Group ReviewsReviews

n.strahl.n & Mystified / Mystified / Fieberflug / Andreas Brandal

n.strahl.n & Mystified - Maschinenfugen
n.strahl.n & Mystified “Maschinenfugen”
Cassette, Licht & Stahl, 2010
Before me – or at least hidden in the cassette-player – is a split release between projects from Gemany and the US. Mystified opens the release with some nice loop-based droning, followed by the first track by n.strahl.n, opening “Welle 1” with a bit more aggressive/repetitive approach – the setting for this tape has been made clear and we have lift-off! Side A is a collection of soundscapes, minimal noise and, at moments, classical-themed tunes, very obviously the result of these two artists being very well attuned. The “Welle”-tunes by n.strahl.n are a bit more noisy then the rest, but that is only a positive thing to mention. “Short Interlude” is a bit rhythmic and even though the choice of sounds surrounding the rhythms is well executed, the rhythm itself is not Mystified’s thing to do. On Side B vocal samples enter the compositions but, for the rest, it is a continuation of what we heard before. And that’s a very good thing – steamboats, analog synths and creepy atmospheres. On “Zentrifuge” we sadly experience a few of those beats again, which break the build-up of tension completely. This time they’re by n.strahl.n and, in all honesty, it’s not one of his strongest points either. But all-in-all, Mystified and n.strahl.n are a good match if you like this kind of experimentalism. [6.5/10]

Mystified - Fertile Buzz
Mystified “Fertile Buzz”
Cassette, Licht & Stahl, 2010
Space sounds for sitting back and smoking some weed… Because of all the bell- and gong-like sounds “Fertile Buzz” sounds quite ritual in its approach; at least the A-side does. Relaxing experiments, but just like on “Maschinenfugen” above there is a track where beats form the basics of it all. Just as with the previously mentioned track, the sounds surrounding the rhythm on “Clockwork Ends” are very nice, but the rhythm itself is not very surprising or original. The reverse side opens with a ‘tubular’ track with samples about the origin of species and the impossibility of exploring other solar systems. This track generates a great soundtrack for an unreleased ’50s sci-fi movie, and this atmosphere is continued in the remaining tracks of “Fertile Buzz”. We exchange the weed for LSD and continue our journey – Leary would be proud. This is where the true beauty of Mystified comes forward. The addition of the strings in “Animating the Dead” gives the entire release a quality and atmosphere which would be an addition for a label like CMI. [7/10]

Fieberflug - Ernte
Fieberflug “Ernte”
Cassette, Licht & Stahl, 2009
One tape on Licht & Stahl which is already a bit older is “Ernte” by Fieberflug. Somehow the tape got stuck (and this is said in the nicest way possible) in my player and I must have played it a dozen times already since receiving the promo. Fieberflug is a side-project by Flutwacht, which makes the release even more intriguing, because it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve previously heard by him. Instead of the heavy noise-sculptures we know Flutwacht for, this tape is filled with slowly evolving loop-based drones and sounds. Additional vocals – almost inaudible but definitely incomprehensible – create an atmosphere which has fragments of PE bands in their doomiest moments, as well as the trance-inducing loop behavior with heavy use of delays we know from :zoviet.france:. At other moments, the sounds develop into a minimal yet intense cacophony of glitchy, spooky sounds which are carefully placed over layers of synthetic or organic orgy and only make this release even more intriguing. The tape ends up being a really nice approach to sound and atmospheres. Maybe not too original, but if something is good listening material for much more than ‘just once’, why not? [7/10]

Andreas Brandal - Shipwrecks
Andreas Brandal “Shipwrecks”
Cassette, Licht & Stahl, 2010
Side A on this deep red plastic tape starts with sounds which hold the middle between musique concrĂ©te and fluxus. For those in the dark, this means sounds recorded with (contact) microphones of an unknown origin, and it’s not really obvious or clear if they are manipulated or very well executed and recorded. These sounds are, as the side of the tape continues (a total of five tracks are on the index card), combined with dark layering and, towards the end, with subtle yet intrusive feedback sounds. The reverse side opens with with the threatening “Echo Poem” which will appeal to :zoviet.france: adepts as well as routine listeners of ‘power ambient’. Even a sort of melody/rhythmic structure is added here, while acoustic guitar enters the composition in the second track, “1872”, where its combination with a pregnant feedback sound creates a tension leaving you undecided between ‘eew!’ and ‘aaahhhh …’. And it keeps on getting creepier and creepier when the layers evolve and the guitar tunes gets more complex. The total buildup from the tracks isn’t too different from each other but the combination of layering drones and contact sounds or field recordings is consistently and very, very well executed. Worth porting to CD without any doubt. [7.5/10]

— Bauke van der Wal

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