Morc Records / Belgium / RE 2023
soccer Committee has always been an consistent exercise in restraint, and offering space. And on ‘♥ /Lamb’, this approach has been taken to perfection. The arrangements are still minimal, with plenty of time for the tones and melodies to resonate with maximum impact. Mariska Baars still carefully selects each note, and lets the sound evolve with precise care. Her songs are definitely rooted in the folktradition, but at the same time very ‘ambient’, in the true sense of the word.
And still: there’s a bit of a different approach here, compared with her earlier work. Tracks like ‘No turn to harm’ and ‘Reaching’ have a few very subtle extra layers added. Aride Afar starts out as Baar’s most distorted work thusfar – she even asked the help of Wouter Van Veldhoven to add a tape loop recording, and that works remarkably well: the track balances on the edge of disintigration, but it takes a master like Baars to keep it together.
And then soccer Committee takes another leap in the dark: the B-side opens with ‘Imagining you in the room’. This mostly acapella song stands as Baars' longest composition thus far. Yet not a single tone is redundant, and Baars deliveres it so skillful and humble that it feels like a symphony on its own. After that: just one more track, and you’re ready to re-listen the album.
On ‘♥ / Lamb’, you can feel the unwavering focus of Baars so present that it’s sheer impossible not to focus as a listener yourself. But what makes Baars so otherworldly is her gift to still make it sound comforting and reassuring rather than demanding for attention. ♥/ Lamb is an invitation you’re more than happy to accept.