Pieter Nooten: Haven

Laptop-generated progtronica, with limited connection.

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We were told that in the future we’d all be whooshing around with our own personal jetpacks. Instead what we got were small, perfectly formed laptops with more built-in recording power than Alan Parsons had at his disposal while engineering The Dark Side Of The Moon at Abbey Road.

Of course it’s not what you’ve got but how you use it. Dutch composer Nooten has worked with electronica outfit Clan Of Xymox and Michael Brook, and with the exception of one track Haven’s 20 instrumental pieces were generated entirely within the chips and circuits of his MacBook Pro.

Compositionally, the themes are uniformly sweet and sedate, all arriving in glistening, frequently beautiful style. That said, there’s little or nothing in the way of development or extrapolation. Much like Brian Eno’s Music For Films it’s fine as far as it goes, a showreel of introspective moods and heart-tugging cadences.

There’s no denying that Nooten’s extensive mouse manoeuvrings and editing have yielded impressive sonic results (this is definitely an album made for headphones), but, ultimately, Haven is a decorative environment rather than the gateway to somewhere deep or meaningful.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.