One of Belgium’s finest bands…
After the tight and straightforward sounding ‘360°’ album, Mintzkov intended to open up their music a little more. On their third full length recording, ‘Rising Sun, Setting Sun’, the fivesome from Antwerp reaches out for a more streamlined and more dancefloor orientated sound, in which the role of keyboard player Pascal Oorts has become more prominent. “What we were after was a little more movement within the songs”, singer and guitarist Philip Bosschaerts explains. “Or rather: a different kind of movement.”
The new album was recorded with Jagz Kooner, a British producer whose services were previously called upon by the likes of Primal Scream, Kasabian, New Order and Reverend & The Makers. Kooner, a one time member of Sabres of Paradise and a prolific dj and remixer in his own right, heard a Mintzkov demo at his manager’s office and was drawn to the “undercurrent of Krautrock” in their music. In the studio he basically tried to emphasize the anthemic qualities in Mintzkov’s songs. His advice was: “If you have a great chorus, then don’t hide it at the tail end of a track”. Still the band regularly caused him to raise his eyebrows. The 5/4 signature of ‘The Simple Future’ or the downright weird structure of ‘Roadbuilding’ caught him slightly off balance.
Gradually a lack of understanding made way for admiration. One thing to remember about Mintzkov is their songs need some getting used to. And to give him credit, Jagz Kooner made some very useful suggestions during the recording process. Although ‘Opening Fire’ originally presented itself as a fairly abstract, epic tune, he managed to uncover the concise pop song that lay dormant in it. He also convinced the band that ‘Gemini’, the quiet track that closes off the album, worked better in its stripped down guise than with layered instrumentation.
Another of Mintzkov’s principal assets is the gorgeous sounding harmony of Bosschaerts’ singing with bass player Lies Lorquet. The latter can also be heard as a guest vocalist on the latest albums by dEUS and The Go Find.
Philip Bosschaerts’ lyrics are no linear stories. Instead you could compare them to a carefully woven tapestry of images and metaphors. But as you listen to ‘Rising Sun, Setting Sun’, it does not take long before certain themes start rising to the surface. The singer, who recently celebrated his thirtieth birthday, seems to be obsessed with the passing of time and crossing borders. There is also a huge amount of acceptance and resignation in the songs. “You shouldn’t waste any time or energy on things in life you cannot change anyway”, Bosschaerts says.
‘Rising Sun, Setting Sun’ will come out simultaneously in the Benelux countries, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. A French release is to follow in the fall.
The artwork of the album was made by Kati Heck, a German visual artist currently living in Antwerp whose work can be seen in museums and art galleries all over the world. She made some drawings for the booklet and authorized the band to reproduce her painting ‘Fratzenpleite’ on the cover of ‘Rising Sun, Setting Sun’.
A fitting image to a nearly perfect pop record. Play it loud.