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(51:27; Dr. Coenobite)
I first came across Dutch musician Coen Vrouwenvelder back in 1992 when he released his first album on CD (there had previously been a cassette) under the moniker The Coenobite. It was called ‘My Habit’ and featured a photo of Coen on the cover wearing a monk’s habit – he had chosen the title as apparently the name “Coen” derives from an old Greek word meaning monk. At the time he was studying towards his PhD in medical sciences, and when he sent me his next album, 1994’s ‘Castles In The Air’ he had changed to Dr. Coenobite, but then we lost touch. Fast forward to 2016 and I was gathering together artwork for Volume 1 of my books, and came across Coen’s site to find to my amazement that not only was he still recording, but he was incredibly prolific as well, We swapped a few emails, and then recently he sent me his two more recent albums. So, what it would be like listening to his music again, some 25 years on from the last one? ‘Once In A Blue Moon’ was originally released in 2017 but has since been remixed and was then re-released earlier this year. All the music was inspired by images and events concerning the moon as the central theme, and unlike the last albums of his I had heard where he had a couple of guests, was this time solely recorded by Coen. Some of the songs contain vocals, and there are also snippets from broadcasts included, but where the music comes to life is when Coen relates to his inner Mike Oldfield and allows himself to immerse himself in the music. He professes to play many instruments without really being an expert in any of them, but he was originally inspired by the great Andres Segovia so did study classical guitar for some years, and it is when he uses his acoustic or electric guitar to come to the fore that the music really comes to live. Unlike many multi-instrumentalists he does also sing, but it is the Oldfield-inspired instrumental passages where the music really comes to life. With all his works easily available through Bandcamp, it is time once again to discover Dr. Coenobite.
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