Belgian auto-didactic musician / multi-instrumentalist / composer Mathieu Vandekerckhove is known from his activities in acts like AmenRa, Caan, Sembler Deah or Kingdom, but since ten years, he acts as a solo-artist under the moniker of Syndrome as well. In 2011, for example, he did release the surprising full length Floating Veins (on CD and LP, via ConSouling Sounds).
Now And Forever was dedicated (again) to Mathieu’s son Wolf, and it is a very personal one-track record (you might consider it a musical poem). It was released on CD through, again, ConSouling Sounds, in 2012 (April 20th, more specifically; the review I did back then is available in the Archives Section, but I will take most of the stuff down here, with a couple of adaptations).
Main difference: the CD-version lasted for almost half an hour, this vinyl-edition clocks thirty five minutes. Good news indeed for vinyl-fans! To finalise this work, Mathieu was helped out by his friend and long-time colleague Colin H. Van Eeckhout, as well as Josh Graham (of Neurosis / Red Sparowes / Battle Of Mice / Tribes Of Neurot / A Storm Of Light-fame). The whole was recorded at the Dekreun Studio (in Kortrijk, Belgium) by Hein Devos, whom Mathieu did work with before for AmenRa.
Now And Forever opens the sober, integer way, with a semi-acoustic passage, classifiable as Post-Rock (yet without any progressive element). After a couple of minutes, the hymn transcends into a floating, mesmerizing soundscape, very meditative and hypnotic, and this goes on for a long time. The whole track seems to be divided in several parts, sometimes interspersed with quasi-narrative vocals, yet the distinctive pieces are very cohesive and float into each other very naturally and organically. As a whole, Now And Forever sounds less droning and hard-faced than Floating Veins, yet still moody and appealing. There’s less ‘action’ than before as well, but despite the more subdued approach, Now And Forever sticks to fascination and absorbance. It’s not an easy-listening record, yet at the same time very laid-back. Sonic Art for sure! The score remains the same, of course, as last year’s CD-version.