Ready? Set? Go!

And so it begins. SCHNTZL have brought out their outstanding debut album and have launched their first big release tour. Last week they made a start on conquering the Netherlands, with shows at the International Jazz Festival Rotterdam and the Paradox in Tilburg. Yesterday Aartselaar was the place to be for the first concert of the tour around Flanders and Wallonia, a double bill with Nathalie Loriers Trio organised by JazzLab Series and Les Lundis d’Hortence. For a chance to see your favourite jazz duo live, check the agenda.

Meanwhile, the album itself has been tried, tested and approved by numerous critics, who have delivered the following verdict:

Jazzenzo: “SCHNTZL are charting their very own course on their self-titled debut album. The references to GoGo Penguin, Brad Mehldau, Steve Reich and Philip Glass can be clearly heard. Sparse, layered music, cinematic and atmospheric with abundant melodic drums and a delicate touch on the piano. No trace of muscle flexing or excess, but concentration and dedication to dig deep into the essence of music in beautiful, cinematic, atmospheric sketches.”

enola (Guy Peters): “schntzl offers everything you could hope for: a sound of their own, excelling in maturity, refinement, and accurately executed adventure, a use of production and technology that exceeds cosmetic colouring or lame gimmick (something they have in common with De Beren Gieren, who made use of it just as elegantly) and mostly, a mutual empathy that will undoubtedly lead to more exploration and deepening.”

Stefaan Vandenberghe (N.E.W.S. / Sdban): “A timeless debut album by two young talents who have managed to forge a bridge between classical and electronic music. A duo to keep an eye on!”

Mike Bindraban (Good Music Company / Tour Manager of a.o Snarky puppy): “It is Flemish, but could just as well have come from the caverns of Brooklyn.”

Wannes Gyselinck (Theatre maker / freelance journalist / member of the STORM! contest jury): “The band name may not have any vowels, the band no bass, and the band members no beard or criminal record, but SCHNTZL resonates like a bell, barks like a Saint-Bernard dog and is meaner than Gesualdo (who apart from being a genius apparently was very mean as well). Hendrik Lasure and Casper Van de Velde are stretching the logic and harmonies of popsongs, unfolding them and playing them with capricious algorithms, and then distilling lyricism from it. They expand and work out simple musical ideas ad absurdum, by for instance experimenting with repetition, length, variation and counterintuitive structures, until the concept becomes poetry and the simplicity complex. The duo, together and separately, on drums and keys, taps into sonorities that James Blake dreams about when he’s imagining he is John Dowland. Don’t buy a vowel, buy this self-titled album of the best vowelless band under the Flemish moon. Because rarely did a debut sound so mature and maturity so exciting.”

Knack says “these boys are elegant, layered and not easily impressed” and De Morgen mentioned SCHNTZL as one of the most promising bands in the very lively Belgian jazz scene of today (see below). So rush to your local record store or buy the album (on cd or vinyl) online here! What are you waiting for?

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