Lift (2002)


Aardvarck: beats
Jeroen Kimman: bass, guitars, synth, melodica





Indeed feeling some self-inflicted pressure to decently record some new music i'm making, meanwhile i'm putting another golden-oldie if you don't mind.

I'm pretty aware of which of my tunes are generally liked and disliked by my friends. Since my personal involvement with a tune is personal, often there's a difference between my own favorites and those of 'the others'.

This track is a typical example of a tune that most people don't care for much, whilst i'm quite attached to it myself.
Ok, i understand the sound isn't very hip. Slap-bass ain't my favorite either, and the synth/melodica unison could be described as 'annoying'. Not sure if this was already intended as a slight humorous note, or that actually my long-ago jazz-rock love played a part here. (hey, i quit that before people started calling it 'fusion')

Nostalgia surely has a role in my attachment: happy times when i made it. But also i liked the particular process of making this: i think it took me a day, and the thing grew step-by-step, without having a real plan. If i remember correctly, the process went a little bit like this:

1) pick one of Aardvarck's beats, and import it in the ol' 8-track recorder.
2) drink about 1 bottle of wine, and be sure to keep smoking cigarettes all the way through 'the session'.
3) press record and sing some vague diatonal melody on top of the rhythm without taking stuff like form or meter into account.
4) now double that melody on a cheap melodica.
5) get rid of the singing track: it sounds horrible.
6) now double the melodica-melody again on a synth you borrowed, try to use the LFO-little joystick as much as possible, only because it's fun to do. (note: since that synth was sort of broken, it was impossible to store any sounds, so every time you would put the thing on, you'd spend at least half an hour getting any kind of sound out. So: any sound will do)
7) still without taking meter or form into account, find some chord changes that go with the melody. To do this proper, try using every trick you ever came across in 'the real book'.
8) then -and this one is tricky- start recording your bass-track, phrase by phrase, and try to connect the harmonic frame of the melody with the sync-points of the beat. ('how you say?')
9) finally, play a guitar-track that makes sure people don't miss the brilliant changes you made up..

Only 9 steps! Now YOU can make a song no one likes!!
Heupbreuk (2008)

Roomtone:

Jasper Stadhouders: guitar
Gerri Jaeger: drums
Sandor Caron: electronics
Jelte van Andel: double bass
Jeroen Kimman: guitar


HeupBreuk by roomtone

This comes from a demo for a band that never even played a single show. I find it hard providing my usual brilliant context, since i don't remember what i was trying to do with this song, nor what might have inspired it.
Although i think to remember having a dream about a full football-stadium singing the last melody...

Afternoon (2003)

Harco Pront: vocals, beats, percussion
Jeroen Kimman: guitar, banjar, synth bass, percussion





So one day i went to Eindhoven to make some music with Harco. Arriving with a bunch of concepts in my head to try out, it was soon very clear this was going to be a non-conceptual jam. Press 'record' and start playing. The room quickly filled up with smoke. In the evening i watched a football match downstairs whilst Harco was laying down some vocals, for which he would need some privacy. The whole experience today is a golden memory...


Organ Grinder (2004)


Morten J. Olsen: drums
Koen Nutters: double bass
Jeroen Kimman: guitar





Organ Grinder by roomtone

For the piece 'Aapjes Kijken' by Hillary Firestone, i was asked to make music for 'the organ grinder-scene'. Apart from living out my catchy melody-fetisj, i quickly thought of these little music boxes where you control the speed by rotating the handle, and trying to do a similar thing with a band.

I think you need some good people to pull it off well; Morten and Koen did a great job.

If you feel like you could listen to this melody forever and ever, than you can download the ringtone here: http://netherlands.ringtonesociety.com/ringtone/show/142.html
It's a rubato ringtone, vintage midi...

Awakenings (2002)

Aardvarck: beats
Jeroen Kimman: guitars, bass, effects, barks





Awakenings by roomtone

First of all: this is a form of humor.

I had this cd-r full of beats by my friend Aardvarck, and for a month or so, i'd pick a beat every few days and mess around with it on my 8-track, using whatever tools available, and most of all: trying to not spend too much time finishing a track. Quantity not quality!

This beat he made was só viscious and relentless that there was only one way to go: the most exaggerated energetic craziness i could come up with.

