Artist: Brunnen
Title: The Beekeeper's Dream
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records
Format: CD
Digital Download: Available Here
Catalog #: mt076a
Condition: new
Price: $10.00

Tracklist Samples
1 Cover Me
2 All the Same
3 Sister
4 Shame
5 The Trial
6 Rupert Writes a Rainbow
7 Trust In Me
8 Winterland Train
9 Fly
10 666
11 The Wolf Hour
12 Marias of the Sea
13 Miranda


 Available as a Digital Download Album Only. No physical album available.


Ed. of 400 copies. Brunnen reveals that part of Beequeen's Freek Kinkelaar which is the strange wandering minstrel/alchemist (half-orc cleric with a +2 mace). If only more records were so cogently perplexing. A slightly cinematically arranged, quasi-psychedelic little dear of a hushed pop song opens the album. Freek's vocals sublimate in a pleasant whisper, not unlike (ahem) a quieter Yo La Tengo song. Freek, perhaps true to his name, does not hesitate to then very, very slowly weave together a spacious tone poem whose initial notes live counties apart, concocting an outré sort of high lonesome that might sonically drift across the same sort of plain as Wenders' Paris, Texas does visually. Kinkelaar's vocal delivery tugs at shirt tails ala Just Drifting era Psychic TV balladry or introspective LPD. Subtly amplified guitars chime quietly against slo-mo keyboards, occasional samples, tablas and air. An understated rave-up of Trust In Me from The Jungle Book is a nice exclamation point. A musical sandwich, really, with the outer psychedelic pop buns keeping the avant-garde middle meat warm.

It’s safe to say that it’s a rare event indeed to have a Beta-lactam ring release that literally sits up in front of you as clear as day armed with lulling melodies, its normally more the case that you have to dig and delve a little deeper in order to satisfy yourself that you’ve at least scratched the surface of the majority of their engagingly strange out there back catalogue. Yet with Brunnen’s ’The Beekeeper’s Dream’ that’s what they’ve managed do and indeed treat the expectant listener to.

Written over the course of thirteen years ’The Beekeeper’s Dream’ features - you guessed it - thirteen tracks. Now it’s not for me to pass comments such as - (cue cough) - work shy fop but then this collection should be admirably commended given that it’s my belief that we are in fact lucky to have these curdling gems in our midst and available for public consumption when you consider that the originator Freek Kinkelaar has only made two public appearances as Brunnen - the first by all accounts amidst much kicking and screaming at the Festival Musique Ultimes in 1995 - the last just three years ago. You would be forgiven into thinking that Kinkelaar looks upon Brunnen as a mere passing thought.

A very brief potted Kinkelaar history would read, first musical output via a series of abstract laden noise fuelled home cassettes under the guise of Honeymoon Production, from there in a plethora of assumed identities it seems to denote variations in generic sounds and techniques so that there has been material released as Marias of the Sea, the Rotating Chickens, the Beautiful Glassbottom Boat, Wander (on whose recent released self titled CD for the Small Voices imprint features Andrew Liles - who incidentally also has a spanking new release on BLRR entitled ’the Dying Submariner’) and his most celebrated adventure to date (collaborating with Frans de Waard) - Bee queen - who to date has released over a dozen albums in their 17 year existence and supported the Legendary Pink Dots on their recent 25th Anniversary stateside tour.

Despite its protracted timeline ’the Beekeeper’s Dream’ sounds curiously together sound wise, a beautifully crafted exposition of tranquil moods that draw upon, in the main, elements of down tempo (check out the irresistibly cool ’All the same’), seductively encoded soft psyche and half lit dreamy folk (especially on the Barrett getting his shit together ’Sister’ where the sound collage wraps ‘Sunspots’ era Cope longingly into the nu-folk beauty of Tunng).

