In the early nineties Peter V. was overwhelmed by ambient music and its distinctive sound. So it didn't take long before Valleyman opened his own music bar. The public just dug his chill-out tunes and dove into the upcoming rave-subculture. Those were the days Peter V. bought himself some synths and a sampler and started composing. Valleyman was born…
Valleyman’s sound is described variously as ambient, chillout, or progressive electronica, and sometimes all three, but at the time of its release the term “progressive ambient” was still the most widely used term to describe such music in the English world.
his debut …
In 1995 Valleyman released (on Jo Bogaert's XXP-Label) a breathtaking album leaving the listeners shivering with excitement; Hertzhague! His creation consisted out of almost tactile sonorous universes, interluding with serene melodies, and this outlined with down-tempo rhythms. The work was welcomed with the kind of admiration normally predestined for classical composers, although it was purely contemporary with its specific electronic approach.
Noteworthy are the most sublime 'Teleport to Origin' and the epic 'Scopalamine'. 'Virtual Environment', one of the uptempo tracks was even chosen by the Belgian choreographer Chantal Yzermans to match one of her performances. Due to the timelessness of this superb album Valleyman decided to remaster and re-release this debut on his own label, ZON Records.
Also take into account Valleyman's contribution to the following compilations: 'State of the Art vol 4' (PIAS), 'Highway & Landscape' (Distance), 'Pondou Fever' (Peyote), Ambient Definitions (XXP) and many more. Soon after his debut album, two 12 inches were also released on Jo Bogaert’s former XXP-Label; 'Boatdrill' - with tracks and remixes from the Hertzhague album, and 'Angle' - a 4-track techno vinyl.
He has also published records under the name, the Launch Project, Electromen, Tape Kollector. “Managing the Meat” by the Electromen was released on Terminal Antwerp in 2002, and was a Velleman collaboration with the respected electronica composer, Dirk De Boeck, Jo Bogaert (Technotronic) has contributed slide-guitar on the majestic ‘Ambient in Blue’. Velleman’s talents also appear on two De Boeck albums to date.
Now Valleyman's offering the world a follow-up called: `
'The Maker Needs Your Attention'
It’s been a while since the release of Valleyman’s first album ‘Hertzhague’ (XXP/Pias 1995). ‘The Maker Needs Your Attention’, Valleyman’s second full album, finally arrived to join us. Whereas his first album was more or less a personal and chameleon-like approach of what electronic and chill-out music could be at that time, his new work may be accommodated under Ambient/Chill-out. The artist does not project his influence to hide. His tone has been compared to Pluto, Manuel Gottsching, Colfax, Mijo, Fingertwister, Elba, Biosphere, Brian Eno, and Richard H. Kirk. Not only the music and production is created by the artist but the photography and the artwork as well.
Let the music play …
'The Maker Needs Your Attention' contains 8 tracks, or better still, musical mini-journeys. This 40 minutes lasting album is made with electronic musical instruments of all kinds and is solely instrumental. Each musical work evokes different moods of dreamy states. Atmospheric, ethereal, lyrical, grand, are the kind of adjectives which 'll best describe this musical odyssey.
This musically well balanced album keeps the listener’s attention until the very end. Some melodies are craving in such a way it's almost impossible to ignore them. Sometimes the music is driving on monotone repetitive tunes that’ll get the listener in a kind of hypnotic state. It just makes the listening process worthwhile; these musical pearls simply emerging and dissolving like a classical approach of question & answer and all compositions are perfectly connected to form a whole.
The opening track 'Attic' is as pure as this style can be and refers directly to the maker's influences. Guess? Whistling birds, completely surrounded by warm atmospheric pads and long evolving sounds, Valleyman's guiding the listener through his private world of sound and music. And this is only the beginning.
'Goudes' is next in line and has a more classic-like song structure although it is not what you might expect by definition. A modest chord intro quickly reveals a moaning monotone melody resolved by a down-going arpeggio with a contrasting lead-sound.
The sound of primary school's 'Playground', title of the 3rd track has this reggae-like cadence without ever coming close of being labelled as such. Here the subconsciousness refers indirectly to a 'where did I hear that before?' feeling. The simplified chord riff is giving room for the bass playing the main theme alternated by a fragile synthesized bell sound that impresses by jumping pitch-modulated from one tone to another.
'Totem' is the very brief 4th track of the album. A grotesque sound which will remind many listeners to the early days of trance back in the nineties. The power lies within the chord progression which at the same time is the main theme. Short, powerful and very emotional. Does this refer to a classical composer?
Again, bass is taking the lead in this 808 programmed based track, 'De Honte', which is the 5th track of the album. The maker is not hiding he's strongly influenced by Aphex Twin or Richard H. Kirk. Here we are traveling through a 6 minute soundscape with the bass as an almost architectonic foundation. Moving from one place to another, exploring different panoramas from over the hills to down the valleys intermittent by a quick visit to the Garden of Eden.
And yes, the 6th track “Signals” is announced by a sound similar to a Tri-pod's, as we all remember from the epic movie 'War Of The Worlds. Mumbling voices from outer space. In contrast to the intention of this huge upstanding machine in the movie, this one is bringing us peace instead of war.
But still, in track 7, the toxic “Mercury” is running through our veins as an inescapable necessity.
And then, finally, salvation. It's a beautiful thing to end with: ‘Enophex’.
About the album cover …
Also the artwork is done by the artist. The picture on the sleeve says it all. The cow, as a metaphor, has many meanings. The domesticated ruminant, the herbivorous mammal, the milk-machine (for all clarity: the sleeve is only showing dairy, no beef). The herd (human beings) is drawn towards the light; note the alertness and movement of the two cows in front. They are leaving a dark, grim, black, contaminated, depressing world and are on the way to liberation. Very surreal. Hope springs eternal!
The way the title is pictured on the sleeve (illogical partitions) refers to the general inadequacy and imperfection. Nothing is ever complete or perfect.
The Maker (refers to the Creator, the Supreme Being) demands the absolute attention of the herd (mankind) stating our present global civilization is heading the wrong way.
This is a well-balanced album evoking a variety of emotions. The musical architecture and the arrangements were kept very simple, neither hackneyed nor banal. Above all this album can be listened to from the very beginning until the end without losing your attention or focus. I'd like to add: Less is more!
released July 4, 2016
All music written, recorded and produced by Peter Velleman.
All music mastered by Karel De Backer mastering Belgium.
Album cover photography and photoshop editing by Peter Velleman.
Additional photoshop editing by Jef De Corte for Aeronaut.
Thanks to all friends and family for supporting my musical aspirations.