Finding brain-teasing complications in Günter Müller’s sonic conceptions is a hard task, maybe impossible. Yet, having started as a “regular” percussionist, he’s made the most of an ever-noticeable sensitiveness in the treatment of both the percussive arsenal and the emissions coming from other sources (he was probably the first to utilize an iPod as a generator), thus giving birth to an innovative brand of intensely affecting electronic music, often spiced with EAI components. The Swiss composer is really one of a kind, and the fact that we almost instantly recognize those characters as soon as his records are spun is testimony to the status reached.

As the title implies, this album was entirely realized with cymbals and a singing bowl, the initial three tracks and the last respectively informed by those instruments. The original sounds are rendered nearly unrecognizable after being subjected to a skilful studio therapy, which makes sure that all which is caught by the listener consists of a series of hypnotizing impulses, an imposing throbbing whose diffusion is enhanced by admirably unusual overtones. The unclear definition of the structure and the hazy features of these meticulous juxtapositions define any attempt to trace a profile of the compositional design as meaningless: we just receive the mass of sound as perceived, fully satisfied with its intoxicating permanence and incontestable beauty. A natural phenomenon to behold more than a simple musical piece.

“Third Cym” is perhaps the most absorbing track on offer in terms of emotional content, containing the ideal doses of everything: pulse, luminescence, reiteration, capacity of progressive entrancement. But it’s the final “Bowl” that results as an extraordinarily congenial deviation from the “norm”, a vacillating harmony possessing a sort of vocal quality transforming it in a cryptic choral strain amidst bodiless echoes of lastingness, ending in absolute mystery following a shift towards the realms of incomprehensible droning, the whole underlined by various kinds of subterranean heterogeneity. A step in a different direction for Müller which we’d love to see deepened in the future, a disquietingly poignant episode pushing an already gratifying release into the ranks of excellence.

That the pronunciation of the record’s name equals “symbol” is only a thought crossing my mind; it remains to be seen what the main designer is referring to, if that’s not a mere coincidence.


STOP PRESS. Just in from Günter Müller: (…) cym_bowl = symbol was clear for me as soon as I knew that I would use the bowl for a cd. There you go!

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