The melodies that gently filter throughout ‘The Beekeeper’s Dream’ appear like tiny apparitions, perhaps spectral whispers hanging on ghostly hooks their trace elements disappearing as fast they appear into an enchanting half lit fabled world. Almost playful they tumble out of the ether like impish fairies dancing in the dawn glow undergrowth. Admittedly the last time we heard anything so comparatively lazily drawn, almost casually divorced from the real world as though hermetically sealed in its own landscape was Freed Unit’s deliciously wayward ’Gigglegoo’. None more so is this apparent than on the vaguely off balanced creepy-ness of the surreally kooky ’The Trial’ with its dippily odd 70’s children’s TV appeal meets spiked Sugar Plum Fairy’ fair. Further likely similarities come in the shape of the chilled delicately brushed lushness of ’Rupert writes a rainbow’ with its disorientating fried ambience appeal and the hushed kaleidoscopic early morning yawning and stretching ’Cover me’ replete with its sleepy eyed peek-a-boo arrangements, reversed tape loops and subtly disturbing droning resonance.

Elsewhere there’s a lulling Latino like re-tread of the Jungle Books ’Trust in me’ while the dreamy solace of ’666’ could easily be Vini Reilly collaborating with a more sparsely aware Manual. Best of the set though ’Shame’. A return in many respects to the underlying Barrett-esque vibe throughout given its stripped to the core and blessed with an untoward ethereal laced dulled psycho-tronic accent.

All in all something of a hidden treasure.

It's rare that the experimental label Beta-Lactam Ring releases what is ostensibly a singer-songwriter record, so I was intrigued to get to grips with this release. Needless to say, it's anything but your usual angst-ridden guitar and vocals affair, combining elements of the avant-garde and psych-pop in its sonic brew. Brunnen is a long standing solo project of Dutch nutter Freek Kinkelaar, and this release is a compilation of 13 songs written at the somewhat leisurely pace of one per year between 1992 and 2005. As far as slackerdom goes, that is hard to beat. A little background on Mr. Kinkelaar is appropriate I think. From 1984 to 1987 he contributed several noise-experiments to compilation cassettes. Most of these were solo recordings released under the pseudonym Honeymoon Production. As Honeymoon Production he also produced Manipulation Muzak as a part of RRRs series of anti records. In the 1988 long time friend Edward Kaspel of The Legendary Pink Dots asked Kinkelaar to fill in as support act for a live Pink Dots performance, and having no idea what to do, he contacted Frans de Waard and together formed the Pink Dots influenced Beequeen. The Beequeen project has released around a dozen full-length records since inception, making one wonder if Brunnen is a catcher's mitt for the occasional solo brain-fart. In the early 90s, Kinkelaar In the early 1990s he worked with Dutch conceptual artist Paul Panhuysen at the fabled experimental label Het Apollohuis, and mastered and selected recordings for four compact discs released by Panhuysen, including one for matrix printers(!). A journey through 'The Beekeeper's Dream' is suitably oneiric, starting with the tranquil exposition of 'Cover Me', which couples a looping oboe figure with lilting vocals to great effect. Kinkelaar has a hypnotically compelling voice, exemplified by his intimate work on the sleep-walking groove of 'All the Same', which should be a single, really. As should 'Sister', which is the kind of destination that Barrett's talent might have taken him hadn't his sanity checked out early. At only a few minutes long typically, all of these tracks leave you hanging suspended in a state of desire for more. 'Shame' radiates shimmering waves of glassine melancholy and gossamer psychedelia. 'Rupert Writes a Rainbow' phase-shifts its psych-pop structure into alien territory with lush, queasy electronic touches. Oddness reigns supreme on the track 'Trust in Me', a cover of song from the 1967 animated film 'The Jungle Book', complete with narcotic Latin rhythms. But Kinkelaar is most effective on his own material. Later tracks are perhaps a little less-focussed, but it's difficult to address specifics since the actual track ordering doesn't seem to match the published one, so suffice it to say that overall the record has a conceptual and composition cohesion that belies its elephantine gestation, creating its own unique hermetically bound aesthetic. (Tony Dale)

Brunnen’s vocals plainly remind me of the Legendary Pink Dots. Shifting from one gear to the next while remaining upbeat yet downtempo, Brunnen massages the listener with beautiful textures and slowcore asides. Psychedelic themes vein through “The Beekeeper’s Dream” as Brunnen keeps the captain’s log completely cerebral rather than mapping anything out to tow you along. Psych-pop that leaves the imagination alone as each song fully embraces sensational melodies and spacey atmospheres. “The Beekeeper’s Dream” doesn’t sting but instead evolves into something bright, shiny, and riddled with intelligent musical drama. Astonishing. - J-Sin