Belgian ensemble Silvester Anfang improvised tribal satanic hippy music that
bordered on both acid folk and gothic rock.
Their early recordings were leaning towards abstract soundscaping techniques.
The single-sided cassette Damnation On Tweede Kerstdag (Funeral Folk, 2004) contains an eleven-minute collage of random instrumental sounds.
The single-sided cassette Silvester Anfang (Funeral Folk, 2005) is 23
minutes of subliminal and almost inaudible sounds,
Raping The Goat (2005) contains two 18-minute improvisations,
Raping The Goat, whose loose aggregate of random sonic events resembles
atonal chamber music and free jazz,
and Ripping The Rectum, in which the atonal guitar battles a lazy
saxophone at a tenser swinging tempo before the whole turns into a hare-krishna dance.
Most of them were self-indulgent, to say the least.
De Vrije Beyaerdiers (2005), the first major collection, delivered:
a mini-concerto for shamanic percussions,
Lo And Behold The Free Beyaerdiers;
a twelve-minute study in chaos and droning,
Lange Verneukte Drone Pt I;
the cacophonous vignette Anfang Ritueel;
the childish ballet of Return Of The Beyaerd in which the players seem to try whatever instrument they found at the nearby pawnshop;
the accurately titled Medieval Mongoloid Bigband;
and the more "refined" exploration of tones and drones of Redelijk Lange Drone.
This was still a wildly self-indulgent work of abstract improvisation.
We Creep Within Dark Places (2005), the second major collection,
is another hodgepodge of randomly conceived and casually executed ideas.
The ten-minute Man Met De Bokkepoot stands out because it creates
a solid foundation with
droning accordion, frantic bells and tom-tom on which an
amateurish flute attempts to improvise.
The eight-minute Troops Of Silvester focuses even more heavily on the
Bukkake Ritual, instead, returns to their favorite loose fantasias
for percussion and random notes.
The shadow of a melody surfaces in Nachtschade.
This is still a chaotic and crude work although some structure is beginning to emerge.
The chaos finally coalesced on
Satanische Vrede (K-RAA-K3, 2006) and yielded the propulsive
psychotic 13-minute dance
Kraaien Op Het Veld/ Demonische Agricultuur II, even if it ended
in the usual vacuum of ideas.
Even more cohesive is Verkracht Door Demonen, a wilder dance
built out of many small sonic events.
The shorter pieces too suddenly display musical skills and a passion for rhythm.
Echte Vlaamse Geiten (Eclipse, 2006) contained only four pieces
and each had its own identity, whether the
sleepy blues jam of Satanische Slang Vernietig De Aarde
or the street dance of Het Bestormen Van De Verdoemenisberg.
The 22-minute Demonische Agricultuur represented their most ambitious
work yet, roughly consisting of four stages: first free-form percussion, then harsh dissonance, then
rhythm and finally psychedelic distortion.
By the time they released the double-disc Heidense Maagden (2006),
Silvester Anfang had perfected the art of the collective dance, in which
every instrument contributes to the rhythm in one manner or another.
The 28-minute Orthodoxe Schapen undergoes mutations that correspond
to different propulsion stages. At about halfway the bells of a church
signal the end of the dance. The music decays into anarchy but then slowly
returns to a dancing pattern.
At the same time, Demonarchie proved that their skills at soundpainting
had become more sophisticated.
The 25-minute Ongetiteld
leverages both skills, being another romp of the first kind
(with a stronger pow-wow beat) but with
cosmic keyboards of the second kind surrounding it, and electronic noise
driving it into a dissonant chasm.
The cinematic aspect had also improved dramatically: the
shamanic recitation of Geitekeutel is submerged by nightmarish distortion
and by magniloquent drums.
The single-sided cassette Het Orkest Van Scheuten En Speugen (2006)
bridges the old and new style. A chaos of percussion and atonal sounds slowly
coalesced around a rhythm set by guitar and tambourine.
When this dies out, a terrifying drone takes over. The music rapidly
decays into anarchy, but at the every end a macabre singalong rising from the
The single-sided cassette Spontane Opnames 1 (2007) contains two
pieces: the eleven-minute galactic chaos of Zoetieboelie Astrobrol,
and the 24-minute Dadaistic hysterically atonal orgy Voor Kerstdag Wil Ik Enkel Jou Boubou (a rare case of aggressive mood in their opus).
The mini-album Levend Op De Brandstapel (Skulls Of Heaven, 2007)
contains only the 26-minute Burned Alive At The Stake, built around
a massive guitar distortion that sounds like
Jimi Hendrix lost in a labirynth of mirrors.
This piece marked a turn towards a more robust and frenzied style,
one influenced by space-rock rather than acid folk.
Kosmies Slachtafval (Aurora Borealis, 2007) contained just two lengthy
pieces and marked further progress in both technique and architecture.
Mijn Vader Was Een Wolf En Mijn Moeder Was Een Hoer continued
the progression towards more aggressive collective dances
with louder and sharper guitar distortions and towards suspenseful cosmic
The 28-minute Konfituur Voor De Satanjeugd reduces the romp to a
shuffle but adds on top of it a church organ that sometimes evokes
Terry Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes.
Halfway the organ all but disappears, and de facto a new piece begins, one
dominated by a loud distorted guitar.
Sylvester Anfang II (Aurora Borealis, 2009) was a more accessible work,
but at the same time less focused.
The guitar intones a loud distorted raga-like hymn in the macabre trippy dance Na Regen Komt Zondvloed. The same idea is repeated in the
nine-minute Boom Van De Eerste Menstruatie with a humbler guitar
and more martial tempo, while adding voices and a steady drone.
The slow sleepy blues jam
The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves Pt.I, the most catatonic
of the bunch,
contrasts with the bouncing eight-minute pow-wow dance Ossezaaddans,
the most lively of the bunch.
The most adventurous pieces are in the middle.
Het Zilte Nat is a languid electronic poem for lonely humming
synthesizer that turns chaotic and dissonant.
The 15-minute Burkelbos has a wavering distorted organ carrying a
fragile melody wrapped around a sinister bass line at a suspenseful tempo.
Then the organ's tone mutates into a passionate raga surrounded by astral
noises for the ecstatic crescendo of the finale.
The only thing here that can be called a "song" is the
eleven-minute The Devil Always Shits In The Same Graves Pt.II, in which
the simple melody battles a swarm of electronic effects. The guitar helps the
drums maintain the usual esoteric tempo.
This album works as a compendium and a sort of professional-quality remix
of their career.
The guitar largely abstains from the distorted orgies of II on
Commune Cassetten (Blackest Rainbow, 2010), a less intimidating work.
The brief disjointed blues jam Vleesderven segues into one of their
typical hippy dances,
Salon Commune II, but here the pow-wow tempo is pushed towards
Neu's motorik rhythm.
The loosely sideral Sloow Flanger feels a bit aimless, and
Zure Regen is so mellow to sound like a version of their music
for the cocktail lounge.
This is one of their weakest albums.
Sylvester Anfang's offshoot Hellvete beat the main group at its own game with
the more sophisticated and symphonic De Gek (K-Raa-k, 2010).
Sylvester Anfang II continued to alternate creative works to dull ones.
World-music percolates into
Perzische Tapijten (The Great Pop Supplement, 2012),
recorded live in an abandoned farmhouse, but the only original result is
the brief Etherik.
At the same time, the five untitled jams of Untitled (Latitudes, 2012)
display their limited instrumental skills and unlimited pretentiousness.
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