Thursday, February 11, 2016

J. Peter Schwalm, The Beauty of Disaster

Contemporary music these days is like an open book. Every page offers you something potentially different and new, yet connected in a zeitgeist of what is in the air right now. Something of that uniqueness within a constantly shifting matrix can be heard very nicely on the recent album of ambient avant electrics by German composer J. Peter Schwalm. The album is entitled The Beauty of Disaster (rarenoise 059 CD or LP).

Peter plays a myriad of instruments and makes of the studio his working canvas, playing guitars, pianos, electronic devices, drums and synths. Joining him at various points are guest artists on violas, guitars, bass, drums, pump organ and grand piano.

All that is the HOW, but it is the WHAT that makes this music stand out. Schwalm gives us an intricate universe of amassed sonics that revels in the totality of the blend. In ten segments we get a great deal to contemplate.

It is a space-orchestral ambiance built up of cavernous, resonating acoustics. Each segment comes to our ears as a marvelously totalized aspect of space-tronics. The vividly depictive sound mode constructions have their say with acutely singular spatial presence and then make way for a contrasting new sound episode.

This is not so much a music of instrumental virtuosity as it is an electronic orchestral tapestry of shifting elements that have some relationship to psychedelics and trance minimalism, soundscaping and present day electro-acoustics.

What makes it especially fine is Schwalm's sensitive unfolding of the sound palette possibilities. It is cosmic music in the grand tradition and a great example of how that can sound today.

Kudos! Space cadets don your interplanetary traveling suits and get ready for a lively journey!


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