When I got to know Distel almost a decade ago, the term “angstpop” much applied to the sound. Distel would have fitted well within the Galakthorrö roster on the lighter side of their scale. Over the years the sound seemed to slowly become lighter with some technoish influences here and there. “Wapens” (meaning “weapons” by the way) again has a developed Distel sound. Slow music with some rhythm, strange vocals and some melody with the recognisable organ-like sound. Not much is left from the “angstpop” sound of the early days, but the term still describes the sound of Distel well. It is relatively accessible, but it breathes anxiety. The music is not as dark as it used to be, but it sure did not become happy.
I have shaped vinyl, even a square, flexible one, but I do not believe I ever saw vinyl which has the music on the outside and the shape on the inside. As you can see on the image that I got from Discogs, there is no material surrounding the arrows. A nice little joke.
Distel usually ends his shows with a Coil cover, but I must say that I am not sure if that is the track that he put on this Coil inspired split 12″. Distel took a stab at “Solar Lodge” and Trepaneringsritualen (on side A by the way) at “A Cold Cell”.
There is a four minute title track and a somewhat shorter track named “Galapagos”.
The opening track has all the Distel elements. Dark, rhythmical and slow music, somewhat danceable and with deep vocals in the background. In the second track Distel has a more accessible take with a recognisable tune and sung vocals. I am not too fond of this second track, but it certainly is not bad.
The new Distel is “a compilation of rarities and remixes”. “Zand” (‘sand’) includes the both tracks of the 7″ Mrok/Regn, but in alternative versions, a cover of Suicide and 6 remixes that Distel made for other projects.
What you get is the ‘old style’ Distel, more recently sounding tunes and new sounds. I particularly like the old angstpop sound of the beginning of “Nothing To Mend”, but Distel’s slow and dark dance music in general belongs my preferred sound.
The newest Distel is fittingly released on the Swedish Beläten label like the previous “Ultra2012″ tape. This means that you do not have to buy the physical 7”, but you can buy a download from the Beläten Bandcamp. Beläten made a good-looking 7″ though, so when you are not in just for the music…
“Nord” contains three tracks which have Dutch/German (I am not sure about the title track, it could come from several languages, not including Dutch) and Japanese (? again not sure) titles. The sound is lighter than previous Distel releases, but still recognisable. Slow, danceable music, instrumental this time. The total running time is about 13 minutes.
I almost missed the latest Distel. Fortunately I was looking through the catalogue of the Swedish Beläten label! “Ultra2012” contains both ‘Distel+’ (a development of the sound that we grew used to, somewhere between dark minimal wave and angstpop) and uncommon sounds (more technoish). There are a couple of masterpieces which makes “Ultra2012” a must-buy if you like the sound of this Dutch project (or for example the Galakthorrö sound).
Finding a physical copy may be a quest (Beläten is out of copies, I got mine from the band itself), but you can always buy the Bandcamp download.
Links: Distel, Beläten
In 2009 I was looking around to see what Last.fm users would have tagged “angstpop” besides Galakthorrö projects. I found a project from my own country that was (and is) not on Galakthorrö, but on a Dutch label that releases all kinds of weird electronic dance music and retro-wave kind of things. At the time I was not too enthousiastic about most of the music from that scene (but I was about Distel). Several more years of exploring have granted me a couple of great projects and also proved that I was not alone looking for new music, since both the Wave Gotik Treffen and Summer Darkness also book minimal wave and related projects. In any case, after a great 7″ in 2010 things were quiet around Distel and I accidentally found out that the debut album is finally available. I waited a bit more for the version with bonus 7″ (there are 50 copies of the first version and 200 of the second) and today I could finally hear more music of this great, Dutch project.
Again I have to bring up Galakthorrö. The simple reason is the Galakthorrö sound comes closest to a large part of the sound of Distel of what I know (mostly the sound of Herz Jühning). In other tracks Distel remains closer to that “minimal wave” sound, but dark and slow variety. Some tracks seem earlier released tracks with another title, but most material is new to me and what is more, it is pretty damn good! I love the dark and gloomy sound of Distel (almost) as much as that of Galakthorrö and that can most definately be regarded as a compliment!
Links: Distel, Enfant Terrible
Finally the debut of this Dutch project is available. Distel makes “angstpop” and “minimal” but this 7″ is not released on Galakthorrö, but on a Dutch label that reaps the field of strange wave and minimal techno music. Distel does fit on the label, but the Galakthorrö audience might never hear of this release. On the other hand, the two tracks on this 7″ are not really Galakthorrö tracks such as some other tracks that Distel has made. Not really wave or technoïsh either, but more slow and slightly rhythmical tracks with highly distorted vocals (you only hear a rumbling). I must say that Distel has better tracks available on his Myspace, but maybe that is because he changed style somewhat. In any case, I saw Distel live a while ago and there are plenty of tracks available, also very interesting, for future releases, so let us wait and see what the future will bring. A project to keep an eye on, just as the man’s other project Hadewych.
Links: Distel, Enfant Terrible