Realizing that the result might not constitute a very pleasant listening-experience, i can definetely say that the recording-process was one of the most fun things i did. After every take i played i remember sitting there sweating and panting. The visceral zone...
Nora (2005)

Roomtone:

Panc Daalder: drums
Wiek Hijmans: guitar
Micha Kool: double bass
Sandor caron: electronics
Jeroen Kimman: guitar



In 2005 i was asked by the IDFA Festival ('D' for documentary) to put together music for the premiere of some recently discovered films by one of Holland's most important filmmakers: Joris Ivens. We played with my band Roomtone in front of a massive screen trying to find a balance between respectfully accompanying the images, and being obstinate enough within that highly prestigious situation. Contrarian by nature.
The 3 movies were made by Ivens around 1930, in assignment to document 2 certain construction processes, and then this socialist youth-excursion.
In a way these movies were extremely dry, yet the beautiful images sparked some imagination.


Most of this Nora-piece i had already composed in 2001, when i fell crazily in love with a girl whose name i won't mention. We met, got along ok, hung out a bit... and then one day i presented her this ode i had composed for her, the score ánd the recording. It was all a bit melodramatic.

Basically we never met again.


Decompositie (2003)



Jeroen Kimman: guitar, bass, cheap electronic drum kit, effects


Decompositie2010 by roomtone

My very very good friend and choreographer Barbara Toma asked me to make the music for her piece 'DooD', which means death. The piece pretty much covered all aspects of death, and it was great fun trying go top-heavy on it. It was also nice that i got to go to Milano, except that it was Milano.

At the time i was either extremely busy, or extremely lazy; i don't remember. But i dó remember having only 1 day to make 10 minutes of music for the 'decomposition-scene'. Which was an inspiring and nasty challenge.

I also remember being in a good mood, some stimulants, and still very much on my 'Harco Pront Rec Button Trip' (see very first blog please).

Time (ok: and Space) functions very different in theater, so it was good when the same Harco Pront at one time send me an edited version of this music: cut down from 10 to 3 minutes. Sometimes you need the man with the axe.

This is that version plus a bit.
Bloody Youth (2007)
(live in Bimhuis-Amsterdam)
Brown vs Brown:
Dirk Bruinsma: alto sax
Viljam Nybacka: bass
Gerri Jaeger: drums
Jeroen Kimman: guitar
also starring: Wolter Wierbos: trombone
Maybe not the best sound-quality ever. This was never mixed, and i have strong doubts if the re-master i just did made things better at all, but i was getting bored experimenting with stuff i actually don't know much about. (mastering that is)
Mr. Wolter Wierbos -although special guest for this show- doesn't come out very well in the mix, even if i can assure you he did a remarkable job that evening, especially when considering all the red wine i saw him take in during pre-show dinner.

This 'song' is sort of a collage/summary of a theaterpiece we did with Brown. The piece was called 'Featherweight' (yes, by ms. Firestone), and i think for the band, during this period we experienced some of our highlights (the shows) as well as some of our low-points (the process).

Still, i think it's good for any band to spend 6 weeks full-time working on music. Only in theater...
Even if this recording could raise questions about it's emotional depth, i think there's a nice sense of people somehow knowing what they're doing.

And last but not least: since this show was based upon a boxing match, we had a ring-girl. And she was an actual stripper. We all thought this was very cool.
De Hennies (2008)

Roomtone:

Jasper Stadhouders: guitar
Sandor Caron: electronics
Jelte van Andel: double bass
Gerri Jaeger: drums
Jeroen Kimman: guitar

Hennies by roomtone

I know, there's already a version of this song way below. But i try to have an interactive blog here, so when my friend Mark says i should put up this newer version, because 'it's way better', i comply. The good thing about Mark is that he's always right.

This was the latest line-up for Roomtone. It was a nice group, and we had fun recording a demo. What didn't really help things, was when a month later Jelte decided to switch to cello, never wanting to play bass again.

For more context on the song-title, or when in need of forming your own opinion on which version is better, please check below...

