When you listen to this EP you can really picture Louw van Zyl buried deep in the berg’s belly, single-handedly using unusual sounds to tell an intimate story with his songs. He manages to create an interesting relationship between the rough vocals, classical-inspired guitar parts, distant-sounding sound bites of the outdoors and even some tentative piano lines recorded from his parent’s old piano.
Van Zyl explains that he “wanted to record an album using the limited gear I had at my disposal: To create something unique out of nothing and to record an honest reflection of my music at that time,” which really comes across in “Buried Deep in the Belly of the Berg”.
There is a distinctly home-made feel to the recordings which makes for an extremely intimate listening experience and although the instrumentation is sparse, the sound of van Zyl’s vocals is soft and warm, which fills the space of the tracks in a dreamy way. My favourite track on the EP is ‘The Sun Feels the Same’, linked to the previous track by sounds of the Magaliesberg wilderness at sunset, filled with reverb-soaked haunting vocals.
I think this is a difficult album to appreciate if you’re not interested in listening to or familiar with lo-fi music, but if you are one or both of these things, then you will be enchanted by van Zyl’s raw, experimental sound.
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Listen to “Buried Deep in the Belly of the Berg” below.