the dragon is still alive
T’iju T’iju’s debut EP 1: the dragon is still alive – out March 28 2024 on MOLK Records and esc.rec. – was written and recorded by Van Tol during a retreat in Spain. The two tracks, “Blue Birds” and “New Grass”, (a nod to Talk Talk’s seminal final LP Laughing Stock) were shaped by manipulating organic sounds with an assembly of synth modules and tape manipulations. Van Tol took on a tactile approach that felt novel and adventurous to him. In the past, he had completed works that were meant to be performed or vice versa, performances that were meant to put to rest on a recording.
These recordings are more candid and personal, homing in on the moments themselves, music made with no audience in mind. “This EP is composed, but also pieces in which you yourself are surprised by a sound. “New Grass” has a clarinet in it... I mean, I can't really play the clarinet, but that’s always been one of my dreams. So what if I can’t play the clarinet? I am very happy with those three clarinet notes I did play on the track. That's why I consider T’iju T’iju a present I’m giving to myself, instead of looking for someone else’s approval.”
1: the dragon is still alive is the first of a series of releases in which Van Tol chases down his own curiosity through sound, without the weight of laboring over the results. Just because T’iju T’iju is a solo endeavor, doesn’t mean the music can’t attach to and interact with other disciplines. Case in point, the next chapter for the project involves a soundtrack of a film. The music is a snapshot of sounds acting like characters driven by impulse and curiosity, much like a natural ecosystem, unraveling without second guessing itself.
“That is in nature, there are things that happen without raising any questions. And because this EP is the first starting point of a series, I'm curious to see how that will reflect in a few years. Suppose it becomes three or four albums, which thread will I discover?”