This edition in Kompakt’s
annual Pop Ambient series is once
again cut from a whimsical cloth, where
overtones of mystery and pathos are curdled
by hypnagogic melodies, and blithe synth
smears suggestive of mammoth open skies.
The compositions are predictable, even saccharine,
but they are nevertheless animated, and
consistently reach the labels telos by providing
gushing passages of effulgent ambient composition.
A track by Markus Guenter, Le Grande
Illusion is the first clear standout
moment. The light rap of congas bubble underneath
a flickering, jubilant Rhodes, and a contemplative,
slightly steely guitar motif leapfrogs ahead.
The piece is versatile, and Guenter deftly
organizes a wide range of dynamics, allowing
a pattering of electronics and sighing voice
to gradually enter the song without disturbing
the other elements. Burning Bright,
a piece by Ulf Lohmann is also noteworthy,
as a childish voice gallops playfully overtop
stealthy, tiptoeing bass, and a chugging,
almost exultant beat.
Elsewhere, pieces are relaxed to the point
of sleepiness; their smooth edges and arctic
shimmers are reminiscent of some of Eno’s
more sedative efforts, assuaging the listener
of any and all concern. As indicated earlier,
this will no doubt displease others, and
rightfully so, for this album is altogether
too open and overt in its desire to please,
going for tried and true forms rather than
working for the listener’s attention.
In fact, with such an onslaught of gentle
timbres, and silky synth chords, the album
presents such complete forms that there
is little room or chance for the listener
to engage with these works - rather, the
listener is passive, a mere onlooker who
is expected to let these sprightly songs
wash over them.
Be that as it may, other compositions,
such as Come To Where I Go, and
Albatros attempt to sketch more
of a personal statement with which one may
to some extent interact. The former features
a whirling wave of static, tinged with dash
of dissonance, and punctuated by a moody
guitar line that trembles threatening overtop.
Albatros, meanwhile, is replete
with more stimulating detail, as it churns
out a distorted, buzzing electronic mayhem.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, and
a welcome one at that, is the decision by
Klimek to provide an interpretation of the
much beloved Erik Satie piece Gymnopedie
#1. Klimek opts not to alter the piece
in any severe way, merely placing the odd
skittering high-frequency alongside the
compositions graceful harp melody.