Safe Home
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Safe Home

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Safe Home - You Can't Undo What's Already Undid (CD, Sunday)"

Esther Sprikkelman and Harry Otten, formerly of The Nightblooms, have evolved many times in their careers. The old band went through several periods of experimentation and change before calling it quits, and Safe Home finds the pair making enchanting modern pop that sounds different from anything they've done before. And it is modern pop, despite Sprikkelman's claim (on their label's web site) that she doesn't listen to any modern bands except for Belle and Sebastian. If that's true, I'm sure then that Harry has a few Radiohead discs in his collection. In fact, at times (particularly "Moortown Bluebay") Safe Home approximates a musical dream of mine: a Yorke-less Radiohead. With fascinating layers of blips, bleeps, piano and guitar, the music is as interesting as the Kid A stuff, but with a beautiful female voice instead of Thom's whiny falsetto on top. Even the traditional Dutch tune "Bloemen" gets a 21st century make-over, with an oscillating bass part dancing behind Sprikkelman's vocals, which are again impressive. Even in Dutch (it is the disc's only non-English track) she sounds sincere, disarming, but with a trace of bitterness that is always appealing. Her melodies are sweet, and when she harmonizes with herself, as she is prone to do, it's a wonderful one-woman chorus and a near virtuoso vocal performance. Sprikkelman would sound great fronting any band, but is lucky in that she found a partner with whom she works so well. Otten is quite simply a very, very good guitar player. He gets all sorts of crazy sounds out of his instrument during the production process, but has traditional chops too; he knows how to pick a chord and pluck a melody as well as anyone. A good example is "Aries", which features a Bach-like classical guitar part mixed in behind the effects. However, it is on the instrumentals that he really gets to show off, as with the crazy wall-of-sound "Rickett's Revenge" -- a short, but impressive burst of noise. Not every song here is a gem -- a few tracks in the middle lack the shine of the opening and closing tracks, and perhaps the fact that this is more a collection of singles and other recordings than an album written as such results in a slight lack of focus. Nonetheless, You Can't Undo... is a highly enjoyable collection of fascinating tunes and a great example of evolving pop artists who use new technology rather than allowing new technology to use them.
(J. Berk, Spendid e-zine)
- spendid e-zine


"Safe Home - Slow Girl 7""


Thoroughly charming return to the pop fold of ex-Nightblooms Esther Sprikkelman and Harry Otten. Years ago, during their one and only US tour (in support of their apocalyptic Seed/Atlantic sophomore album "24 Days At Catastrophe Cafe) they played Brownies and were already the quietest loudest group I'd ever seen - despite the heavy rock riffing and thunderous rhythm section the Nightblooms were quiet, playing at a volume that'd have been sneered at by most 'up to 11' noise merchants. The sound they made was caged and potent, and required none of the extra DBs most bands rely on to sound 'loud'. I've not since heard a group who've seemed so loud while being so quiet. Now the band's leading lights are back in Safe Home, and I've never heard a quieter quiet record. The heavy riffing has been replaced with delicate electric/acoustic meanderings, and even the vocals have gone from whisper to almost mere suggestion. "Slow Girl" is a beautifully mournful description of a friend who's struggling to cope. "Aries" on the B-side is apparently a song about stalking, and is perhaps the most unsettling experience I've had for some time. Hunt down the single if you can. Highly recommended.
- (New York Pop)


"Safe Home - You Can't Undo What's Already Undid"

Safe Home - You Can't Undo What's Already Undid (CD, Sunday)
Comprised of two former members of the Nightblooms holed up at home with their instruments and an ADAT, Safe Home sound like some odd but appealing amalgamation of electronic minimalist baroque folk-pop for shoegazers. Or at least that's what comes to mind after giving their first full-length album, You Can't Undo What's Already Undid, a spin; Esther Sprikkelman's ethereal and airy vocals ride over the top of the spectral, bare-bones melodies created by Sprikkelman and Harry Otten, which are mostly built from suspended keyboard patches, electronic loops, and subdued acoustic and clean electric guitars (with the sharp tone of a distorted electric adding the occasional bit of punctuation). Sprikkelman's impressionistic lyrics are as much about mood as they are about literal meaning (especially given her breathy vocal style, which gives sound and feeling and edge over enunciation), but they certainly communicate well enough, and it's hard to argue with the shimmering beauty of the final product. You Can't Undo What's Already Undid is hardly recommended for long drives late at night, but anyone looking for a quality smart pop chillout would be well-advised to put Safe Home on their shopping list.
(AMG)

- AMG


Discography

Travel In Time CDEP (2002)
Next Time On The Back Of A Goose 7"(2002)
Birthday 7"(2002)
Slow Girl 7"(2002)
You Can't Undo What's Already Undid full length CD(2002)
the Wide Wide World and All We Know (sept. 2005)

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Bio

With much water gone under the bridge, Esther Sprikkelman and Harry Otten have known each other since childhood - Esther was a pubsescent punk, screaming slogans against queen and country whilst Harry was the slightly older guru-with-guitar figure. Time was these people could be relied on to have everything turned up full and damn the neighbours. These days the neighbours are untroubled: the noises now made by Esther & Harry are an altogether quieter thing. Yes, Safe Home is most definitely quiet, yet listening to the music made by Safe Home is most definitely a disquieting experience… In 2001 Safe Home released a series of five 7" singles on their own Angels In Space micro-label, and, when these records (now sought-after and increasingly hard to find) were sold out, issued the tracks, together with new recordings, as the album "You Can't Undo What's Already Undid", released by Sunday Records of Illinois early in 2002. Described at the time as "'Paradise Lost' as performed by Alice", the album was "a quiet little melancholia for electro-burble, cyclical guitars, harmonium and the distant intimacy of a faraway-so-close voice": this was not summertime music. Avoided by even the non-establishment music establishment at home in Holland, "You Can't Undo What's Already Undid" was well-received elsewhere, and work began on a second full-length set, eventually completed as "The Wide Wide World And All We Know". Once again, and this time perhaps even more so, the sound of Safe Home is an uncomfortable mixture of melancholy and longing: Harry Otten's glacial arrangements of understated guitars weave and loop as Esther Sprikkelman's always impressionistic lyrics leave plenty of room for the listener to conjure up his or her own personal claustrophobia. The water passing under the Safe Home bridge seems to be oddly treacherous - not violent and heaving, but with an insidious undercurrent hidden in the blackness; crossing it offers a dry passage only to those who dare not look down.