PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Thore Pfeiffer: Im Blickfeld

When it comes to the Kompakt league of ambient music, Thore Pfeiffer is more on his way there than having fully arrived.

Thore Pfeiffer

Im Blickfeld

Label: Kompakt
US Release Date: 2015-05-26
UK Release Date: 2015-05-25
Label website

German electronic music label Kompakt has been releasing Pop Ambient compilations for a while now, but Thore Pfeiffer's Im Blickfeld is the second entry of Kompakt's Pop Ambient artist album series. What does this mean for you? Honestly, probably not much. I suppose you could take a step back and process Im Blickfeld as a piece of a larger jigsaw puzzle, one where you don't know what picture you're supposed to be constructing. Or you can zoom in and soak up this album the same way you would any other Kompakt release. After all, Kompakt is serious about electronic music. For them, it's not all about glow sticks, sweat, and dehydrating drugs. They don't let any old DJ roll in from the outside and give them a deal, they sniff out artists who can drop new sounds way down inside the listener's neurons. So it's a small surprise that they give the keys to a newcomer so early in this series.

The only thing Thore Pfeiffer has done for Kompakt prior to Im Blickfeld are a pair of tracks for the Pop Ambient 2015 compilation. So does Pfeiffer qualify as an ambient heavyweight that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the label's roster? Hearing Im Blickfeld, I'd say he's more on his way than having fully arrived.

On first encounter, Im Blickfeld dazzles with its sounds. Opener "Allzu Nah" features those soft-yet-solid keyboards sounds that are calibrated just-so for a pleasantly timed slap-back. When it plays, you can feel yourself become centered and the fact that it doesn't develop into anything bigger doesn't seem to be a big deal. Then as "Drang" moderately bobs along, you start to wonder if Pfeiffer is going to transpose any of these neat sounding ideas into second gear. That's when the title track swoops down and begins to toy with your brain by having two patterns slightly out of phase with one another overlap, a lovely gimmick that he reprises on the album's 15-minute closer "Gipfel".

The perfect sounds keep coming through Im Blickfeld, but Thore Pfeiffer continues to favor drone and repetition over organic development. It's not that the former is such a bad thing and that the latter never, ever happens -- it's just that Im Blickfeld holds more potential than its displaying. Then again, this could be built into the album itself. You can take Pfeiffer's word for it: "During production, I always had these images in mind, of a hunter sitting in the deerstand, contemplating his extended field of vision. He's got a lot of time at his hands to muse about things and take in the silence before the storm." It could be that the storm and the hunt are being saved for the next narrative, because all of the action here is within the hunter's mind.

These observations shouldn't dissuade anyone from checking out Im Blickfeld nor should they by any means serve as anything prophetic for Thore Pfeiffer's career. This is a snapshot of a starting lunge.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.