Tim Van Eyck’s debut release is expected to surprise and perhaps intrigue. Entitled re-mains and composed of six pieces, the EP carries a nostalgia, a je ne sais quoi, which prompts the listener to pause and listen. What probably got the attention of the American label it is released on, Circa Recordings, is the fact that Van Eyck does not seem to wish to fit with trends, and contrarily, wishes to go his own way. re-mains seems to be to music, what spleen is to French poetry.
The particularity of Van Eyck’s piano sound is what strikes first, and onwards, from “home” until “a weary heart shatters it all”. The music seems to become completely free, almost as if it were an impromptu. And this is not surprising, as “something”, “valentine” or “wandering”, all show the influence of romantic music — particularly Chopin —, an intention which is carried throughout the EP. There is almost an oxymoronic idea between the musical language and the musical sound — such as in “wandering” — as if there were the conscious presence of traditional harmony clashing against a wish to convey a sense of nostalgia through a modern production. Quite some time was left between the two phases of composition and production of the pieces, and this allowed Van Eyck to take some distance from them, and experience them differently: this is one the main reasons why they ended sounding this way. In “nadir”, there is a very particular atmosphere created by the production, a sort of underwater feeling, and with the composition of this piece, it all really creates a sense of excitement; a feeling of nostalgia, emphasised by the under-layer of strings, growing slowly. In the composer’s own words, re-mains conceptually intends to capture the feelings of watching an experience go from lived to memory, from present to past; and observing what is left, what remains.
Van Eyck’s re-mains is a very interesting release; with a particular care on how the shape influences the essence, and how a feeling can be expressed through both these mediums. The listener cannot stand unaffected by the sense of nostalgia of the EP, that little something which seems to be slipping away. A feeling of déjà vu, a sense of familiarity, yet entirely unique material. Van Eyck mentions the economics of music, and how his medium — and its limits — shapes his music; the solo piano is both an artistic and economic choice. re-mains is the proof that limitations breeds inspiration. I just did things to be honest, made music I wanted to hear, says Van Eyck…