Zea and Oscar Jan Hoogland
MR 29 ● LP ● 2020
Oscar Jan Hoogland (Amsterdam, 1983) is the sound of Amsterdam incarnated. He plays the concert hall, the jazz venues, the rock ’n’ roll bars, the theatres, the art lofts and the underground basements. He is an instant composer, pianist and inventor of his own instrument by putting a clavichord on 220 Volt electricity. As the last student of pianist, composer and improvisor Misha Mengelberg he tears like a tornado through the Amsterdam jazz and impro scene, plays with legends like Han Bennink, organises concerts, festivals, ad hoc theatre and performances and teaches at the drama school.
Oscar Jan grew up in the Jordaan, an old neighbourhood in Amsterdam’s city centre, between the forte pianos owned by his father, classical pianist Stanley Hoogland. As a teenager at the beginning of this century he jumped over the classical music line and dived straight into the local impro and indie rock scenes, and that’s how he ended up, at age sixteen, at a festival in Paradiso where he saw Zea play. He could not believe his eyes when he saw Arnold de Boer, singer and guitarist of Zea, the next morning in school as his new teacher “Maatschappijleer” (sociology).
Arnold de Boer (Makkum, 1974) moved from the Frisian village called Makkum to Amsterdam in the early nineties to study and to be able to attend a concert every night. At the local drumband and harmony orchestra Hallelujah Makkum he learned to play drums and trumpet, but once in Amsterdam he switched to guitar and started his own band Zea. The headstrong mix of jumpy indie rock, beat punk, sample pop, noise and lo-fi dub got picked up far outside the lowlands and since the release of Zea’s debut album Kowtow To An Idiot (Transformed Dreams, 2000) Zea toured all over the world.
Arnold got involved in organising concert nights and festivals in Amsterdam including a monthly night at Paradiso. He set up many nights at local DIY venue OCCII. In 2009 he joined the long and strong going post-punk band The Ex, that took him straight into a whole new scene of Ethiopian jazz and improvised music. For the monthly Paradiso night Arnold invited Oscar Jan to come and play with his new band. It was the beginning of a series of invitations back and forth, between off kilter songwriting and improvisation, that still continues and that resulted in recording the album called Summing.
A hypnotic groove under a playful song next to an arabic melody on top of an improvised sound collage; the music made up of independent parts, all recorded in one take. The songs are percussive and move on the poly rhythms of two parallel switched turbines.
On the cover of the album you see a drawing by Amsterdam cartoonist René Windig. On the back cover you see Zea and Oscar Jan Hoogland live in the north of Ghana; it’s the image of a duo that dug itself up from the future and dives headfirst into the world.