Bersarin Quartett

III

by John Garratt

15 December 2015

Thomas Bücker has spun another ghostly miracle for the third time in a row.
 
cover art

Besarin Quartett

III

(Denovali)
US: 6 Nov 2015
UK: 27 Nov 2015

The Bersarin Quartett is Thomas Bücker. Whether he’s surround by one, ten, or zero people, the Bersarin Quartett name remains. It’s difficult to tell how many individuals had a hand in making the third Bersarin album, simply named III, but that doesn’t really matter. The music of Bersarin Quartett is abstract electronica that manages to retain simple building blocks like pulse, harmony, and a little bit of melody while plunging miles below the surface in search of the place where musical melancholia transcends mere “moodiness” and persuades you into thinking it’s an entirely new musical genre unto itself.

For people who have followed Thomas Bücker thus far, all of this isn’t new. His first albums under the Bersarin moniker were quiet critical successes and, to the faithful, III is just another delivery of those exceptional goods. For those unfamiliar with the sounds of Bersarin, III is no better or worse than the first two albums when it comes to finding a point of entry. “Something this good can’t possibly be real,” wrote the Silent Ballet of the eponymous Bersarin debut. As much as I hate to lean on hyperbole, especially when expressed by others, the sentiment feels no less true for III. Some of it just sounds too good for our realm.

The music may have been created with digital toys aplenty, but Bücker and his collaborators have painstakingly sculpted the sound so that hovers around you like a vapor rather than just passing in through one ear and out the other. In that way, Bersarin Quartett’s needs to be evaluated under different terms since music doesn’t normally behave this way, even most subgenres of electronica. III is less a collection of songs than it is a collection of coalescing sounds, a collection of dovetailing sonics that deserves a higher adjective than just “agreeable”. True, everything falls neatly into place for Bücker and company, but the manner in which III drops it all in your lap manages to magically bypass expectations. I don’t expect to understand how the whole thing happens since a quick glance through the internet reveals plenty of electronic music enthusiasts who are just as tongue-tied as I am when trying to describe what exactly happens when you press ‘play’ on a Bersarin Quartett release.

What happens is keyboards rise from the mix like steam. Layers are added to round out the sound without burdening the music. Tiny percussive ticks will anchor a song only when Bücker feels like calling on them. Brass and strings, or at least very good imitations of the real thing, are mixed in gently. Even a vocal appearance by Clara Hill on “Welche Welt” is beyond stealthy, something would have slipped right by me had I not read about it on Denovali Records’s website. Every once in a while you will find an aggressive stab of a sound, like the slumber-busting chords on “Umschlungen von Milliarden” that mimic an electric guitar, but it’s all in service to the miasma that is the Bersarin Quartett.

One turns into a broken record when extolling the benefits of Thomas Bücker’s music. If a particular artist comes with enough dumbfounded recommendations, then the written word can only do so much for you.

III

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