For many of the fans of Wim Mertens, one of the first things we did upon discovering the Internet was to search for him. I spent years unsuccessfully looking for his CDs in stores and catalogs before going online in 96, and was most gratified to find that I could now acquire them. And I have. His fans in the US are few but fierce, and releases like A Man Of No Fortune, And With A Name To Come, explain that ferocity.
This is an absolutely beautiful CD. Wim is like no one else, so if you've never heard him or of him, be prepared for the unusual. If you have heard a lick here or there and wonder where to begin, this is a great place for his solo output. His music is an intoxicating whirlwind of just enough repetition to be hypnotic, just enough movement to keep the mind engaged, and tunes that are almost surreal in their sublime beauty. Add his otherworldy voice soaring above those piano lines, and you have something truly extraordinary.
This is an older release, but still one of my favorites. The first track, Casting No Shadow, is among the most beautiful compositions of our time. I am amazed at how he makes so much out of so little. And You See is another that cannot be ignored, a pounding piano line that sucks the listener in and a sad and dervish-like voice that, while uttering syllables meaningless to me, sounds as if it knows all there is to know of time and history. That sounds melodramatic, but this is powerful music, expertly constructed and deeply intense. The other tracks are equally enticing.
That being said, not everyone likes Wim's weird soprano-like voice and minimalist style. But if you're open to the new and the offbeat, give it a try. It is just a stunner.