Now Kettel are widely credited for creating most splendid melodic IDM of the most spiffing sort. Great sounds, interesting arrangements, top tunes & the like. All I can say about track 2 on here is Aphex Twin circa ’95-’97, melodic drill & bass period. Twinkling neo-classical gorgeousness on a par with god’s jukebox. Also Japanese breakcore genius The Flashbulb springs to mind on T4 doing his less frantic thang. A real treat! The Hydrus side is more of the same really. Just incredibly good electronica from the Planet Quality.

original article

april 7 2004
by roland from poland

Hydrus – opens the split LP .2 with the downtempo, darkish, melodic atmospherics of ‘Qupex’ spitting electro bips. ‘Evolve’ tickles the ears with 909 hi hats under thematic chimes and wriggles the hips in an angular landscape. ‘Cave’ sounds familiar, with rolling bass beneath clouds of pads like the best of those old Ambient Dub tracks, underpinned by crisp kick, snare & blip programming. ‘Mighty-tally’ takes off from the launch pad in a completely different vein, gold plated knitting needles rolling around the biscuit tin in a well controlled sprint of a distorted beat mash, sustained cinematics washing up on the shore to balance the chaos in some nifty fader action.
Kettel – Reimer Eising to his mother – is based in Holland, where he turns out tightly produced, beautiful, tuneful tracks with a mastery of rhythm and humour second to none. The six tracks here are all positive, funky movers, with subtle vocals, (‘glance n2’) interwoven manipulated speech samples, atmospherics, melodies and bass frequencies which are right up my alley. Both structured and chaotic, bless him, he even manages to get a lawnmower on there and still make it sound chilled and upbeat. My pick of the bunch – anyone got his address?

march 31 2004
by sam

“Qupex” instantly fills your head with a long ringing pulse which gradually plonks a message of ambience whilst the glitchy thud beat warms up in the distance. Stammering intakes of breath float through the air encased in perfectly blue capsules which gently press into each other giving off a sparkly but liquid melody.Pattern program beats and small robots with glass hands usher you through the wormhole, luckily its only 700clicks to earth, excellent.
“Cave” bubbles like a news report simmerng away on a stove made from old spaceship sections,keep an eye on it,it could well boil over. The atmopshere just leaks off this track, as the tiny squelchy baubles of tomorrows air, pop and burst all around your shiny metallic face. Finally developing into a smooth paced trip to the place you have never been. Cool track. “Mighty-tally” slyly walks next to you and enforces its pipe echoing voice onto your audio receptors and there is nowt you can do about it. In a drop of a small droids hat, the track flips, kaining you with a breakbeat assault with a small side salad of subdued melody, which like a ray of sunshine gradualy breaks through. A chaotic but carefully planned audio trip into the deep workings of Mr Hydrus. Excellent.
Side 2 is all about “Kettel”
“Thanks friendly sorcerer” is a free ride on the back of a massive turtle made of sponge, as he on purpose bashes into all the machines he can find. A heartbeat like bass pushes and retracts itself along whilst clattering ricochet barrels of stolen diamond fall out of the walls like heavy rain. Character rich marzipan memories induced by huge powerpill Kettel is feeding you. Excellent.
Floating just above the earths surface , you and the red robot are having big fun, he is singing to you in a very rich voice as his legs bounce up and down on small springs,creating a beat pulse which waves to the passers by.Its party time, all in the mind of a protocol droid.I love it. “Why arent we talking” captures your imagination from the very beginning ad gives off a old squarepusher style vibe. The hyperfas beat melts easily into the landscape inducing melody which Kettel is giving off, as you fall into a massive robots arms, and your head rolls off like a pineapple.
Narrominded are laying down the skills with this continued series of Split Lp’s, A recommended release to get your small wire like fingers all up and on.
Get it.

autres directions
march 31 2004
by stéphane

Narrominded publie son deuxième split LP (deux Eps sur deux faces d’un 12″) après celui réunissant Living Ornaments et Accelera Deck. Il s’agit cette fois encore de deux artistes “electronica”, Hydrus d’une part, duo hollandais qui délivre ici sa toute première production, et Kettel de l’autre, artiste également hollandais (comme Narrominded) que l’on connaît pour ses participations à des catalogues relativement prestigieux (Neo Ouija, Planet-Mu…).
Les Chime Ep d’Hydrus est varié ; le premier titre, Qupex, évoque directement le label Expanding : des sons profonds, des bruits de foule, créant des reliefs, des mélodies organiques évoluant… Herman Wilken & Almer Lücke, les deux protagonistes d’Hydrus, dévoilent un talent certain pour mettre en branle un univers cohérent et ce de manière presque immédiate, et Evolve, avec son jeu sur les voix et ses nappes éthérées de violons synthétiques, ne fait que renforcer cette impression d’immersion. Cave est plus minimal, plus rythmique de prime abord, avant de ne déverser des effluves mélodiques à son tour. Pour clôturer Chime, Hydrus a utilisé Mighty-Tally, titre long et au tempo bien plus brutal, à la manière d’un Squarepusher.
Je tourne le disque. Et aussitôt, Kettel charme. Son dernier maxi Look At This, Ha Ha Ha (12″ chez Kracfive, fin 2003), était délicieux. La mélodie de Thanks, Friendly Sorcerer, comme tirée d’un vieux film populaire des années 70, s’accorde parfaitement à des aléas électroniques. Comme un Boards Of Canada tubesque, puis de nouvelles mélodies viennent se superposer et compliquent un peu plus la structure. Kettel peut composer des ritournelles d’une délicatesse incroyable (Antique Summerhideout), y frotter des rythmiques rigides et complexes sans qu’aucune magie ne s’en échappe. Une petite douceur (Why Aren’t We Talking, et un tube (Waking Up Early), puis encore un tube (Waking Up Early). Le talent de Reimer Eising/Kettel semble décidément n’avoir pour égal que sa générosité.

vital weekly
march 10 2004
by frans de waard

On the label that don’t live up to their name, the second split LP, following the one they released last year with Accelera Deck and Living Ornaments. Here they go for an all Dutch line up. Hydrus is a duo of Herman Wilken and Almer Lucke who met at the department of Sonology in The Hague, but also played in rock bands and composing serious works. As Hydrus however they digest their influences Autechre and Plaid and loads of other Warp acts, but their pleasant electronic music has lots of quality of its own. From held-back, laidback tunes such as the first piece up to fierce drum and bass in their final piece.
The other side is occupied by Kettel, aka Reimer Eising. He is more known for his releases on labels such as Planet U, Neo Ouija, Kracfive and Dub. He has six tracks of very melodic and pleasent intelligent dance music, very much along the lines of music released on the labels mentioned, but that should hardly be surprise. Cheery and funny uptempo music. Personally I enjoyed the Kettel side more than the Hydrus, which seemed to be in a finding their own style process and things have worked out for Kettel already. Kettel’s compositions are more worked out, a bit shorter and a bit more funny. But both sides are truely nice, and it’s good to hear this kind of music from my own country…

original article

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