14 Nov 2021

Experimental, Soundtrack, | Release date: 03 Oct 2021

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When one of the forerunners of new Belgian Post-Metal releases an album, then it’s something one should listen to. In the case of BARST‘s new record REAL it’s actually something one should look at and listen to. Best on a real big screen.

BARST – a project helmed by one of Belgian’s free-thinkers, Bart Desmet – this time took a huge leap by no simply releasing a number of new songs but together with long-time collaborator Niels Verwijk filmed a complete movie and it’s not a short one, with more than 40 minutes length. And not enough for the two – they created a real audio-visual experience as the two elements were equally important and influenced each other immensely, yeah they are in some ways not-dividable, but depend on the other. The movie strongly influenced on the audio and vice-versa.

When one thinks about that strong conceptualization, it becomes clear how hard and intense the production must have been; however, when you get to know that most of the shooting was done during the biblical flooding of Western Europe in the summer of 2021 (when watching the movie that can even be seen) then the whole endeavor becomes even more impressive, especially since the movie is the total opposite of “hectic” or “afraid”. It narrates its story in a very calm, elegant and elegic kind of way with many long shots and simple but highly effective lay-overs.

Musically the work is also quite impressive because of the flow and pull-effect of the music. The song (yes, one 43 minutes-song!) starts off with some droney parts layered over a guitar-feedback that oscillates a lot and then leads into a somewhat Maghrebbian, Arabic style without these flickering guitars the region is known for. After this passage the song withdraws a bit and uses the oscillation and develops a crunchier element that is much closer to BARST’s former work. And after that comes the best part – a very simply-clad outro that takes its time and becomes more and more rewarding. The semi-acoustic guitar sounds a little bit hollow and that makes it even “better” as the sound has a bit of a breathing effect and thus fits perfectly to its name.

Now, of course, one must try to envision the whole thing (see the movie-link below) in order to be able to answer whether it is a consistent and emotionally effective work. Having had the chance to watch the movie at the Consouling Sounds 24 Hours of Deep Listening event in Ghent at the beginning of October I can answer that question wholeheartedly: The movie is a perfect example how a real audio-visual experience can happen and in some strange way is very rewarding and wholesome, yes, even healthy in a way. The movie shows some very elegant passages and the soundtrack is really well-made. It is REAL in a sense that it shows a side of life that is very human, very simple and very clear – what is shows is real and what is real is being wonderfully, harmonically supported by a mesmerizing soundtrack. After having watched the movie by now six times I can say that this is an experience every lover of abstract music should listen to.

And now here is the real thing: REAL