Jan Swerts unveils instrumental piano song 'Dezen Killen Grond'

Posted on 27 Oct 2021

Dezen Killen Grond' – ‘This Cold Ground’ is the third track we get to hear from the fourth album by pianist and minimalist Jan Swerts, due in just a few weeks. For 'Oud Zeer’ Jan was inspired by the serenity and melancholy that haunts old cemeteries. Each of the song titles on the record are epitaphs he encountered on his late night wanderings. The recordings themselves are also interspersed with field recordings he made at cemeteries.

Unlike in other continents, where people not only mourn but also party, play and laugh, cemeteries in the West are associated not with warmth, but with coldness: the cold corpse disappears into the chilly ground and people stand in front of the icy stone like statues, while the cold wind howls.

The full title of the epitaph ("Sleep in Peace, O Beloved Mother, In This Cold Ground") outlines our ambiguous struggle with death: we so desperately want to embrace the narrative of a place of peace, but cannot quite shake off the awareness that beneath the headstone eternal cold and dark awaits.

The song was played as bare and empty as possible on a very old, ramshackle piano that was sent to rest for eternity not long after the recording. The field recordings show the cemetery of Brustem (the village of Christina the Astonishing, sung by Nick Cave) in its pure form; including a barking dog in the distance.