German duo Albrecht Kunze and Ekkehard Ehlers open their sophomore effort with the gently acoustic “Forever Never,” which floats through the room on a feather and a sigh. The avant garde sonic experimentation of the field recordings “März Im Park” and “Oktober Im Park” (March and October in the Park, respectively) mix backwoods banjo-driven German folk songs with sounds of laughter, babbling brooks, bicycle bells and assorted percussive effects to the point of distraction, and the album would have been even more enjoyable without them. But the proggy, mildly psychedelic “The River” rescues the day with its appropriately rolling melody which reminded me of Peter Gabriel fronting The Dream Academy covering The Byrds “Ballad of Easy Rider” and features nice trombone flourishes from Jakobus Siebels.
Glitch music fans may enjoy the next musical interlude, “Tropige Trauben” (I’m guessing “Tropical Dreams”), but others will be left scratching their heads at this puzzling phenomenon – the digital equivalent of the old scratching technique employed by turntablists back in the 80s, the most famous example of which is probably Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.”
The swirling, loopy “Blaue Fäden (“Blue Threads”), which, along with “The River,” previously appeared on a limited edition 10”, would make a perfect entry in Darla’s “Bliss Out” series and compares favorably with the works of Jim Rao (aka, Orange Cake Mix) and Detroit ambient spacerockers, Füxa.
And just when you think you’ve got a handle on März’s sound, they hit you with “Some Things Do Fall,” a childishly silly, infectious as hell loop whose lyric consists of the title repeated ad infinatum over a jaunty, carnival-like backing, and the carny atmosphere continues on the jovial instrumental “Biber & Enten” (“Beavers & Ducks”), and it’s soft-shoe shuffle rhythm will put a smile on even the most jaded listener’s face.
I also liked the romantically quiet strings, vibes and electronics of “Welt Am Draht” (“World at the Wire,” which, probably not coincidentally, was also the title of a 1973 Fassbinder movie for German television), which wouldn’t be out of place on a Soothing Sounds for baby compilation, and if there was a better example of pure pop perfection than the aptly titled “The Pop Song,” I’ve yet to hear it. So, despite some minor misgivings on the electronic noodlings, experimental sonic collages and field recordings, this is one of the year’s prettiest, quietest releases and is highly recommended to fans of soothing, electronic soundscapes.