‘My Cauliflower Ears’ is the third album from Netherlands-born, Benjamin van Vliet, who makes music under the name, Microwolf.
‘My Cauliflower Ears’ combines the sonically rich, yet minimal approach of drone music, the sampling techniques of hip hop, and the intimacy of folk-styled songwriting and storytelling. It’s an honest, personal, and roughhewn sort of sound. This type of hard-to-frame vocal music has helped convert some of the most diehard instrumental music fans, into fans of vocal-lead music such as this. Music where the vocal truly plays the role of an instrument, just as much as anything else in the song.
Before Van Vliet started Microwolf, he’d always made music that was a compromise. Making music with others he’d naturally strive for democracy. So the outcome would always be a mix of ideas, wherein his more outlandish ideas would usually get tossed in the process. Microwolf was designed to be an outlet for those things Van Vliet knew he’d have to do himself to get them right.
Having never fully taken the creative reins before, the first two Microwolf albums (‘You Better Go Now’ and the mini-album ‘You Are The Everything’) were a huge learning curve. ‘You Better Go Now’ is sonically all over the place and absolutely stuffed with ideas. That album could have been the beginning and the end of Microwolf, but about two years later Van Vliet realized he had at least one more solo album in him. After taking a refugee vow with a Buddhist lama in 2018 and diving deeper into drone music and contemporary classical music, Van Vliet set out to make a statement that was far more subtle and better articulated. An album that was short, quiet, conceptually precise, but executed loosely and freely. No tight rhythms, no strummed guitars, no loud singing. Music that embraces its own emptiness, awkwardness and fleetingness.
The resulting album, ‘My Cauliflower Ears,’ in the words of Van Vliet, is the most radical music he’s ever made. In that it achieves exactly what he set out to do, following up on rhythmic ideas and sonic landscapes that he has walked around with for years. There’s a humbly triumphant dynamic at play here, one that feels like Van Vliet has turned inward, learned some lessons from his past, and now has the clarity to express this intimate discourse.
Releases August 21, 2020
All songs written and recorded by Benjamin van Vliet
Mastered by Martijn Comes
Layout and design by R. Keane