"Het Sprekende Gebouw" Ex Animo -magazine- Dutch. Author: PD.

"Een Geluidskunstmuseum" NRC Handelsblad -newspaper- Dutch and english translation. Author: PD and Peter Peters.

"Paul Devens; De onderzoekende kunstenaar" Gonzo (circus) -magazine- Dutch. author: Robert Muis.

"Geluidskunst: ruimte en tijd" Dutch. Author: PD.

"WOW & FLUTTER" T-time-lecture Museum Het Domein, Sittard -Dutch. Author: PD.

(Newest Blogposts here)


PAUL DEVENS - EXWORK (CD by Moab Records)
In the lovely surroundings of the very southern part of The Netherlands lives and works Paul Devens. By day a teacher at the art academy and by night creating his own music and installations. I am not sure if he would agree with me here, but I believe music is his main interest and installations are a vehicle to play around with sound in a different manner. Some of his previous releases dealt with the relationship between music and his art pieces, but this new deals with just sound. He uses a variety of sound sources: sampled strings, plates attached to small electric motors, field recordings, circuit bent children's toys and modular- and granular synthesis. All of these are used to create a composition, or rather eleven compositions and Devens looks at their qualities and what they can do for the composition. I once saw a concert by Devens which was quite noise based, so I expected a lot here. Luckily - not being the big lover of noise anymore - only to a small extent there is noise to be found on this CD. 'Rootbeer' is one such piece, but Devens knows to play around with the noise and make it more musical. It is followed by 'Watercycle', which is the total opposite of 'Rootbeer', and quite low humming and what seems to be sine wave that sound like waterdrops. None of the tracks are really long and Devens explores per track a few sounds, works around them to create a very interesting composition, which isn't a long stretch, nor an endless repetition of moves but short and to the point. A highly varied bunch of pieces that make a strong coherent whole and includes one film - just because it needs to be shown that Devens is a multi-media artist, but it's a nice one indeed. (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly 640, 2008)


Concert at (H)ear, kunstencentrum KUS, Heerlen, NL

.... Paul Devens, inmiddels wel een gevestigde begrip in het kunstenaarslandschap, had besloten het over een andere boeg te gooien. Drie beamers die een groot deel van het kunstencentrum beschenen begeleidden hem in zijn korte maar hevige set van industriële soundscapes en minimal music. De combinatie wekte een sterk gevoel je te begeven binnen het universum van Rastor Noton artiesten als Alva Noto, Frank Brettschneider en Ryoji Ikeda. Dit uiteraard als compliment bedoeld. Om zijn geluid meer uit te diepen en te controleren had Devens besloten gebruik te maken van een 6-kanaals audio systeem dat zeer tot zijn recht kwam binnen de ruimte van kuS. In zijn set liet hij twee van zijn meest recente werken horen waarvan 'Latitude' uit 2006 en 'Plow' dat als videowerk te zien is op zijn meest recente album 'EXWORK'. Kort gezegd een avond die smaakte naar meer! ... Mike Kramer, 2008

Paul Devens
exwork CD
(MOABrecords)Der Niederländer Paul Devens hat die Vorteile einer ordentlichen Ausbildung und die Vehemenz und den Zorn des Noise. Die fulminanten Liveshows von Devens erinnern nicht von ungefär an Auftritte des großen Karkowski. exwork ist eine handnummerierte Arbeit (500 Ex.), die die ruckelnden Bewegungen maschinenhafter Arbeit zu thematisieren scheint, betrachtet wieder durch andere künstliche Augen weiterer Maschinen. Menschen kommen hier hörbar jedenfalls nicht vor. Eiskalt und präzise; brutal und ehrlich. So klingt Paul Devens.
(Zipo / Auf Abwegen Nov. 2008)

On “Testing Ground” and “Latitude” (DVD-r Moab records)
From the southern part of The Netherlands hails  Paul Devens of whom we reviewed 'Gunpop' in Vital Weekly 504. Here are two works that deal with video and audio - or audio and video, which you prefer first. For 'Testing Ground' it's best to play it a high volume and on a surround sound system. The first I can do, but not the second. There is a stereo mix. 'Testing Ground' deals with space and sound. Speakers play strict separated sounds, high and mid range on to speakers facing the ceiling, with the bass rhythm rumble bouncing around. It's a bit hard to describe and the way I played it, probably hardly justifies the real thing, but the video gives an impression of things looked like. The bass rhythm (which isn't in anyway a dance thing) provides a strong backdrop, on top of which the high end comes around in a vicious, dirty manner. Explosive work.
Together with someone who calls himself 10:21 AM, there is also another DVD-R release, but here no video, just a black screen for the first two-third of the work. Again the work is probably best heard in surround sound, but again no such thing. Over the course of almost eighteen minutes, the two merge rhythmic particles together in a very minimal way, but with great care and style. Minimalist changes and in quite a noisy and crude way. Perhaps influenced a bit by Pan Sonic, or rather Mika Vainio's solo work, this is an austere work. Once the video kicks in, things also change sound-wise: it becomes thicker, due to heavy layering of sounds. Like before, this review is only like listening to it with one ear. A surround sound as a present for christmas tree, is what I want! (Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, 2006)

