Back in 2009 I was commissioned to make the soundtrack for a documentary mini-series (4 episodes) for Dutch national television (AVRO/idtvDOCS) and limited broadcasting in the USA. It provided a look into the past of New York City and Manhattan, its Dutch roots (New Amsterdam) and explored if elements of those roots can still be found in the city nowadays. Inspired by the best selling book ‘The island at the center of the world’ by Russell Shorto. The occasion for it was the 400 years anniversary of the city, which was celebrated on a large scale there. The premiere of the series took place at The Museum of the City of New York, in the weeks of the festivities.
It was a special time for me; my former band Cloudmachine was creatively peaking at the time and the being asked by renowned director Roel van Dalen to work on this music, felt like recognition for my skills as a songwriter/composer. It was my first assignment for a serious television audience, after having done some productions for children’s tv.
I recorded the music very concentrated and in a short period. The basic tracks of the first draughts were always the final recordings, which to me makes it feel alive and spontaneous. Some of the parts I demoed with samples were overdubbed by musical friends David Faber (cello), Judith van Driel (violin) -now very succesful with their Dudok Quartet- as well as my then bandmate Marco Kuypers on piano, pump organ and vibraphone.
Over the years I kept coming back to the tracks, wondering if they were strong enough on their own, without the visual context of the documentary. Now I think I feel they do. Because it was all very much made in a compressed pleasant period.
Ofcourse it was made to enhance a visual story, but it has a certain mood you might enjoy over dinner on a slow good day when the sky is clearing after a little summer rain.
Today is my birthday and I thought it was a good day to release it now. I hope you’ll have a chance to listen and maybe enjoy it.
Thank you for listening.