Music

German Producer Recondite Creates Emotive, Reflective Soundscapes on 'Dwell'

Photo: Courtesy of Ghostly International via Bandcamp

With Dwell, Recondite has once again created a superior set of sensitive, multi-layered compositions full of subtle shades that seem to exist in their own time and place.

Dwell
Recondite

Ghostly International

24 January 2020

German electronic artist, Recondite (aka Lorenz Brunner) returns with an album that serves as something of a sequel to his 2013 minor classic, Hinterland. Again partnering with Ghostly International, he further explores the chilly, minimal sound of Hinterland as an aesthetic and tonal template.

As with Hinterland, Dwell focuses on emotive, reflective soundscapes that gradually draw you in with their intangible sense of mystery. Once again, Brunner has created a superior set of sensitive, multi-layered compositions full of subtle shades that seem to exist in their own time and place.

Album opener "Dwell" quickly immerses you back in the similarly remote, digital wilds of Hinterland. Bathed in shadow from the outset, murky electronics intermingle with tense, ringing synth notes and a crisp, unhurried beat. It all feels reassuringly familiar, like being transported to a half-forgotten, distant location with Brunner taking his time to color in all the details as he takes his time to reintroduce recognizable sonic threads.

The slow-burning "Nobilia" sees Brunner take these strands while picking up a few more as he broadens his sound by incorporating his love of hip-hop structures. Although keen to work within his established aesthetic, his approach is anything but fixed. So while he may be embracing an older artistic identity on this album, his musical perspective and abilities have been through seven years of change and adaptation, and it shows throughout the album.

"Black Letter" is a little more mournful with eerie synth notes gracefully appearing amongst the misty, murky electronics. Every lingering note intensifies the experience, amplifying its emotional resonance before being allowed to bleed into the background, having left a lasting and haunting impression.

The first of the two interlude pieces, "Interlude 1", also continues the hip-hop influence with the addition of rumbling electronics and otherworldly synth notes. Album standout, "Mirror Games", builds from a stimulating techno beat and ringing, arpeggiated synth notes like the peeling of distant bells. It's a prime example of his more immersive soundscapes coalescing with the more dancefloor-friendly beats.

The more melancholic "Cure" features a spectral, nebulous dynamic with chilly atmospheric electronics punctuated by soft, repeated keyboard hooks. It has a delicate, intangible quality with the composite parts of the track so loosely connected that it's a wonder it doesn't just sink and disappear at any moment.

With drifting, synth chimes, and a rolling beat, the meditative, "Surface" gracefully builds before getting stuck like a kite caught in the branches of a tree. It takes time to wrestle and writhe its way free before continuing on its weightless journey.

The ethereal "Moon Pearl", continues in a similar vein with hazy electronics and shimmering synths guiding the track into the abstract. Album closer, "Wire Threat", ends the record on a fittingly enigmatic note. Over shuffling percussion and ominous, thrumming electronics, the song sounds lost, never finding a familiar space to settle. It's an unnerving ending to the album with any sense of resolution left teasingly just out of reach.

Dwell is an indefinite, amorphous album that constantly shapes and reshapes itself. Once again, Recondite has produced an enigmatic, ruminative minimal techno album that finds him successfully reconnecting and then further exploring the sounds that he used so strikingly on Hinterland.

7


Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.

Music

Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Music

'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.

Music

Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.

Books

Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.

Music

South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.

Music

Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Books

A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.

Music

The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.

Music

Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.

Music

Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.

Television

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.

Books

'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.

Film

'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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