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Buy this CD at ProxisCD OF THE WEEK (January 1999) :

NIKO "A.S.A.P."
(Bang! Records 1998 - BANG 20450 Distribution in Belgium : Sony)

Songs (click the -icons for audio)
1. On Your Side
2. Pearl
3. Breathe
4. A Touching Fantasy
5. Options
6. Won't Let You
7. Caribbean
8. Flip The Coin
9. The Oyster-Line
10. A.S.A.P.
11. Streets
12. Still Alive
13. The Hype Inside

Musicians :
- Niko : vocals, piano, guitars, bass, drums
Guests :
- Oop : guitars, samples,
- Gilles Martin : samples
- Jan Kuijken : cello
- Georges Van Dam : violin
- Igor Semenoff : violin
- Paul De Cleck : viola
- Jan de Haas : vibes
- Roeland Van Noten : upright bass
- Fabrice Alleman : Tenor Saxophone

All songs written & arranged by Nikolaas Westelinck
Published by Great American Nude

Produced by Niko and Gilles Martin

Design : Vincent Fortemps, Pierre Huygebaert

 

Press Release

He was born in Ghent, but spent his adolescent years in idyllic Switserland.

When he came back to Belgium, he came to live in Brussels and enrolled in the Antwerp Academy of Music (jazz-department), where his main focus was on playing the drums. And drumming is what he has been doing for the past ten years, non-stop.

Apart from playing with "Les Cicatrices", "Koen & Oop & The Beanswinkle Big Band" and a few others, Niko also was part of the Swiss punk band "The Silence Lies" and the better known Flemish group "Mercelis", that got quite a number of very good reactions from the press.

But Niko had the ambition to take matters into his own hands. He has been dreaming about a solo-project for years, composing his own songs, making them better, letting them ripe like superior wine.

The result is here : "A.S.A.P.", an album written, composed, arranged and executed by Niko.

What else is there to tell about this album ?

That it is almost completely "self-made" : apart from a few guestmusicians, Niko has played almost all the instruments : drums, guitar, piano, bass.

That it was Gilles Martin who was in charge of the artistic production.

That it is an album that sounds really "different" (we know, cliché, cliché), almost impossible to compare with other productions, be it from Belgium or international. The only thing we can hand you are a few of his influences : The Beatles, Elvis Costello, Serge Gainsbourg, Joey Baron, Crowded House, Tom Waits, Steely Dan.

But namedropping Niko's influences doesn't bring us anywhere near. Let "A.S.A.P." speak for itself ... ENJOY!

 

In the press :

- "Niko is a first class craftsman above all, as is proven by the refined polishing work that has been done on "A.S.A.P". Modest songs become family of Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravits & Beck by virtue of the pure but warm sound" - Teek, January 1999.
- "With his debut-album Niko proves that music making in the old-fashioned tradition can still be done : 13 nicely finished songs all composed by himself, all song with a voice that reminds of the timbre of Peter Gabriel. Who was it that said that "drummers are good for nothing but banging" - Jempy Samyn in Stage.
- "The songs of A.S.A.P. are characterized by simplicity and splendour. A group like Crowded House is the best referral, because Niko brings unpretentious eighties pop." - Koen Depuydt in de Standaard.

Did you see a good (or bad) review of the album ? Send it to me !

 

My Opinion

Just a few loose thoughts :
- The CD has a splendid layout and you can fold the CD-booklet into a cube, as it is shown on the CD-cover. After which you don't have a CD-booklet anymore, but a form made of paper that isn't child-resistent at all.
- I don't think Niko will be asked to join the Bee Gees : he has a warm and low voice that fits nicely to his music both in the quiet and loud passages. This voice is also the main contributor to the atmosphere of the album. The successor to Rick Tubbax has finaly been found !
- The best moments of this cd are among the best Belgian songs that were written in 1998 (On your side, Flip The Coin, Pearl, A.S.A.P.). Better still, there is not a single "weak" song on the album (although I'm not a fan of the jazzy pieces like "Still alive" and "Carribbean").
- The lyrics however, are a dissapointment (my wrecked CD-booklet from my first remark wasn't such a loss after all) : this is clearly more a musician than a writer. Niko hasn't got any clear messages he wants to make, but I don't think that's necessary.
- Balanced Score Card : this was thé pop debut of 1998, if you ask me. The promotion campaign told us a bit too emphatically that Niko is a new prodigy. "Don't believe the hype, that everyone is good inside" - he sings himself in "The Hype Inside". If he remembers it, this has a lot of potential.

And your opinion?
Did I get it all wrong, or was I spot-on ? Do you want to share your opinion about this cd ? Send it in, and I'll put it up here !

Your name:
Your e-mail:
Your opinion:

 

More about this group :

- I haven't found anything on the web concerning Niko
- But in my Archive, there's a webpage about his former group Mercelis
- Contact :
Bang! Productions. Tel : (32) 2 223 54 50
email : bang@skypro.be

 

Where to buy this CD ? :

You can order this CD from a number of locations (prices researched on Janyary 20th, 1999, but nothing guarantees they still are the same when you read this).

Shop Price of the CD Shipping + other expenses Total

Link

Frontstage --- 50 ---
Azur 753 0 753 BEF  
HVH-Megastore 698 54 752 BEF  
Proxis 640 95 735 BEF

The Lowest price is in yellow, the highest in red. This price comparison doesn't take things into account like deduction of shipping expenses when ordering more than 1 cd, bonus points, differences in guarantees ... Shipping prices are those for customers in Belgium.

Have you seen this record elsewhere, do you own a CD-shop with Belgian products in it, or if there's something wrong with my calculations : let me know.

 

Do you want to announce your record here? It's easy (and free) ! Click here for the conditions.

 

 

   

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