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CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "Construct"

img  Tobias

There is nothing to be said against treating music like a hobby. On the other hand, I have the deepest respect for people who take their art extremely seriously regardless of how many copies they may currently be selling with their releases. Martin Fuhs is a composer of the latter kind and a man with a mission. The statements on his homepage show a deep involvement with every aspect of his trade, an almost physical relationship with the act of performing and a life filled with the sound of the guitar. With the founding of his own label, Waterscape, he has taken his ambitions to an even higer and more professional level – and the first offering on Waterscape, a one-track Mini CD under his Seconds in Formaldehyde pseudonym, has done the same in terms of his creative vocabulary.

The two previous Seconds in Formaldehyde releases, after all, were works in between open admiration for his role models and wilful stabs at finding his own approach. Back then, I singled out sudden mood swings, occasional atonal contamination of the harmonic progressions and long, warm breaths as his personal stamp on the pieces, the will to take his tracks to epic proportions as well as the confidence to destroy them resolutely in the end. With “Construct”, however, Fuhs has found his truly unique language for the first time without blindly taking these edges to further extremes.

Instead, he has shifted his barycentre. You could call this a quantum leap in the original sense of the word: The short melodic lines, the sustained chords, the textural feel and the gradual development from single, simple and repetitive phrases to complex, interconnected and no longer forseable strcutures have remained, but every single element has turned more agile, ambiant, avid and interactive with its surroundings.

The whole track seems to hatch from the opening sentence, a digitally cracking sequence of two chords. First, dreamy accompaniments break this chord into syllables, while the cawing sounds of fingers moving over the finger board fill the cavities of the time-space continuum. For minutes, there is nothing but deepness, a sensation of great consolation. Slowly, a process of concentration begins, smoothening the outlines into stretched-out expansion areas and a bulging and budging drone. Far from using it as the final destination, Fuhs takes this wall of sound through various transformations, allowing fountains of individual motives to errupt from the sea of hot boiling lava, stirring the sometimes contradictory waves of fragile guitar lines into a psychedelic maelstrom. There are several instances, when one expects the music to end, where it appears to have reached its pinacle. But it keeps flowing forth, hitting new nerves, before finally surrendering to the returning opening theme.

Fuhs is filling the rifts of huge oceans with noise, taking his ship into the wide open, drifting without sight of the shoreline. Simultaneously, however, he is also attaching a sense of direction to his music, sailing with a compass and a clear goal vector: The journey is never just the reward on “Construct”. This inherent structure makes him stand apart among his colleagues and unites him with some of those who will soon be releasing on Waterscape, as it takes artists such as Paul Bradley on board. A hobby definitely looks different in my book.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde/Waterscape Records
Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde at MySpace

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