Thuistezien 277 — 26.05.2021

Flowers/Ghosts & Echoes
Onze Ambassade Festival

On September 8 and 9, 2019, West ushered in the new cultural season with ‘Onze Ambassade Festival’, a free, two-day musical program featuring a wide array of local, as well as, international artists and styles from minimal meditative drones to ear-bleeding punk-rock and everything in between. Music is a universal language with infinite expressive potential and possibility unencumbered by objective definition unlike most languages. Music speaks to us in many different ways, and the same music can be understood in a plethora of ways depending on the listener and their sensitivities. With such an eclectic program, West exposes a similarly eclectic audience to some of the limitless, outspoken, and unique artistic interpretations of music and performance.

After the first evening concluded with jubilant dancing, drinking and partying around two in the morning, the second day’s program began a mere ten hours later around noon on a beautiful late-summer Sunday. To welcome in the new day, Flowers/Ghosts & Echoes kicked off the program with a calm, serene meditation on the guitar and light. Flowers/Ghosts & Echoes is a the Hague based improvisational guitar duo consisting of Gonçalo Oliveira and James Alex Andropoulos Mc-Ewan that explores the chaotic complexities inherent in the electric guitar and its circuitry. Their music can be understood as an improvisational exploration into the guitar and its capabilities, from subtle microtonal clashes to overwhelming waves of layered sounds. These sonic elements played by Mc-Ewan and Oliveira interact with the performative visuals of Felix Bodin, using his self-designed visual instrument, consisting of projections reflected throughout the restored auditorium designed by Marcel Breuer with the use of a malleable mirroring surface spreading, distorting or focusing digitally generated patterns into a unique and dazzling light show.

Sometimes delicate and beautifully serene, other times erratic, unpredictable and exciting, the trio started off the day with a soothing, yet powerful ambiance. From the ecstatic evening the night before, Flowers/Ghosts & Echoes was the ideal opening act for the new day, creating a fresh sonic palette allowing the second day to stand independently from the first, all the while leaving space for the musical program to evolve and develop throughout the day.

The juxtaposed sound and visuals create a hypnagogic experience ideal for the exhausted, gradually awakening state of mind often experienced on a Sunday morning. Drift away into the sounds and sights, forget about time, form, and the everyday bustle. Instead, relax in the temporary comforts of timeless, gradually evolving sonic forms and ambiguous dancing imagery as Flowers/Ghosts & Echoes give us a sense of the infinite vibrations that are at the core of the soul, universe, and life.

Text: Hendrik Hohlfeld