One lazy Thursday afternoon I was enjoying some after "work" drinks at Kill City Blues when Arno Carstens emerges from one of their studios... He announces that he has started pre-production on his first Afrikaans body of work. A mixture of shock and awe washes over me as the news sinks in. Arno has always been acclaimed for his surprise factor and his latest endeavour has caught me completely off guard.
Die Aand has been pre-released as a 5-track EP ahead of the full album release in June. The songs range from big and poetic to highly alternative narratives with a cornucopia of elements making each track as unique as the next.
Siele Loop Sielloos slowly starts the listener off with systematic electronic beats and launches them into an anthem explosion from the chorus onwards. Haunting repetitions and elaborate vocals let's the listener immediately understand that this album will be unlike any other.
Track two picks up with some acoustic guitar strumming accompanied by a kick-drum in the distance. Another epic track emerges as the chorus rolls around with crashing cymbals atmospheric electronic components. Ontwaak has the listener sitting upright and paying attention.
Spook takes the tempo down a notch and evokes feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality with its minimal instrumental use. The song is no doubt inspired by Carstens' time on the border and verges between angst and deliverance. A powerful cathartic moment on the EP.
Second to last is Vloerplanke that might be the most alternative of all the songs. A robot cameo and African beats are only the tip of the iceberg. Arno paints the most unusual pictures with this elegiac number.
The EP ends off with an up-tempo track, Ceres. A pop/rock track that simply gets you moving and singing along.
This EP is just a taste of massive things to come for this versatile rocker. Die Aand (full album) promises to be a shock to the senses and restores faith in the all round entertainer, Mr Arno Carstens.