Music Reviews

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Artist: Martin Küchen
Title: Lieber Heiland, laß uns sterben
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Sofamusic
The fact this album is inspired by a visit to a cathedral crypt, in which distant orchestral rehearsals and cityscape sounds could be heard, might lead you to expect a hollow, ethereal, reverberant soundscape- but what it offers up is closer and more challenging than that. It certainly has a degree of that, but mixed in with some more artificially layered drones and some elements that have been seconded from the most experimental edges of jazz.

After the relatively run-of-the-mill drones and crisp rustling noises of the title track, second track “Music To Silence Music” is a piece of extremely out-there jazz, with flutes, plucked bass and varied percussion all fed through a variety of crunchy lo-fi processes into something vaguely evocative of a jungle. This set-up is continued somewhat into the eleven-minute “Purcell in the Eternal Deir Yassin” which puts a saxophone at the forefront, practically solo save for a wavy and unnerving bed of bottle-like drones and whispers and what sounds like the sound of a distant operatic rehearsal.

“Ruf zu mir, Bezprizorni…” combines a relatively innocuous bit of piano playing with some very intimately recorded sounds of breathing and (I think) blowing up balloons, and/or deliberately blowing through pipes. Again the lo-fi edges are a touch unpleasant and are seemingly there to deliberately counterpoint the purity of the grand piano in a way that borders on sarcastic.

The final and longest track, with the longest name (in full: “Atmen Choir (I det stora nedrivna rummet med bortvaênda kvinnoansikten, skylda av veck; bortsparkat, ihopfoêst segel, krossat roêtt tyg stelnar i vinterkylan”) is a more staccato affair, with a relatively barren and silent bed on which is placed rhythmic and gradually shifting spontaneous blowing noises, like an ensemble of musicians playing leftover large plastic plumbing tubes in an echo chamber.

At 35 minutes this is a relatively brief collection of sonic experiments that manage to be both fractious and silly in almost equal measure. It has grandiose aspirations and while it perhaps lacks the power to back them up, it’s imbued with a strong character that’s worthy of attention.



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