The driving force behind Madensuyu is –and has been since these two men started playing together in their early teens- the struggle to deal with real, raw emotions and the continuing fight to be vulnerable and uncompromised in a timeframe where authenticity has become a rare commodity.
Being loyal to their core values, the duo steers clear of the usual slipstream of the industry. They are often perceived as being somewhat reclusive, but gained respect with their recorded output and phenomenal live performances since stepping into the public eye in 2004.
After one EP: ‘Adjust We’ (2005) and two longplayers: ‘A Field Between’ (2006), ‘D Is Done’ (2008) they break their silence with ‘Stabat Mater’ (2013).
‘Stabat Mater’ is a highlight in their career thus far and sees them digging deeper than ever before. It grasps the essence of who they are and their unique 2-man sound.
Anger, loss and grief have always been present in the art of Madensuyu, but this time they explore a specific theme that has held captive classical composers since the middle ages.
The medieval hymn Stabat Mater deals with the loss of a child, and the devastating effects on it’s mother. In an era where nothing seems sacred anymore, this overwhelming and existential loss remains one of the few taboos often shunned away from.
Madensuyu’s version of Stabat Mater deliberatly focuses not only on the unspeakable pain, but also on the incredible strength this pain unlocks within the mother. The opening line of the hymn reads “Stabat mater dolorosa” which translates as "The sorrowful mother stood". Instead of succumbing, the woman holds her ground. This way and despite its dark theme, Madensuyu’s Stabat Mater holds a hopeful message that pays hommage to mothers of past, present and future generations.
A second theme on ‘Stabat Mater’ is the dialogue between the divine and ungraspable on the one hand, and the mortal, earthly on the other.
Madensuyu lift Stabat Mater from the classical tradition (it has been put to music by Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Pärt and others) and incorporate different elements of classical music into their own musical language. This way, Madensuyu make a bold statement, but at the same time they place ‘rock’music (and themselves) in a broader (and humbling) timeframe.
‘Stabat Mater’ was conceived over three years and put on to tape played live in the studio in five days in Brussels.
Madensuyu always include physical elements in the artwork of their recorded output. They used concrete and sawdust in the packaging of early demos. By adding a tactile element, they take the effort of bringing across emotions in a most direct and honest way yet another step further. In past releases they included steel (‘Adjust We’), grasslike fiber (‘A Field Between’) and a hand welded electrical fuse (‘D is Done’) in the packaging. The manipulated jewelbox serves as a showcase that highlights the value and tries to freeze in time the musical content. By handcrafting all copies Madensuyu (with help of friends and family) wish to give each buyer a piece of art that is as unique and personal as the music it carries.
For ‘Stabat Mater’, they choose wood as the added component referring to the cross which symbolizes loss in the original hymn.
Stijn –Ylode- De Gezelle and Pieterjan –PJ- Vervondel
Ylode composes, sings, plays 5-string guitar, keys an dynamic midi pedals.
PJ constructs rhythms, plays drums and sings.
CHRONOLOGY AND FACTSHEET
• Madensuyu take the album ‘D Is Done’ on the road from 2008-2011.
• In february 2010 they were invited to play the Recbeat festival in Recife, Brazil. On a off the tourist map visit to Pernambuco they found themselves in the middle of a Brazilian folklore ritual on the eve of the carnival. Ylode and PJ were captivated by the alternating Maracatu drum rhythms and ancestral chants and decided to incorporate these forms into the new album. While composing, Ylode uses these elements also as a reference to the use of recitatives in classical music.
• Although the international interest grows and keeps proposing new opportunities, Madensuyu are eager to create, and decide to stop playing live. But not until joining Wire on a Uk tour and follow-up dates in New York .
• Ylode comes across a documentary about plantation songs including rare Alan Lomax footage capturing a black man pouring pure grief into a song. The images not only illustrate the roots of blues, but also music as a vital part of the human being. It is decided that ‘Stabat Mater’ is going to be a blues album, uncompromised in every way.
• June 2013 the band joins Peter Vermeersch (producer), Staf Verbeeck (Engineer), Koenraad Foesters (assistent-engineer) and Pierre Vervloesem (mixing) in the Jet Studios in Brussels where the album is recorded live in the studio over five consecutive days. The album is mastered by Pieter De Wagter.
Les Rockomotives @ Le Minotaure - Vendôme (fr)
+ Yann Tiersen
Le Guess Who - Utrecht (nl)
Sonic City Festival - Kortrijk (be)
+ 60 ears try out
Les Ateliers Claus - Brussels (be)
Vooruit - Gent (be)
Cactus @ Villa Bota - Brugge (be)
Ekko - Utrecht (nl)
Dommelhof - Neerpelt (be)
Autumn Falls @ Vooruit - Gent (be)
+ Thus Owls + She Keeps Bees
Bars en Trans - Rennes (fr)
Autumn Falls @ Arenbergschouwburg - Antwerpen (be)
+ Thurston Moore + Balmorhea
Le Forum - Charleville Mezières (fr)
Les Rockomotives - Verdome (fr)
Patronaat - Haarlem (nl)
Can'Art - Kuurne (be)
Ancienne Belgique - Brussels (be)
Leffingeleuren - Leffinge (be)
Le Grand Mix - Tourcoing (fr)
Deep In The Woods - Heer-Sur-Meuse (be)
Villa Pace - Sint-Niklaas (be)
Pukkelpop - Kiewit (be)
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Alhambra - Mons (be)
Putrock - Beringen (be)
Effenaar - Eindhoven (nl)
Here Comes The Summer - Vlieland (nl)
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JC Eglantier - Berchem (be)
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Salon IKSV - Istanbul (tr)
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Motel Mozaïque - Rotterdam (nl)
Merleyn - Nijmegen (nl)
Nijdrop - Opwijk (be)
De Brakke Grond - Amsterdam (nl)
MOD - Hasselt (be)
De Kreun - Kortrijk (be)
STUK - Leuven (be)
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Eden - Charleroi (be)
Trix - Antwerpen (be)
Eurosonic @ Vindicat - Groningen (nl)
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4AD - Diksmuide (be)
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Handelsbeurs - Gent (be)
+ Tugrul & Hasan
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+ Tugrul & Hasan