Attempt (2004)


Morten J. Olsen: drums
Koen Nutters: double bass
Jeroen Kimman: guitar




Attempt by roomtone

I am well aware that a big part of this tune's appeal -to myself at least- can be contributed to Morten's drumming. The fact that he was something like 21 years old at the time could boggle one's mind.
This is actually a rehearsal-recording, but the natural reverb of that room was so good, that we decided to use this take over the final recording-session one.

Made for a dance/theater piece called 'Aapjes kijken', directed (once again) by ms. Firestone.

Satan's jeweled crown (2010)
(Edgar L. Edens/Louvin Brothers)


Sleep Gunner:

Mark Morse: guitar, feedback thingies
Jeroen Kimman: omnichord




Satan's jeweled crown live at DNK by roomtone
Spending my time these days documenting my 'songbook', i can't stop and notice that for some reason 2002-2005 seemed a good period for me musically. I haven't really noticed that ever before and i wonder why tracks from those days seem to stand out a bit for me.
From 2005 i started composing for commissions from the Dutch Funds, and i suspect that 2 things might have happened:
1) i started to write more intricate and detailed, almost like trying to prove that i know what i'm doing.
2) songs become longer, partly because one needs to reach his improvisational-bit quota (of course i'm a 'jazz' composer), and partly because you need to come up with a specified amount of minutes of music, and one might be inclined to stretch things out a bit when being sort of broke.

I see 2010-2015 as my green period, in which i will care less about the idea of being a crafty composer, and care more about making songs shorter.

Not that i didn't do any good lately.

My favourite concert of 2010 so far was when Sleep Gunner was playing at the DNK series in Amsterdam. Often a pretty hefty scene, we managed to bring in the right amount of musical profanity i think, and when you have to turn down the applause in the recording so to be able to normalize the music, you know there's a reason to live.
The first song 'Satan's jeweled crown' was a pretty spontaneous improvisation for the encore. I had borrowed an omnichord for a few days, which was superb because you can make it sound great after 5 minutes of practice.

Another Louvin-song from the same set is 'Gonna lay down my old guitar', the arrangement has some fun 'bending-concept' which made the skin come off my fingers. The finger-picking ,which was new to us, made Mark have some serious shoulder issues up to the present day.

Gonna lay down my old guitar (2010) (Alton Delmore/Louvin Brothers)

Sleep Gunner:

Mark Morse: guitar
Jeroen Kimman: guitar



Gldmog live in at DNK by roomtone
Small Reflex (2002)

Jeroen Kimman: guitars, bass, melodica, field recording


Small reflex by roomtone

Made for 'Art of nerves', a dancepiece by Hillary Blake Firestone. It was recorded one morning in Rotterdam, where i was experiencing a 'creative month'. (also mentioned somewhere below)
An extremely fascinating fact is that it has the same thematic material as 'Hillyrock'. (also also mentioned below)
But more important: i like the warm sound of this one, sometimes it just gets recorded well.

The background noises are a group of Den Bosch people/alcoholics that i recorded on my field-recording-trip. Slowed down, obviously.

Fearless (2001)


So Horse:

Alex Parkinson: drums
Tom Parkinson: bass
Seamus Cater: harmonica
Jeroen Kimman: guitar




Fearless by roomtone

When i just moved to Amsterdam, i was taken under the wings of some newly found British mates, whose trio i joined. We were sort of good and not good at the same time, meaning we'd compensate our lack of chops with a sense of creativity that one only starts to value after it all ended...

What i learned from them was how to bring your entire backline (instruments, drums, amps) to the other side of town on bike. Most of the time in the pouring rain. We were relentless, which is praiseworthy, considering that we only played about 5 concerts in 2 years or so. That is, if you don't count the innumerable hippyish dance/music jams we did. We all had girlfriends who were dancers at the time. Most of us still do..

When the Parkinson-twins moved back to London, they broke my heart.
White keys, White legs (2008)

Rosa Ensemble:

Annelies Vrieswijk: tenor sax
Esther Mugambi: vocals
Laurens de Boer: piano
Daniel Cross: mini-vibraphone, glockenspiel
Peter Jessen: double bass
Koen Kaptijn: trombone
Jeroen Kimman: guitar



White Keys, White Legs by roomtone

A song in C, staying home for summer holiday to write it.
Trying to make something compact usually turns out into something unwantedly epic.
These were my first song-lyrics since 1988, and my last so far. It's too scary.

