Fever Ray, Broeder Dieleman, Klein Zieltje and his rise to fame

September 29, 2013
by Tjeerd van Erve

Klein zieltje - Broeder Dieleman


That was my first reaction when I place the needle in the new 10″ of Broeder Dieleman, Klein Zieltje. Four new songs that draw a totally different approach than on his debut Alles Is IJdelheid.

It’s weird how much the sound of an artist can change between one recording and the next. Over the course of slightly less than a year, Broeder Dieleman moved from intimate folk to a threatening slow neo folk close to the mysterious and disruptive sound of Fever Ray, morphed and disfigured childlike voice included.

Lets stand up to change speed on my record player from 33 to 45 rpm.

Not that Broeder Dieleman hasn’t changed anything, the sound on this new ep is more pronounced than Alles Is IJdelheid. More layers, instruments and voice are added; in the background some childlike voice happily skips along. But the essence – with or without harmonium, singing saw (or something that creates a similar sound) and electric guitar – remains; New traditional folk rooted from the shore, the Dutch – Zeeuwse – soil won from the sea. These flatlands are haunted by communities of strict orthodox Protestant religious traditions.

Songs centered around a soberly played banjo or guitar, whilst producer Pim Van De Werken usually refrains himself from adding more layers. Dieleman creates sufficient depth to the music by himself, with song structures bordering close to both Alasdair Roberts and Wovenhand. Specific moments skewered by added arrangements do precisely that what you wish of them: bring an extra – haunting – dimension to the songs.

The above mentioned weapons serve merely as accents, nonetheless weapons that are highly effective with just sparsely fired shots. Threatening, making quite possibly the most sympathetic artist in the Dutch music scene sound like an obsessed preacher in “Men Hoort In Deze Slechte Tijd”. But strengthening as well: This Friendly Giant’s comforting powers are demonstrated in “Land Van Verandering”. The latest a song was written and recorded for the soundtrack of the likewise named movie – as is the closer – naturally making them both slightly less demanding, a bit a-typical for Dieleman’s sound. Certainly however, all four songs show big growth. Not surprising though, this growth, considering how quick Tonnie Dieleman’s career has gone the last year. Wonder if he’d seen that coming last year, when we had a nice chat on a sunny terrace during Incubate.

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