Ongoing Covid-19 affairs | FROM THE HERMIT'S BEDROOM—three years after the self-inflicted isolation...
It’s been three years, since Jean released #FTHB and announced his retrieve from society—in his humble and part-time way; as only he can...
This year, we’ve faced some pandemic terror on our streets—and, thus, in our social lives. So, perhaps, From The Hermit’s Bedroom makes sense, once again—or still; you'll be the judge of that.
It is, perhaps, one of Jean’s most perfect albums—considering the comments people left three years ago.
If you’re not yet convinced, these little messages by listeners, may convince you, to put #FTHB in your all-time best to survive some kind of isolated existence playlist—even though Jean does not believe in that type of music-making...
"I have all of Jean Koning's previous albums, and this one is clearly quite a shock on first listen. The songs are very spare and open, mostly haunting vocals and piano, but after a couple listens I cant help but give this 5 stars. Judging it not by Koning's back catalog, but rather as a singular effort, I cant help but love it. The songs are just really good. If you have an open mind, dont let the 1 star reviews and the low stream-numbers scare you away. If this was a debut album from a new artist, I have a suspicion you wouldnt be seeing any low ratings."
"I did not know what to expect when I bought this latest album by Jean Koning. I own every one of his previous album's and with each one have been amazed at how different and unique each one is. I figured that with this one he's done it all, so what could he possibly come up with next? Well, I was very surprised and 'riveted' to this new album. Definitely all the other reviews using the term 'haunting' is correct. However, Jean gives his listeners something more in this album - a baring of his emotional soul. Listening to this album felt intimate in a way that I rarely feel with music these days. Jean has once again reminded me what real music is. Real music is not background music, not fluff, not the same old beat with different lyrics, but an experience that changes your being."
"Jean Koning is certainly an original. Who else could decide to write a dark, piano-based album that sounds and looks like it's from two centuries ago? And pull it off so disturbingly well. In a world that seems, for the most part, more interested in how sluggishly so-called singers performed their latest piece of bubblegum pop, we're lucky to have a few true artists in prominence. You probably won't enjoy this album if your criteria are strictly loud guitars/drums, or sampled/sugary sexpop (sung by the latest bimbo, accompanied by the latest rap guru).
But if you're a discerning listener with an understanding of music - and an appreciation of innovation in that field - buy this immediately. It's not for the feint-hearted, however - you probably wouldn't play it at a dinner party - but it is an astonishing piece of work from an artist who doesn't stop pushing the envelope. It's the whole package."
"Stunning and haunting. Jean managed complete originality in both music and dark poetic vocals. Perfect for deep reflection on so many musical levels."
"From The Hermit's Bedroom being the 5th studio album and his 2017 release is a very avant-garde album that is more towards the genre of experimental music than alternative rock. I like this with Jean Koning. He never stands still in his creativity and this is no exception. He challenges both new and old fans with this album that is remarkably different from any of the other albums that I have listened to. This is a stupendous record. 5/5."
"With or without some spectral lyrics, I was going to get a ghosty feel from From The Hermit's Bedroom anyway. 10 seconds worth of seeing the missing number of stars in reviews already told me what I've quietly suspected for the past year or so. This is probably Jean's most controversial album thus far. Right off the bat, there's no guitar at all. If you're expecting/needing some of Jean's gritty post-punk-blues types of songs, just keep on moving along because this isn't that.
This is an album of melancholic beauty where you don't feel like you're listening to a cd so much as you're hearing a solitary, haunted piano drifting down from your attic. Not that it's only piano and vocals, but piano is the dominant instrument.
At the very least I would have thought every Jean Koning listener probably loves the Truly Love The Hunt track. How does someone not? It and a couple other tunes here would be devastating, I'd think, were they played at or after the funeral of a friend. Most of the times I've listened to this album I find myself just sitting there 5 minutes after it ended. Somehow sad but not with a heavy heart. Sonically, this music is somewhere I need to go."
"None of Jean's albums is like the other. He always does a different thing but this desire of his is not "I will do the most challenging music on Earth", but a desire of "inner journey" to his soul and his creativity of story telling. Whatever he does, even if he would sing a 30 second melody, he gives all of his emotion, charisma and power, which I thought what makes him different. He does not have any fear to use a few instruments cause he knows the number of instruments is not the case, the case is if the song is good and powerful. He does not have any fear going to even the darkest places and emotions. He can "really" face it and live it not just to do it only.
