Esc Rec is an interesting label, started and still steered by Harco Rutgers. The label’s catalogue releases a wide range of styles which tends to put people off (listeners like to see a label stand for a clearly defined style or genre, like Factory Records, INA GRM or EG Records) but quality of sound and packaging is in general perfect. And one might say that this level of quality is the label’s defining selling point. Aside from different musical styles Esc Rec also has a knack for special packaging. This case is no different. The music was sold on a USB stick inside a bar of soap. Since the process of making soap is quite intense and since this is low budget personal release the number of soap bars was very limited and has been sold out now. What rests (for a long while) is digital release on Bandcamp.
So, let’s dig in to the music. It’s main protagonist, aside from composer Michiel van de Weerthof, is a sampler. The sounds sampled and played are instruments (in the classic definition) and personal and household nature. This brings a homely and non-pretential atmosphere to this release. The tracks are short, are of a sketchy structure and because of their MIDI basis tend to be in strict tempo (although there are tempo changes). And I don’t know what to make of it, actually. It’s interesting, one moment pretentious and quite cheesy the next. Composers like Nicolas Bernier, whose works also are for a major part sample based, include sampling as a kind of meta-layer into their music which gives them a reason to go much deeper with the technology of sampling and be more adventurous in slicing and layering and juxtaposing. Weerthof didn’t go there and stayed closer to home. But I guess that’s exactly what Michiel van Weerthof wanted it to be and in that sense it’s a successful project.