CD, Tympanik Audio, 2010
In April 2009 Sebastian Ehmke (alias SE) released a very acclaimed debut album titled “Epiphora” on Tympanik Audio. One year later, also on the same label, he is back with “L36”, an almost epic cinematic approach to the IDM, ambient and electro scene.
Fusing downtempo rhythms with complex glitchy rhythmic patterns, adding experimental electronic melodies and some close approaches to minimal digressions, Ehmke presents us with a plethora of moods capable of healing the more depressive disturbances, replacing it with soundscapes which are sometimes uplifting and melancholic and sometimes peaceful and dreamy. Recurring melodic phrases, watermarked with guitars and some other plucked string instruments overlaying evolving ambient textures, turn this record into a chilled soundtrack to a quiet dawn.
“L36” begins with “Chrono”, a monumental opening track, moves onto “Mimikry”, a well-crafted sunny atmospheric piece, and onto “Lily”, another ambient track with a well done scale of chord progression. In “Weit” Ehmke revisits some old-fashioned melodies based on FM synthesis-like sounds, layered with some retro-percussion plicks and plocks. Things keep going on with “Beton”, where some expressive processed vocal elements come into being, turning this track into one of my favorites of the album. Heading to the end, “Dendrit” is another magical track that fulfills the listener’s soul with good feelings. “F-Sand-036” keeps things going in the correct direction, but now in a more sci-fi mode, holding the plucked strings at a more discrete level. We finally land from this space travel with a revisitation of “Mimikry”, by Subheim, where long distance radio voices melt with heavenly chants.
This album absolutely deserves not to be forgotten on some ‘too experimental’ music shelf and should be recognized as a solid attempt to add something new to the overpopulated world of contemporary electronic music, adding grace, meaning and warmth to a genre that often misses these aspects. “L36” is not just one more release in the genre – it drives the listener much further than the usual clichés that now abound in electronic music.
— Nelson B.