LP (E43)

This record is Shifts’ probable farewell, following over
a decade of recordings and concerts. Initiated by Frans
de Waard for a ‘soft guitar’ record on Richo Johnson’s
Fourth Dimension label in 1995, the project has evolved
to include many releases, all distinguished by their singular
instrumentation (including two deviations from the guitar —
Sonates and Interlude uses the piano, while One Piece for
Cymbal has a single cymbal). Trees/Leaves was made
with a four-string Spanish guitar de Waard bought for
a Euro on Koninginnedag (Dutch Queen’s Day) in 2004.

Besides running his Korm Plastics and MOLL labels,
and recording variously as Kapotte Muziek, Goem, Freiband,
Captain Black or Zebra, Frans de Waard is also the founder
and editor of Vital Weekly, the music news and reviews
bulletin he has been publishing 48 times a year since
1987 — an impressive commitment in our fickle times.

See also
Idea Fire Company (E51)

Edition of 200 copies

When ordering more than one LP,
please email us first in order to
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“Just gorgeous music. My favourite de Waard to date”

— Scott Foust

Frans de Waard; self portrait, 2007


An indicator of how the mind of Frans de Waard is disposed
to a long memory and great precision in recalling the exact
sequence of events in his musical career, can be discerned
through perusing the sleeve notes to Trees/Leaves, which
he made under his Shifts alias in 2005. Precisely ten years
before that, he recalls how he made a ‘soft guitar record’ for
the English Fourth Dimension label. He goes on to describe
subsequent electric guitar and sampling experiments that
he recorded and performed, which may or may not be
connected with the acoustic guitar music you hear on
this LP.

Ed Pinsent in The Sound Projector

This LP will likely constitute the last release by Frans de
Waard under the Shifts moniker. Started in 1995, this
project has probably gone even too far away in respect
to de Waard’s original intentions, but it has surely meant
quite a lot for aficionados of string-based droning (even
if once he did make a piece with a cymbal). This final
chapter is exactly what one would expect in a Shifts
album: two long mantras for superimposed guitars,
whose strings are bowed or in some way stressed
with motorised appliances. No changes in the harmony,
no illusions of modulations, nothing. The only thing that
we feel mutating is the frequency of the vibration, and
this makes the sound range from a bagpipe-like drone to
a harmonium replica. Imagine, if you will, a cheaper and
mellower version of Tony Conrad’s most entrancing
material and you’re almost there.

Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes

Both Trees and Leaves are long, minimal layered guitar
experiments, with just enough variation and depth to
warrant your attention and enough similarity to lull you
into a comfortable listen. Those qualifications are what
makes this album great and probably the best Shifts
[record] out there.

Freek Kinkelaar at Vital Weekly