Antwerp – Het Eilandje

A view of Antwerp, from the MAS Museum, on a rainy day in May.

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The Mas Museum

The MAS Museum
While in Antwerp last Sunday, we also paid a visit to the MAS Museum. The wonderful architecture of the building is completely in sync with its surroundings. It reaches out to the seaport and it is linked to the old city which is close by.

Famous Belgian painter Luc Tuymans has set up his ‘Glasses’ exhibition in the MAS Museum. Tomorrow I will add some photos of paintings that can be watched there now.

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Popol Vuh/Seligpreisung

Popol Vuh/ Seligpreisung
Arguably their best album. Notice the absence of any bass lines. In rock music, the bass part is vital to the overall sound. Listening to rock music through an tiny iPhone speaker is all but an excruciating experience.

But, strangely, these tracks stay afloat without the bass guitar. The music sucks you in. You realise that it should not be otherwise.

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Faust/Meadow Meal

Faust/ Meadow Meal
Faust was kind of a link between two leading krautrock bands in the late sixties/early seventies: Amon Düül II ( see 2 days ago) which was pure hippie psychedelia, and Can, which, like Neu and Kraftwerk, drew heavily from the Velvet Underground approach. They often sounded like preparing for a future which was then rapidly taking shape: loud, bizzy, relentless, industrial, confusing,… yes, fun days were over.

Popol Vuh, another truly enigmatic band from the late sixties, was totally different. In a way, it was the antidote. Together with bands like Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel in Germany, the early solo work of people like Brian Eno ( ‘Evening Star’, with Robert Fripp!) ànd through developments in minimalist classical music (f.i. Michael Nyman or Gavin Bryars with his impressive ‘Sinking of the Titanic’), they paved the way for what later became the hugely popular New Age style of music.

Tracks by Popol Vuh, Brian Eno, Ash Ra Tempel probably coming tomorrow.

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Saul Bellow/Herzog

Saul Bellow/ Herzog

Whatever had come over him during these last months, the spell, really seemed to be passing, really going. He set down his hat, with the roses and daylilies, on the half-painted piano, and went into his study, carrying the wine bottles in one hand like a pair of Indian clubs. Walking over notes and papers, he lay down on his Recamier couch. As he strechted out, he took a long breath, and then he lay, looking at the mesh of the screen, pulled loose by vines, and listening to the steady scratching of Mrs Tuttle’s broom. He wanted to tell her to sprinkle the floor. She was raising too much dust. In a few minutes he would call down to her, ‘Damp it down, Mrs Tuttle. There’s water in the sink.’ But not just yet. At this time he had no messages for anyone. Nothing. Not a single word.

(Penguin Books, 1971; first published in 1964)
And so ends Saul Bellow’s famous novel “Herzog”.He was born in Canada in 1915 and grew up in Chicago. He first drew attention with “Dangling Man” (1944), then rose to fame with “The Adventures of Augie March” and much later “Herzog” and “Seize the Day”. Saul Bellow died in 2005. 

Actually, I read a Dutch translation of this novel, early in the Seventies , when I was still a student at the University of Leuven, Belgium. That Dutch copy has disappeared from our library or it might still be in a box in the attic, forever waiting to be unpacked. Time flies by.

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