From The Hermit's Bedroom is a dark, sad and honest beauty. He shows that he can go deeper and deeper. The album is powerful and full of grace.
I think he deserves the succes of being "free" in music, I mean "the real freedom". That's what a musician could do. Not only selling so much or being so popular but to create without any fear of losing popularity and whatever. That's why I always see him as the hero of free musicians in alternative music world.
I feel so lucky and excited following his works and I will countinue to follow with pleasure..."
"I don't know why people say it grows on you, I loved it since the very first time!
Koning's vocals are out of this world, so fragile, ethereal... he is great in transmiting those inner feelings we experience many times but just don't know how to express... all that longing, frustration, despair...
And the cover is genious! Another win for Jean!"
"This album is haunting, original, stirring. It's Wilkie Collin's and cold lonely moors, and utterly compelling. Really unlike any album I've ever heard before. Much is made of his piano playing, but these aren't piano ballads. The piano sounds more like wind chimes, broken music boxes, a portal to another world. Highlights are many, but especially Truly Love The Hunt, The Cause Of All My Scars, Heroin, and Head Full Of Droids."
"This is a fragile, delicate album, full of tender piano and brittle textures. Yes, Koning's playing is rudimentary and his voice is less aggressive than usual, but that serves to make the songs personal and intimate. It's not an easy album to get into for those used to his usual sound, and probably difficult for first-timers too.
Many listeners compare this to his other albums, but I don't think that's fair. From The Hermit's Bedroom is a completely different beast. This may turn off most long-time fans, but if you give this album a chance you'll find him just as exposed and vulnerable as on Industrial City In The Clouds without the brash aggression to compensate. He's not angry here, he's sad."
"Anyone who's listened to more than one Jean Koning album knows that he hates to repeat himself, and so far has managed to avoid it. I knew this when I got From The Hermit's Bedroom earlier this year, but I was still surprised when I actually listened to it.
From The Hermit's Bedroom manages to be beautiful, eerie, delicate, and surprisingly powerful. He put his lower vocals to use to create a lighter, airier sound that matches the lyrics.
Lyrically, this has to be one of Koning's sadder albums. He's always been fascinated with tragedy as the subject of his songs, but From The Hermit's Bedroom hits a whole new level.
He also sounds almost delicate on From The Hermit's Bedroom, something I hadn't expected as much from Koning. But he nevers comes across as helpless or mopey. He's still as powerful as ever."
"Can't say why this album appeals to me so much, I wasn't expecting to like it. "Industrial City In The Clouds" was the last thing he put out that I enjoyed, and I'd kind of given up on him (and music in general). Currently, though, "From The Hermit's Bedroom" is possibly my favorite Koning album to date. The production is simple, unadorned, perfect for the songs. The arrangements are sparse, but extremely subtle and well conceived. I hear an album where I feel like every note and drum beat has been placed exactly where it needs to go, with nothing extra and nothing left out. Leaves me a bit floored, actually.
As for the lyrics: yeah, they're hell for bleak and depressing and uber-personal. On another album they might be too much for me to take, but here, with this music, he manages to make it work (for MY earholes, at least). An album so clearly private and confessional, I feel lucky just to be privy to its contents."
"Jean Koning provides more drama in one album than most artists create in a career. Mr. Koning has just taken his meloncholic trip to another level. From The Hermit's Bedroom is a tremendous achievement. With timeless instruments and ghost-like vocals, Jean Koning has created one of the finest albums of 17.
Through layers and layers of atomsphere, Koning spins a world of his own. A world out of time. Much like Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the aeroplane over the sea," P.J. Harvey's "White Chalk," and Nick Drake's "Pink Moon," From The Hermit's Bedroom has no peers in modern music. These four albums could have been released anytime over the last fifty years.
Throughout From The Hermit's Bedroom, Koning's voice growls over the delicate tinkling of a piano. Jean has put away his guitar and drum-machines and scaled back his famous howl to shacky grunt-like singing. Koning wills his piano to tell a sad story in the same way he could bend the notes blue on his guitar.