On “Gunpop” Demo, “DJ Lait Russe”, “CTRL_ALT_DEL”

Wenn er es denn wollen würde ware Paul Devens der ideale Brückenbauer zwischen den Lagern der Neuen Musik und der kratzigen Mego-Fraktion. Aber darum geht es dem Niederländer nicht und das ist gut so. Devens gestaltet seine Musik in Konzeptformaten, for-muliert eine Idee pro Release aus und beleuchtet diese von verschiedenen Seiten. Gunpop, das jüngste Demo aus 2005 scheint sich mit der Möglichkeit autopoetischer Klangpermutation zu befassen; stotternde Kleinstsounds ergeben mal eine dichte Ballerstaffete und mal ein elektroakustisch aufgefächertes, metallisch-trockenes Klangkonglomerat. Immer scharf und auf den Punkt gesetzt, ohne unnötige Schnörkel. Die etwas ältere CD DJ Lait Russe behandelt mit einem Augenzwinkern das Thema Noise: surrende Milchshakes, brutzelnder Russencreme, krachende Computer-schnipsel. Devens packt hier zu, lässt die Sequenzen krachen, ist DAT Politics minus niedlich, ist Mego plus Hirn ist alles, was Whitenoise und DSP hergeben. Der große Zampano mitnichten. CTRL_ALT_DEL ist eine von Devens zusammengestellte CD, die auf ein Austauschprojekt aus dem Jahre 2003 zurückgeht. Vertreten sind hier Scanner, diverse türkische Elektroniker, Merzbow und Devens selbst mit einem Stück namens Sello, welches absolut faszinierend gummiartig bounct. Guter Mann!
                  Zipo (Till Kniola), Auf Abwegen (magazine), 2005

On “GUNPOP (CDR by Moab Records)”
From the southern part of The Netherlands comes Paul Devens, a sound and visual artist, who has performed and shown his work around the world, and who is the curator of the Crtl-Alt-Del festival. He has various releases of which 'Gunpop' is his most recent. In this work he questions his own position in the world of popculture and contemporary music, using musical figures from pop-music in his compositions. If I hadn't been told, I wouldn't have recognized them. Paul Devens likes to play noise and he does this in a most convincing way. He uses home-made electronics, effects, toys and field recordings, but none of which are easy to recognize, as it's quite a violent thing that he puts on. Much of the material here was generated in live performance. Merzbow comes to mind, but Devens plays usually shorter tracks. Also he takes back the aggression at times and moves along some 'quieter' lines, but that is of course a relative thing. But 'Relix' for instance is a piece of nerve wrecking ambient music. Rhythm plays a bigger role than with Merzbow. In all, the ten tracks on this CD are indeed filled noise, but it's definitely a pretty varied bunch. Also included are two films, one short and static and one of mister Devens playing live behind his laptop with a slab of noise related techno music. If noise is your thing and want something else than the next Merzbow, then Paul Devens is perhaps the good alternative.
                  Frans De Waard, webmagazine ‘Vital Weekly’, 2005

From Art-Ist Magazine, Turkey (2002):
..”Whichever medium he uses, his approach envisions a blend of steam-punk-like inventions and experiments on natural sources through techno-curiosity crunching into electronics. Each time there is a mechanism operating to process the work, whether out of sight as an infrastructure or visible on the surface. It seems as if all the works are haunted by the steam-punk spirit of the anarchic dark future – associated with dystopian music of the mid-to-late seventies.”..
Basak Senova, curator, Istanbul

 “On Hold” exhibition
..”Paul Devens’ works often refer to architecture. This is expressed by his interest in sun-blinds and floors, and his sensitivity towards the dynamics of the city, architecture’s context. It is also expressed in his web piece Windows that also mirror their surroundings. Like Windows.., Devens’ pieces often involve repetitive movement; whether it is the relentless stationary turning of a mopeds rear wheel in Moped 2, or the video of a young man wandering through the city turning all objects that cross his path by an angle of 180 degrees: a bicycle, an advertising stand, a box, a shred of paper on the pavement (Sunday). Formally, Devens uses repetition to create coherence; in terms of content, using the idea of repetition to absurd ends provides his work with a necessary touch of lightness and irony.”..
Frédérique Bergholtz, Marres, Maastricht, Netherlands


Review on audio-CD’s ”Dj Lait Russe” and ”Kvikklunsj”:
”On these albums, brilliant and scary things happen in strange time signatures. Paul Devens demand to be cranked up so loud you vomit fire from your ears....
Paul Devens is a pioneer in the truest meaning of the word - taking digital hardcore to the next level with his refreshingly diverse palette that sees far beyond the simple monodimensional worldview that stigmatises the majority of the noise-scene. So..., with that in mind, get the pets out of the house and prepare to get destroyed.”
  Merje Lõhmus 2004, webmagazine Giag, Latvia

