Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 189 - 02/07/12

Markus Mehr
Hidden Shoal Recordings

In is the first of a so-called 'triptych release' including the forthcoming albums On and Off, scheduled over the next 12 months, by German experimental ambient artist/composer/musician Markus Mehr. Mehr's elegance have been presented before, on Lava (2010), an album which made No Ripcord magazine to write: "...sounds like the ebb and flow of space itself.. ..individual snippets of a grand, repeating, organic process that keeps the universe in balance.". Nothing less.

In holds two tracks, or movements, "Komo" and "Ostinato", each of them clocks in at about 25 minutes (give or take a minute). This is earphones music. Lay down. Listen in. Drift off. "Komo" circles and circles, slowly, slowly. It's hard to decide if you're doing a downward slope and are about to make a slow-motion landing. Or, you're in the process of rising, soon to reach the surface from a submerged position. Which is quite cool. This is exploration with a blindfold, where Mehr's soundscapes lead you around and about. There's also a spoken word fragment, or speech/lecture (of philosophy, about the subconscious) coming in some 17 minutes into "Komo", where a man is actually saying 'You are an explorer': "... You are an explorer. And you represent our species. And the greatest good you can do, is to bring back a new idea. Because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence of consciousness...". I then managed to trace the name of the man, the psychonaut philosopher from the sample. It's no doubt Mehr travels the outskirts of the universe - and he dares you to follow. When "Komo"'s starting to explode at 18.35 and outwards, it's quite clear Mehr's on a maybe-no-return mission. He's out there for the truth. Or he'll bring back good ideas.

Then it's "Ostinato". "In music, an ostinato (derived from Italian: "stubborn", compare English: obstinate) is a motif or phrase, which is persistently repeated in the same musical voice. An ostinato is always a succession of equal sounds, wherein each note always has the same weight or stress. The repeating idea may be a rhythmic pattern, part of a tune, or a complete melody in itself." ( "Ostinato" is also a slow starter, with static noise gradually sidelined by melodic patterns. It's the sound of a wave washing ashore repeatedly. You can just lay back and float back and forth. Imagine yourself in a big, big cradle filled with the softest cloths. This is indeed comfortable for a long time, but all of sudden I feel I've drifted off, giving me this feeling that I've lost control. That the music has taken me too far away. Way, way off, to mid sea. Or mid space? I'm feeling the nausea rising, as the angst of being left alone in the midst of the big, black, blue flake. Yet, it feels like Mehr's guiding you and safeguarding you so that there's nothing to worry about. Like a guardian angel.

Markus Mehr's earlier works has been linked (as in related) to the 1970s Kosmische music of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. Parts of "Ostinato" is sort of cosmic Morricone soundtrack stuff. This is the sound of when grandiose sounds are done within a minimal framework. The result is an expression almost not of this earth.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Markus Mehr articles/reviews: Binary Rooms, Gymnasium/Swarms, Hubble, In the Palm of Your Hand - The Remix EP, Lava, Off, On, Re-Directed.

© 2012 Luna Kafé