It is somehow fitting, (and comforting) that today I’m sitting listening to “Laaksum”, an album of creative beauty from composer/musician Gert Boersma, otherwise known as SILMUS. For today is just 24 hours on from the news of the passing of ‘Talk Talk’ frontman Mark Hollis. A feather has fallen, yet can still be heard.
While walking down the street on no particular day in his hometown Leeuwarden, it was the discovery of a single feather that brought back memories from days of youth and long forgotten scenes from early childhood. After more than 30 years, the feather triggered SILMUS to go back to a little inland bay in the southside of Friesland, the North of the Netherlands: Laaksum. It was the perfect picture to the sounds he would later create.
Assisted by Jan Theodoor Borger on piano, Minco Eggersman on drums, and Guy Gellem on cello, “Laaksum” is awash with ambient soundscapes, reminiscent of a post-rock era in which the likes of Mark Hollis, and before him a Berlin-era David Bowie and Brian Eno, made their music with little else in mind other than the music itself.
This is one of those albums that can be as equally melancholic as it can be uplifting. The music comes at you in gentle waves, like a meditation on the breath, gently breathing in, mindfully breathing out. Its nature is peaceful, relaxing, contemplative. Like a small pebble thrown into a large pond, the quiet waters ripple outward, before falling silent once more.
Gorgeous guitar melodies make me think of an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. Luscious strings make me think of a Max Richter composition. Atmospheric subtleties of sound make me think of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays on As Falls Wichita So Falls Wichita Falls. And as a whole, this album makes me think of friends, family, endearing memories, and the impermanence of everything. Take some time out of a busy life to reflect awhile. Like a feather drifting in the wind, music can be timeless. Let it in, let it flow, let things go…