The driving force behind Madensuyu is –and has been since these two men started playing together in their early teens- the struggle to deal with real, raw emotions and the continuing fight to be vulnerable and uncompromised in a timeframe where authenticity has become a rare commodity.
Being loyal to their core values, the duo steers clear of the usual slipstream of the industry. They are often perceived as being somewhat reclusive, but gained respect with their recorded output and phenomenal live performances since stepping into the public eye in 2004.
After one EP: ‘Adjust We’ (2005) and two longplayers: ‘A Field Between’ (2006), ‘D Is Done’ (2008) they break their silence with ‘Stabat Mater’ (2013).
‘Stabat Mater’ is a highlight in their career thus far and sees them digging deeper than ever before. It grasps the essence of who they are and their unique 2-man sound.
Anger, loss and grief have always been present in the art of Madensuyu, but this time they explore a specific theme that has held captive classical composers since the middle ages.
The medieval hymn Stabat Mater deals with the loss of a child, and the devastating effects on it’s mother. In an era where nothing seems sacred anymore, this overwhelming and existential loss remains one of the few taboos often shunned away from.
Madensuyu’s version of Stabat Mater deliberatly focuses not only on the unspeakable pain, but also on the incredible strength this pain unlocks within the mother. The opening line of the hymn reads “Stabat mater dolorosa” which translates as "The sorrowful mother stood". Instead of succumbing, the woman holds her ground. This way and despite its dark theme, Madensuyu’s Stabat Mater holds a hopeful message that pays hommage to mothers of past, present and future generations.
A second theme on ‘Stabat Mater’ is the dialogue between the divine and ungraspable on the one hand, and the mortal, earthly on the other.
Madensuyu lift Stabat Mater from the classical tradition (it has been put to music by Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Pärt and others) and incorporate different elements of classical music into their own musical language. This way, Madensuyu make a bold statement, but at the same time they place ‘rock’music (and themselves) in a broader (and humbling) timeframe.
‘Stabat Mater’ was conceived over three years and put on to tape played live in the studio in five days in Brussels.
Madensuyu always include physical elements in the artwork of their recorded output. They used concrete and sawdust in the packaging of early demos. By adding a tactile element, they take the effort of bringing across emotions in a most direct and honest way yet another step further. In past releases they included steel (‘Adjust We’), grasslike fiber (‘A Field Between’) and a hand welded electrical fuse (‘D is Done’) in the packaging. The manipulated jewelbox serves as a showcase that highlights the value and tries to freeze in time the musical content. By handcrafting all copies Madensuyu (with help of friends and family) wish to give each buyer a piece of art that is as unique and personal as the music it carries.
For ‘Stabat Mater’, they choose wood as the added component referring to the cross which symbolizes loss in the original hymn.