 “Dial(key)” web and exhibition
Dial(key) features as its interface a Berlin subway station in construction. The viewer is invited to activate this space via the computer’s keyboard keys, calling forth a collection of over 100 random-accessed sounds. The work in anchored in the interstices of everyday environments where the subway, a transitional “in-between” zone, is a stage for the mundane to be transformed into the unexpected. The short synthetic audio samples give way to a playful recombinant audio environment that can be modulated in real-time and which, through random-processing, deliberately eschews pattern repetitions. In speaking of time, David Toop notes how: “Time can drag, stand still or rush by, just like music, yet the quantification of music is determined as much by technological constraints as formal artistic decisions. Musical movement is a metaphor and simulation of movement through space, as well as an enactment, actual and metaphorical, of time and its elasticity.” [1] It is both this movement through space and this elasticity of time which are surreptitiously plumbed at in “Dial(key)” enticing us to loose track of time as we delve further and further into its elliptical structure.
[1] David Toop, “Life in Transit,” in <Sonic Process> (Barcelona: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2002)
Valérie Lamontagne, Mobilegaze, Montreal, Canana

On “Who Says Seeing Only Happens With The Eyes?” web and exhibition
..”Paul Devens is an artist who crosses borders between different media. He is educated as a visual artist, but has also a large production of work based on sound. In many of his works it’s the tension between the material object and the abstract sound that creates the dimension of meaning. Another aspect that makes you want to look closer at his work is the element of surprise. This element, either conveyed through sound or size, tends to be a humorous one. The passing of time is also an important aspect of Paul Devens work. Time tends to make the works more familiar, but without negating the element of alienation.”..
Siv Hofsvang, Galleri F15, Moss. Norway



Under construction (in Dutch)

Een do-it-yourself mentaliteit is elementair aan mijn werk; enerzijds vanuit een verlangen naar authenticiteit anderzijds als economische en politieke positionering. DIY als persoonlijke ingreep in een omringende (stedelijke-, westelijke-) realiteit die goeddeels vormgegeven is door industrie en economie. Mijn overwegingen als kunstenaar tegenover de marketingstrategieën van de industrie; soms in onvolkomen gestalte tegenover hun usability-esthetiek. Die overwegingen staan aan de basis van producties die een verontrustend en soms enigszins deregulerend effect hebben; het alternatief naast de gladgestreken geformatteerde en gecomponeerde werkelijkheid dat op feel-good sentiment speelt –via massamedia, industriële producten en daaraan gerelateerde normering, psychologisering en zingeving.

Mijn producties worden zoveel mogelijk onafhankelijk van conventionele paden vormgegeven. Ik wil hiermee mijn onafhankelijkheid van denken en handelen onderstrepen. Bepalend wordt dan de omgang met de elke problematiek binnen de respectievelijke fases in de productie. Maar in deze processen ben ik geen kluizenaar die zich alles ontzegt, dat handelen en denken gebeurt bij uitstek met de middelen van vandaag door middel van beelden die uit de hedendaagse werkelijkheid komen. De omgang daarmee gebeurt door middel van mijn criteria waardoor het vaak ook noodzakelijk blijkt alles zelf te doen in de productiefase. Zo maak ik veel gebruik van modulaire- en open-source software en maak veel fysieke zaken zelf om de authenticiteit ook te waarborgen.

Het maatschappelijke engagement is een onderdeel van een bredere belangstelling naar hoe gekeken wordt, geluisterd, wat ervaring is en wat herinnering en vooringenomenheid zijn. De producties zijn vaak “ervaring-kunst”; het publiek is omgeven door- en soms onderdeel van het werk. De primitieve waarneming zelf ontsluit een diepere en verfijndere inhoud die in expliciete context staat met onze hedendaagse cultuur. In het werk “Close-ups” komt de bezoeker in een bijna geheel verduisterde ruimte. Als de ogen gewend raken aan het weinige licht ziet deze een videoprojectie. Met verduisteringsfolie, doorgaans voor het donker maken van autoruiten, is de projector dusdanig gedimd dat het geprojecteerde nauwelijks te zien is; vooral de “donkertesensoren” in het menselijk oog, die vooral kleurloos zien, worden hier actief. Het geprojecteerde beeld toont een, van dichtbij gefilmde, pseudo-documentaire over een depressieve persoon. Louter nutteloze en krachteloze handelingen bepalen de toon van de film. De setting, rond het meestal in close-up opgenomen personage, zijn uiteenlopende interieurs die de continuïteit van de film verstoren. Met het gebruik van veronderstellingen binnen de cinematografie, met name gedicteerd door Hollywood, wil de film de valse emotie verplaatsen naar de kijker. Deze merkt pas tijdens het kijken dat in het werkelijke interieur ingrepen zijn gedaan die de context in concreto verstoren; vooral een te laag en naar binnen gekeerd balkon neemt de ruimte in beslag. De frictie tussen de beleefde en geprojecteerde werkelijkheid werpt existentiële vragen op zonder de pretentie op een algemene oplossing.