Calling "Griis" a stark record would be an understatement. The monochromatic, blurry grey images that adorn the cover serve as the perfect barometer for the gauzy guitar-driven music within. Two side-long excursions sink into the murk that perfectly highlight Jan Kleefstra's recitations in Frisian (a dialect spoken in northern Holland). The combination is oddly soothing even if, over time, it begins to feel almost overbearing. Each crackle, each subtle shift feels exactly in the right place. There's a precision to this music that is organic. Even without understanding anything spoken by Kleefstra, you feel a connection with his words and the way it all flows. If the icy atmospheric guitars are the wreckage, his voice is the singularity that dissipates the fractured cloud. "Griis" skirts the line between hope & darkness and comes out the other side feeling utterly infinite. There is real beauty to be found in things so subtle. - Brad Rose (of Digitalis) for Experimedia
'Griis' is the second collaborative release by the Netherlands based trio of brothers Jan & Romke Kleefstra together with Anne-Chris Bakker.
The Kleefstra's musical partnership began when Romke was asked to accompany Jan's poetry recitals by creating soundscapes on the guitar. Since then, the brothers have collaborated with a range of artists including Machinefabriek, Peter Broderick, Gareth Davis, Nils Frahm, Greg Haines and Danny Saul.
Upon listening to 'Griis', the listener will hear that the album is uniquely characterised by the Frisian (a dialect spoken in the northern stretches of the Netherlands) poetry recited by Jan over an ever-morphing musical backdrop, created by nothing more than the inventive use of bowed, looped and processed electric guitars.
Jan's poetry melts seamlessly into the soundscapes created by the two guitarists. One senses an icy coolness thanks to the humming, wind-like drones that fill the album. Bowed strings provide weight and an almost subliminal percussive element, joined by echoed, sorrowful guitar.
When the spoken voice returns, there is an eerie sense of loneliness that transcends the music; the trio's intense processing resulting in a series of stark contemplative moments which, beyond their natural bleak aspect reveal some truly evocative settings.