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Klangwart

Stadtlandfluss

(Staubgold; US: 14 Oct 2008; UK: 19 May 2008)

Review [24.Nov.2008]

Determining the quality of an ambient release is a tricky proposition, because the verdict so often comes down to the intersection of expectation and realization; if you want a piece for background listening and the disc delivers background listening, it’s golden. On the other hand, if you want some kind of narrative flow and you get background listening, well, the same disc that was magically so wonderful in the first scenario becomes trash.


Klangwart’s new release, the first in nine years for Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber, will please those who are looking for a narrative. Stadtlandfluss is a beautifully executed piece of ambience, broken up into seven parts on the CD but never delineating itself in any kind of audible way. It spends almost its entire duration in a state of slow build, starting with silence, building through radio static and drones into an almost Autechre-esque pastiche of rhythmic distortion, eventually culminating in a terribly abrasive spiked wall of static before falling off a cliff and completely fading to silence again. As such, it could be a metaphor for a coming hurricane, or a day in the life of a working stiff, or creation—it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that Stadtlandfuss maintains its focus and stays interesting for its entire 35 minutes, making it an utterly engaging success. Just don’t relegate it to the background.

Rating:

Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


Media
Klangwart - Stadtlandfluss Promo Video
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German electronicists Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber set a long-time staple of their live performances to tape. Their Stadtlandfluss explores tone, mood and rhythm in a haunting evocation of man and machine, spirit and materiality.
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