MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM: Schattenspieler (Miasmah Recordings)


Posted on Aug 10th 2010 01:34 am

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Marcus Fjellström: Schattenspieler

Miasmah Recordings 2010
11 Tracks. 48mins13secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: DLD iTunes: DLD

Continuing on the trend that seems to be bringing Miasmah onto slightly less murky territories, Marcus Fjellström’s third album is a deeply cinematic collection which sees the Swedish-born composer and multimedia artist experiment with sumptuous orchestral textures, haunting electronics and a wide array of noises and found sounds. Beside two solo albums released on Lampse, the first, Exercises In Estrangement in 2005 and the second, Gebrauchsmusik, a year later, Fjellström has worked on a number of commissions for the Swedish Royal Ballet, The Nordic Chamber Orchestra, The Östersunds Orkesterförening, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra and various other formations, and he has also contributed the soundtrack to, amongst others, Crooked Rot, an animated short film by David Firth.

For his first release for Erik Skodvin’s Miasmah, Fjellström, who currently resides in Berlin, treads once again grounds somewhere between modern composition, musique concrète and ambient, bringing the three together in a series of stark and dense compositions, at times lush and pastoral, at others dark and claustrophobic. The particularly effective use of noises, field recordings, percussions and clever variations in the orchestral intensity contribute greatly to the underlying tension that taints the whole record. The Disjointed and Bis Einer Weint, which open the proceedings here, have the elegance of soundtracks of the thirties and forties, but there are signs of darker undercurrents running through these, from the muted machine guns and cracklings of the former to the barely perceptible drone placed far into the mix on the latter. These undercurrents become more obvious on Antichrist Architecture Management, and continue to rise to the surface and contaminate each composition to the core.

Four of the tracks, forming the House Without A Door Suite, were originally composed for the film of the same name by German-born, London-based film maker Bernd Behr. The movie was presented during the Plan 07 exhibition in Cologne three years ago. Undoubtedly the darkest and most unsettling point of the record, these four pieces rely on exacerbated dissonances, ambient noises and percussions to accentuate the ominous tones of the music. Earlier, building up to these, Fjellström creates a couple of totally fascinating pieces with Untitled 090616 and Tremolous, focused on slowly evolving melodies which move from the rampant melancholy of The Disjointed and Bis Einer Weint toward more abstract forms. This is echoed in the much denser atmospheric settings which appear to progressively suck all the air out of the orchestral textures, especially on the latter. The funereal Tenebrous, with its tolling bell, and the closing Uncanny Valleys, served by washes of synth, return to less tortured territories to bring this record to a close.

With this third album, Marcus Fjellström has considerably refined the aspect of his music and developed an extremely strong narrative which takes the listener to dares on a particularly evocative and intense journey, from which they are unlikely to come out totally unscathed. Schattenspieler clearly benefits from Fjellström’s orchestral work of recent years and of his understanding of how to build up a particular mood and alter it over a period of time. The result is a supremely confident record.


Marcus Fjellström | Marcus Fjellström (MySpace) | Miasmah Recordings
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: DLD iTunes: DLD

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One Response to “MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM: Schattenspieler (Miasmah Recordings)”

  1. THE 2010 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 03 Feb 2012 at 12:32 am

    […] Kalk) 45. TALVIHORROS Music In Four Movements (Hibernate Recordings) 46. MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM Schattenspieler (Miasmah Recordings) 47. MAX RICHTER Infra (130701/Fat-Cat Records) 48. RJ VALEO Atman (Io Records) […]