Eelke Kleijn "Untold Stories" (Review)

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November 14, 2010 by DJ Elroy

Winter in the Rockies is magical; the season’s first snow is always something to behold; it’s a time when the weather is still a blessing and not yet a curse; a miracle of nature. We got ours last week: The thick flakes dropping down from the heavens, the sky over-crowded with clouds and the sun hasn’t been seen all day. Windows frosting up. The smell of firewood heavy in the air… It’s beautiful! Dark, quiet, cozy. Reflective.

Sometimes life is like that. No, it’s not really depressing. But maybe a bit melancholy. And surreal? More like a divine reminder to slow down, relax, and be thankful for what you’ve got. To enjoy the good times.

Not everyone wants to live a reality-show lifestyle or be the center of attention. Life doesn’t need to be a non-stop adrenaline rush to be fun. And neither does music. It doesn’t need to be bangin’ and in-your-face, and doesn’t have to be on the Beatport Top 10 to prove it’s good (jut the opposite, right?)… Pop culture has spilled over into underground electronic music. But isn’t this what we all wanted? To be accepted by the “mainstream”? Sure, to an extent. But it also cheapens the music and our scene…

And that’s where we’re at now. It seems most of the big names have decided to play it safe. I won’t say “sold out”, but too many seem to have found a formula that works and have just stuck with it. I can’t blame them, but where is the innovation? What happened to the pioneers?

Thankfully, I’ve found something fresh in Eelke Kleijn. Every once in a while an album comes along that says “slow down and listen to this!” Something unique, something that didn’t get cut by the same cookie-cutter everyone else has been using. And  “Untold Stories” (Manual Music) delivers.

This is an artist album first and foremost, continuously mixed and… wait, you’ve never heard of Eelke Kleijn? You missed his acclaimed “8 Bit Era EP” and his chart-topping “Naturally ArtificialGlobal Underground project? Surely you’ve heard his work with Nike’s “V for Victory” campaign, right? Don’t mistake this for just another compilation; it’s been precisely programmed and arranged to tell a story. The sound ranges from broken beats and downtempo to minimal and house and melodic tech and deep basslines and acid flashbacks and… whew. Kleijn splices together multiple genres with the skill of a mad scientist… They say there’s a fine line between genius and insanity, but this experiment works! The music is warm and full, a heavy style with flashes of dark orchestra, metal guitar licks, gritty tech, atmospheric reprises, and uplifting syth hooks twisting into melancholic ambience. What more can I say? This is one of those albums that needs to be experienced to be appreciated…

I could break down each track for you, but I won’t. That would be like catching snippets of a conversation — you might hear something interesting but without context it won’t make sense. “Untold Stories” is something you need to hear to understand, something you need to experience from beginning to end to see the big picture. And the big picture is a masterpiece! Bravo!


01. Ortni
02. Violintermezzo
03. Arpeggiator Stories
04. Arpeggiator Stories Continued
05. Harpy
06. The Lone Ranger
07. Nu Gaat Het Los
08. Sad But No
09. Theme For Nosey
10. Gevoelsplaat
11. Theme For Spliffy
12. Compact ft. Nick Hogendoorn
13. Survival Of The Fattest
14. Flavour Saver
15. Will I Love ft. Niels Geuzebroek
16. Bend It Like Bender

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