Press

Harm in the press or on the web

Schnitgers Droom – Noorderlicht

Der Aa-Kerk (Church) in Groningen has an organ of the famous German organ builder Arp Schnitger. It’s restoration is now completed, after many years, and was celebrated with the festival Schnitgers Droom (Schnitger’s Dream) in October 2011.



A book called ‘De Der Aa-kerk trekt alle registers open’ was published portraying 40 organ players from Groningen city with their organs. Journalist Herman Sandman collected the stories and anecdotes from each player, accompanied by photos. This is a collaboration with Noorderlicht.

Wierda Trio – Concert review Gezinsbode

Enter Sandman in Groninger Gezinsbode January 5th 2010

…De jongste editie, van vorige week dus, leverde optredens op van Jörgen van Rijen, Vijay Iver en Wierda.

Oftewel: de virtuoze trombonist van het Amsterdams Concertgebouw Orkest die een vlo, een tennisracket en Don Quichot imiteerde, een pianist, de hoop van de jongste New Yorkse jazzgeneratie, die twee nummers voor het einde van zijn optreden vroeg of we er ook prijs op stelden dat hij zijn nummers aankondigde (dat deden we) en Wierda, een nieuw project van Harm Wierda, waarvoor ik geen andere term kan verzinnen dan ‘een partij mafkezerij’.

Daarmee doe ik de muziek te kort, want de eigenzinnigheid die van de outfits knalde (iemand riep: ‘wat zie je der weer mooi uit, Harm’) klonk door in de niet alledaagse mix van gitaar, orgel, sousafoon en drums. Een en ander werd vanaf de tribune aangemoedigd door Dikkie Visser, Wierda’s maatje bij Planet Orange. Waarschijnlijk heeft Iver een wenkbrauwtje of twee gefronst, maar we gingen blij weer naar huis. Ik tenminste wel.

[English abstract.
A party of freaks. We went home happy, at least I did.]

Planet Orange – Live in Atrium

Hanze Mag 11-3-2009 (pdf)


‘Potten-en-pannenmuziek, zoiets als Tom Waits”, dat wilde Gert Schout, lector Openbare Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg, graag horen op de receptie na zijn installatie op 4 maart. Programmeur Hielke Wenselaar van de Cast wist meteen wie hij moest hebben: de bekende Groninger band Planet Orange. ‘Ze maken een soort undergroundpop met invloeden van Tom Waits en Captain Beefheart. Normaal hebben ze een behoorlijk stevige sound. Voor het optreden in het Atrium moest ik ze vragen met een meer ingetogen unplugged geluid te komen. Vandaar dat twee bandleden thuisbleven.’ Op de foto, van links naar rechts: toetsenist-gitarist Harm Wierda, zanger en drummer Dicky Visser en zijn zus Thea Visser op bugel, fluit en keyboard.

777 – Review Gothronic

Review of 777 on Gothronic 2007

Sadly the name Harm Wierda didn’t mean anything to me. This meant a quick google search was in order. This again led to a site called “Mormonen voor vrede en gerechtigheid” (Mormons for peace and justice). This site mentioned that apart from being a member of Planet Orange, Harm Wierda was also the organ player for the Mormon community in Groningen. Couple this with the picture of a quiet looking man in plain shirt and the kind welcome extended to the readers of his texts and you see that this is not the stereotype psychedelic musician. Don’t let appearances fool you however; this musician’s debut album is a real jewel. Though it might be unoriginal to say, mister Wierda is truly pulling out all the stops when playing his Hammond organ.

The first track, the aptly named “Moving Heavy Machinery”, starts simply with a nice rhythm, mechanical but warm. During the tracks’ seventeen minutes runtime many different layers are incorporated into the songs fabric. The resulting music is manipulated in such a way that at times it sounds warm and welcoming, while it sounds cold at other points. Sometimes it even seems to convey both feelings at the same time.

Next up is “Evolving Numbers”, again providing over fifteen minutes of pure listening pleasure. This track is a bit lighter in nature than the first one and reminds one, in turn, of classical music and progrock and kraut classics. The same as with the previous track this one again contains enough bass to have your stereo register on the seismographs.

After these two tracks the album contains a short pause in the form of “Rising Righteousness” and “Gute Morgen Salat”. The first of these is a relaxing conventional organ tune lasting a mere one and a half minutes. The second track, lasting one minute and forty seconds, isn’t much longer than the first and also provides a nice contrast to the rest of the album, this time due to the light chords used in the song.

The album continues with the last four tracks. The first of these is “Configuration Overload”, easily the darkest song on the entire album. The track starts with mostly low tones. Someway onto the track high whistling notes, the same mechanical rhythm as in the first track and a few scraping chords start haunting the listener. Only in the last minute of the song things quiet down and give the user a short breathing pause before continuing on to the next song.

This is the dark and quite bombastic “The Whispering Voice”. Finally the last two tracks, the uplifting “Harmonious Tendencies” and the light of tone “Acht is mear as Njoggen” conclude the album in such a way that one can hardly resist listening to the album once more.

All in all I believe that this album will be enjoyed by people who like, among others, Suicide, Amon Düül II, Current 93s’ “Sleep Has His House” and generally anyone who likes a great deal of low drones emanating from his or her stereo set.

Finally I’d like to draw some attention to the label on which the album is released: Wham Wham. At the moment their catalogue only contains two releases, this one and Adept, both of which are quite enjoyable. It might be a good idea to keep a close eye on this record label; I know I certainly will.