Jan Swerts' first album on Unday Records is a memento mori, in which Swerts, in his distinctive blend singer-songwriter and neoclassical minimalism, reminds us of the comforting fact that soon we will all be gone... forevermore.
Swerts – a university college professor during the day – often wanders around cemeteries at night. He likes the silence that lingers there; save for the crunching of the inevitable pebbles, the ringing of the bells and the barking of a distant dog. He craves the memories that float above the tombs, different for every visitor. And the confrontation with finiteness, Jan is also very keen on that.
The new album, his fourth, is a musical graveyard journey. Oud Zeer/Lingering Grief contains ten piano tracks, each of which is named after epitaphs of graves Swerts likes to visit during his dwellings. From opener 'Deze kille grond/This chilly ground' to 'Het ongekend Nadezen/The unknown Hereafter' to the closing track 'Alles vergaat, alles verdwijnt/Everything perishes, everything disappears'.
It is above all that bittersweet taste of the graveyard that Swerts tries to convey: on the one hand the old pain that slumbers over the graves, the countless stories of sorrow behind the graceful tombstones and the human struggle with evanescence. On the other hand the wonderful detachment and relaxation that such a place can offer. Nowhere will you find a more efficient “detox” from the excessive noise, stress and ego that is so typical of the modern age.