|Country Of origin:||Netherlands|
Dutch techno duo Gert-Jan Bijl and Dirk-Jan Hanegraaf have recorded under the names Marvo Genetic, Sunshower, It's Thinking, and most often as Sensurreal, releasing mostly 12-inch singles (and a pair of full-lengths) on such labels as Beam Me Up!, Prime, Deviate, and most recently on Kirk Degiorgio's Op-Art imprint. Sensurreal's melodic brand of funk-fueled techno may sound closest to countryman Jochem Paap's (of Speedy J, formerly of Beam Me Up!, which folded in 1996), but their closest stylistic affinity lay probably with Stasis, Degiorgio's As One project, and Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton's Link and Reload material. Sensurreal draw similarly from a rhythmic backbone of funk, jazz, and soul -- a tradition tracing to their Rotterdam home, where soul and R&B are the pop musics of choice. Although Hanegraaf grew up playing in small garage-rock bands, his waning interest in the limitations of acoustic based music was intensified by Bijl's enthusiasm for Chicago house and the encroaching U.K. acid-house movement, to which he constantly exposed his partner via underground mixtapes and rare imports of Marshall Jefferson, Farley Jackmaster Funk, and Mr. Fingers tunes. Bijl grew up in the outlying Rotterdam suburb of Puttershoek, dabbling in crude tape-deck mixing and pirate radio (if a broadcast radius of two blocks can be called pirate radio) since the age of 11. Increasingly immersed in electronic dance music -- both through radio broadcast as well as Rotterdam's exploding club scene -- Bijl and Hanegraaf finally began piecing a studio togther in 1989, toward the end of high school (first acquisitions included an Alesis MMT 8 sequencer, a Yamaha DX-100 synthesizer, and a Roland S-10 sampler).
Bijl and Hanegraaf's first single was released in 1992 under the name Sun Shower, and was followed by releases on Malego, Deviate, Paap's Beam Me Up!, and Prime under the names It's Thinking, Marvo Genetic, and (starting in 1994 with their debut LP, Never to Tell a Soul) Sensurreal. The group released two full-length albums on Beam Me Up! (Soul, as well as the follow-up, The Occasional Series, a sort of live postcard of the group's 1994 European tour) before the label folded in 1996, leaving the band to shop their material. They eventually landed with Degiorgio's Op-Art label in 1997, which the acclaimed three-track EP NewBrandDesign appearing on the label early that year. Bijl has also released a fair amount of material as a soloist (the pair's studio resides at his home, leaving him to noodle during Sensurreal's downtime), counting EPs under his Gerd alias on Beam Me Up!, Pork, and Universal Language among his credits. ~ Sean Cooper~ Rovi