The underlying motivation for this one, is a recurring nightmare where i find myself at a family party. There's a guitar present. Everyone asks me to play since i'm 'a musician'. I hesitate. Then my uncle -who knows 3 chords and sings- steals the show. Defeat.

To soften the trauma: we recorded this song on Malta. There was a swimming pool. And a ping-pong table.
Woman in Love (2003) (B., M., & R. Gibb)

Jeroen Kimman: cheap electric drum kit, synth, guitars, bass


Woman in love by roomtone

This Barbara Streisand-cover took me a few hours to make. It can't always be avant-garde. I was inspired by my new toy drum-kit, J-Dilla, and some legal substances. I haven't sorted out the copyright-matters yet.
Soliloquy (2003)

Laurens de Boer: piano


Soliloquy by roomtone

I'm special. Because i might be the only person ever to study at the conservatorium still not being able to play óne single song on a piano. I wasn't very fond of my 'harmony-at-the-piano'-teacher, and it was probably mutual. Plus i figured i already played a harmony instrument, and that was hard enough, coming into that school as a complete auto-didact..
anyway.
This bit was composed for the last 'melancholic' scene of a dance/theater piece called 'Showboat'. Composing it for piano felt like doing some rocket-science.
I recorded my friend Laurens in his living room in Rotterdam; for sure that was the dodgiest neighbourhood i've ever visited.
De Hennies (2003)

Roomtone:

Sandor Caron: electronics
Pascal Vermeer: drums
Koen Nutters: double bass
Wiek Hijmans: guitar
Jeroen Kimman: guitar



De Hennies by roomtone

'Hennie' is one of the few Dutch names that can be given to both man ánd woman. There was this older Dutch couple who were both called Hennie, they were also slightly retarded, or what's the politically correct word?
Over the years they had built up a friendship with their neighbour. They'd make conversation, water each other's plants, invite each other over for dinner, that kind of stuff. Then one day, the neighbour, wanting to express her appreciation for their good friendship, offered our heroes a round-trip to Turkey, everything taken care of, even bought them new suitcases.
Deeply innocent Hennie 1 & 2 spent about 2 years in a Turkish prison after the heroin sown into their bags was found.

Back in the day, i thought writing this song for them might cheer them up a bit.

And also, i've always liked the melodic basslines of Hennie Vrienten, who was part of Holland's biggest group ever (in Holland that is): Doe Maar.

This was the first incarnation of my band Roomtone. Many followed. We played the North Sea Jazz Festival and other good stuff. It's just that i turn into not the easiest person when having to lead a band, so i took a therapeutical break from that for a while... Deep down i'm a very nice guy of course.

If you're still reading: special dedications go out to my good friend Sandor Caron who, apart from making great music, has done the mixing and mastering on most of the music on this 'blog'.
Hillyrock (2007)

Brown vs Brown:

Dirk Bruinsma: alto sax
Viljam Nybacka: bass
Gerri Jaeger: drums
Jeroen Kimman: guitar


Hillyrock (Twitch & Shout) by roomtone

For many years my main band has been Brown vs Brown. We played an awful lot of shows througout Europe, and spent a whole lot of time rehearsing and discussing the weird kind of music we played. In a way we could be labeled as a jazz-group, although i've always been happy that we really functioned as a rock-band, in terms of commitment and functioning as a unit.

It's hard to keep that kind of mutual energy going for many years though, so we decided to call it quits before we would ever turn into a 'project', which i think would not do justice to the powerfulness we once had. Plus it's nice to do something new after a while, before you're building yourself an identity as some kind of prog-player, which is something to avoid i'd say...

This track is on our first cd, which we recorded in Vienna in 2007. Those were good times...