The song The Cause Of All My Scars is one of the best of his career. One pictures a ghost-like figure searching the English moors for yesterday's answers; Answers just beyond the reach. Other highlights include: the disturbing Just The Mess We Made, the graceful Head Full Of Droids and the unrestrained Truly Love The Hunt.
From The Hermit's Bedroom uses quiet effects and echo to affect listeners and this makes it one of the finest releases of 2017."
"If you know Jean's work you are in for a treat not because you are about to hear another Wake Up In L.A., Industrial City In The Sun or Lotus Tape (his 3 most sonically accessible albums) but because you are about to be set on a sonic adventure that still caries Jean's brand.
The album is very self conscious, minimal, unpolished , fleeting.
It reminds me of watching a lone candle flicker in a dark room, much like the image on the cover.
The good news is that the songs are still very Jean at the core. There are hooks, there are twists and they are grounded by his voice which unlike his trademark growl that is consciously transformed into a haunting, dark, low wail that sustains the record.
For those who are willing to work with the album and give it a critical listen the album offers rewards especially on songs like Head Full Of Droids, The Cause Of All My Scars, Heroin, Just The Mess We Made and The Insults, The Insults, The Insults.
They all hint at an evolution of an artist who is looking outside the comfort zone and pushes the boundry.
His recent state-side shows further highlight the evolution as transforms his image into a one man band demonstrating that through this album he finally finds a wholeness he only could hint at on the other records. True, those who seek a more pop-y, light-hearted, immediately consumable affair should pass on this album, for that is not it's aim.
However those who enjoy a little puzzle, a little intimacy, a little allegory and critical listen will find that this album reveals itself beautifully. It hints at the joy of evolution and like Jean suggests its not a somber, gloomy record, but a record that revels in the dark. And invites you to enjoy the dark with it."
"I hated this the first time I heard it (actually during this year of trying to listen to it again and again). I just listened to it in line with all all of his other album's, it's a very grown up Jean. I once described Jean to a friend as either depressed or really, really depressed. His music generally sounds a certain way when he's really really depressed. He's generally angry and wants to kill something or wants you to kill him (since you already have emotionally), or perhaps he wants you to just kill yourself, or somehow the devil is involved, but always the great synchopated rhythms and base. When he's in a good mood, well something might also die, but he's more up beat about it, he wants to hang in a garden, or just watch you undress, and there's always the great rhythms and base.
Well this is none of those things, it's ethereal, and as if he is looking inward to see, perhaps if he caused some of these problems himself. Well now I'd say that's a grown up approach. Don't expect to be uplifted, don't expect for it to be catchy. Don't even expect to exactly understand it, but in the context of listening to his other albums, it is remarkably satisfying. It completes the thought, and so now we have a picture of why he's so angry sometimes, or why he's wearing the AK47 around, why he wears a dress sometimes, why Kurt Cobain is his star, why he sees his own beauty reflected in your eyes but only in Greenwich Village, why the devil is driving him down and begs him for some one-on-one sex, why he's going to withstand that flood. It all makes sense.
So I think I'm just a fanboy, but still compared to all of the other crap music around these days, this is really very good, and says something a little different. Although there is no way I would just put this on thinking, I'm going to enjoy a little background music. This is modern Joni Mitchell."
"For those who know Jean Koning since his first gigs in Amsterdam, this is obviously a return to form. Industrial City In The Clouds was atrocious, and the LOTUS tape was non-descript. Jean Koning knows how to suffer successfully and how to metabolize pain into song. Judging from this album, he probably won't get to write the next one. There are hints of apathy and despair everywhere, and they are heartbreaking. Loneliness has been the dominant theme of Koning's songs, and here it's in the foreground. Escaping from it with drugs, longing for the dead who can't talk to us, the sorrow of unrequited love: it's all here. The songs have no guitar and minimal drums. A lot of minor chords played on a piano, with interesting passages. All is kept simple, and brimming with tension. There are a few arrangements that would have been unthinkable 12 years ago. Be My BFF shows the influence of Radiohead; elsewhere you can hear a organ and a celesta. But everything is unmistakably original. One of the best musical outliers of recent music."