Jeugdbrand is the voice (Dennis Tyfus) and the beat (Jeroen Stevens) of Antwerp. They perform a sparkling drama, a theatrical tragedy, marinated in our classic Antwerp anarchic sense of humor. Recorded at Joris Caluwaerts’ Finster Studios – a landmark in Belgian music.
Inside the multiverse that is Dennis Tyfus’ oeuvre there exists this body of detailed pencil drawings of various sizes. In these drawings the artist puts himself in many tragic situations. Like vomiting on his way home after a long night at the bar. Boiling right wing idiots. Telling sweet little lies on your Tinder profile. Or, you know, taking out the garbage on a Sunday evening. The horror. These seemingly hermetic pencil drawings show a deceivingly simple world. But you’re often stuck with a bitter aftertaste when you understand a bit more what is actually happening behind the colorful masque.
When it comes to his music – and in contrast to aforementioned drawings – Dennis pencils a more piecemeal picture. His recordings and performances often feel like spliced excerpts. Strange sentences and funny remarks waiver by and interconnect. Musical symbols are casually thrown on the table. Instead of a clear picture, we now have the feeling of looking at a bunch of different doodles. Like… sometimes I have the feeling compared to how focussed Dennis works on his drawings, how unfocussed and sketchy he treats his music. We are simply thrown from emotion to emotion. From laughter to tears. It’s a bumpy ride.
I’d like to imagine that Dennis constantly notates all the shards of conversation he picks up during his regular walks in the centre of Antwerp – a wormhole congested with characters, the one more tragic than the other. In a kind of R. Murray Schafer way, Dennis takes in every sentence very un-arbitrary… and that’s the soundscape. Dramatic, normal, boasted, silly, urgent…
Enter Jeroen Stevens. Antwerp’s number one percussionist. If I would have to list all the bands he performs in this text, well, we would be truly wasting data and printers. Jeroen is the grand gift of the wellschooled session musician. But thank the heavens of white improv, he is also sweet and creative. Jeugdbrand is his second entry in the Edições CN catalogue, after taking care of some of the percussive fragments on the “KAGIROI” LP with Sugai Ken (2021). Recently Jeroen has been performing very lengthy – thus correct – performances of Satie’s Vexations for midi instrumentation; Christmas music; and his famed De Stoeltjes project, where he covers Stooges songs on a camping chair. Apparently much to the confusion of Iggy himself. This might all feel like a big joke to you, but when you dare to listen, you will have to admit that Steven’s adventurous music is very rewarding. Special stuff.
The music of Jeugdbrand reminds me a bit of the music of the late Ghédalia Tazartès – especially when it comes to reinterpreting and combining musical idioms – but trying to put a direct reference on this album does it a bit short. Most important, this is music how it could be: incomprehensible, hilarious, serious, ludicrous, well crafted, sloppy, non-genre. With a strong sense of personality. You know, a fragmented beam for your own overstimulated temple. To shake things up a little … “They told us, they told her. I told everybody.”The albums comes with a drawing by German artist Albert Oehlen and with a text by Angela Sawyer of Weirdo Records, Boston.