Hillyrock (2002)

Michael Vatcher: drums
Maarten Visser: soprano sax
Jeroen Kimman: guitars, bass



HillyRock 2002 by roomtone

For funny reference, here's another version of the same song, recorded years earlier in various living rooms, track by track. It always has been one of my favourite songs, and i suspect that it has something to do with the fact i wrote it in a day, instead of a month or so. (which tends to happen sometimes)
I have a hard time picking my favourite version of the 2, the Brown-one has got the right amount of macho-ness, and is played with a nice ease (we could play it still with one arm tied to our back), although there's something charming about the old version. I think this comes mostly from the drums. Michael Vatcher only played one take on the backing track without ever having heard it before (which explains the funny ending), and i remember him smiling all the way through. Golden moments.
The Smurf (2002)

Aardvarck: beats
Jeroen Kimman: guitars, bass, synth, rhodes, voice


The smurf by roomtone

Sometimes it's scary to realize how long ago you made certain things; even scarier is when you ask yourself if you got any better over the years...
I like this one. It was made in a very productive month in Rotterdam, where i was doing some kind of residency although i had already finished all the music i had to do for that project, so i could spend most of my time messing around by myself.
2 factors were important here:
1) being extremely inspired by Harco Pront's album "Jibberish" that i would play every morning at breakfast, after which i would be all fired up to go make some stuff myself.
2) having a cd-r full of dry beats from hometown buddy Mike (aka Aardvarck), waiting to be stacked with whatever i could come up with.

It's probably the last time i played guitar with 3 distortions and a wah...
You're running wild (2009) (Ray Edenton-Don Winters/the Louvin Brothers)

Sleep Gunner:

Mark Morse - guitar
Jeroen Kimman - guitar




This is for sure one of my favorite songs of the Louvin Brothers. It's the first song Mark and me recorded for our ongoing Louvin-cover-youtube-project called Sleep Gunner. Where later on we started doing some more 'out' experiments, here we basically try to simply keep it together, which is hard enough, since this song is messin' with your mind by sometimes throwing in or leaving out some extra counts that you weren't prepared for. Or something like that.. nasty stuff anyway.

It's also the lyrics that render it a personal favorite, even though we do 'ze instrumental'.

For some more background on that, here's a (somewhat foggy) quote from the book: 'In Close Harmony - The story of the Louvin Brothers' by Charles Wolfe :

' "You're Running Wild" became the flip side of "Cash on the Barrelhead" and like it spent twelve weeks on the charts, rising to No. 7, after it was released in September 1956. The song was written by Ray Edenton, the Louvin's favorite studio rhythm guitarist, and Don Winters. Winters was a tenor singer with Marty Robbins and lived in one of Robbins's houses, helping to take care of his horses and livestock. "I guess he and Ray wrote it together," says Charlie (Louvin). "Ray pitched the song. It was a good number. Ray had a wife that claimed she was allergic to their child, so he had to raise it and feed it and change it. As a matter of fact, she also claimed she was allergic to him. But she wasn't allergic to a lot of people, and later he did get a divorce. That's the only divorce case I was ever a witness at. With my own eyes I seen the things she done. She toured, she was a singer, she toured with the Ernest Tubb group... So when I found out she was trying to rip Ray, I went and gave a deposition. And when her lawyer read it and read it back to her and asked her if it was true, when she admitted it, he dropped the case. So Ray did completely raise the child, as a divorced parent." Charlie thinks this song was a direct result of his relationship with his wife. "It certainly fits." Ira (Louvin) drew cartoons advertising the new single.'
Rec en Gaan (2006/2008)

Harco Pront: vocals
Morten J. Olsen: drums
Jeroen Kimman: banjo, harmonium




Rec en Gaan by roomtone

This track was originally made (in its instrumental shape) for a dancepiece by choreographer/muse Hillary Blake Firestone.

The (awkwardly Dutch) title refers to the way it was made, namely recording some improvisations track by track. Banjo followed by harmonium, followed by drums, followed (2 years later) by vocals.

I'm happy to look at the personnel-list here, since this track features 2 of my favorite musicians. Morten was so nice to have me record him playing his drumkit in his living room (in one of the more densely populated areas of Amsterdam), whilst Harco made me very happy when he surprisingly sent me back this version, after i had included the instrumental take on a compilation i made him.

Apart from thinking that Harco Pront might be the biggest talent Holland has ever produced (yes, these are bold words), he has also been very influential on the way i make music. The few times we have been making music together, it turned out that the only way he could work was to simply press 'record' and start playing, and to never spend more than one night on a song, or 'the vibe' would be lost. For someone who is inclined to go all conceptual, calculating, and willing to work on just a bassline for 3 days, it has been very good to learn to trust your intuition sometimes. So i try to do that a bit more, sometimes.