MIRKO UHLIG – Gyokuro
You can appreciate or detest the genre, taking extreme pleasure or getting outright bored when listening to repetitive melodies submerged by unfathomable resonances, thinking “this is great” or “this is rubbish”. But there’s no question that Mirko Uhlig’s music rarely sounds like someone else’s. Gyokuro is mainly based on undemanding reiterative figurations and essential looped progressions which go on and on, completely surrounded by a fog of ambiguity slightly blemished by a modicum of electronics. The titles of the six tracks form a phrase: “Do Birds Practice Their Songs While They Sleep In The Gardens Of Gyokuro”, my overall favourite being “While They”, a heartbreaking segment recalling a mermaid’s poignant chant as she listens to Wiliam Basinski. Utterly touching, we could meditate about life’s burdening troubles for hours only with this piece. On the whole, this is a deceptively simple offer that doesn’t seem to transmit so much at a first try; I urge everybody to persevere and play it twice, thrice, five times as a complex mechanism of reminiscence is revealed, which initially one didn’t suspect existing. Uhlig is a sensitive musician with solid roots, ever detectable in his consistently intriguing releases.
MATHIEU RUHLMANN – Fourteen Worms For Victor Hugo
There’s an interesting subplot behind this great CD, concerning – evidently – Victor Hugo and the conversations he claimed to have had with the Ocean, the Moon, Plato, Galileo and Jesus during the séances conducted after his daughter’s drowning in the Seine, through which the writer was trying to communicate with her. One of the “messages from the other side” described the four states of a return to Earth in the afterlife, which ideally depend on what kind of existence a being has lived in a previous incarnation: from stone/pebble to plant, to animal/insect, to human again. Mathieu Ruhlmann was ensnared by the concept of life existing in each state, so that “working with these objects you can extract this history sonically”. In any case Fourteen Worms is a gorgeous outing per se, the paradigm for those (unfortunately there are many) who would try and get involved in the sort of aural experience encompassing disparate sonic materials, environmental echoes, earthly matters, intelligent use of drones, in this particular circumstance sealed by a marvellously obscure closure via something that sounds like a looped segment of an ancient Asian folk song. Ruhlmann is able to generate spellbinding moods without indulging in special effects and arcane bells and whistles, ultimately confirming himself as a name to rely upon when a piece of well-composed evocativeness is all one wishes for little more than half a hour. A record that possesses emotional features, a rare commodity in this musical district today.