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CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "II"

img  Tobias

A lack of creative energy may be an issue for some artists, but not for Martin Fuhs: “Once again I recorded too much music, but I can not stop”, he confessed last year, while announcing “The Red Sky that was filled with Gloom” and concluding with the simple but heartfelt statement: “This is all I live for.” And if there were anymore doubts as to the trueness of his intentions after that, this release on the Delaware-based Gears of Sand label should quickly eradicate them.

Within the community of loop-based guitar perfomers, Fuhs’ style is currently one of the more reduced and fundamental with regards to his methods: “This music was created with the pure power of the guitar drone” he mentions in the sleeve notes and even though the word “pure” is slightly misleading in the context of compositions which rely heavily on effect pedals, amplifiers and pedal stomp boxes, he certainly has yet to indulge in the sort of approximation to adjacent genres such as psychedelic folk, Metal, Blues and Doom currently undertaken by some of his colleagues. The opening, fifteen-minute long exercise in sleepy slowness, “With the Pure Will to Move a Mountain” comes close to the definition of Ambient at the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s as a music of gradual changes, warm atmospheres and no breaks in textures: A deep, reverbed bass impulse is counterpointed by harmonically and rhythmically complimentary motives overlapping in time, sometimes only consisting of a single note and then again expanding into short, fluttering melodies. It will remain the exception on a disc which sees Seconds in Formaldehyde feeling his way forward to a recognisable style of its own. Already on “He slowly lifted his Hands with Decay”, Fuhs boils things down to a potent brew around the eight-minute mark, building up an oppressive tension in the first half, only to strike hard with piercing, distorted and crunching stabs in the second, churning up the tranquil surface of his blackened pool - an intense, restless piece. On “And I dissolved into Small Particles of Dust”, the grand twenty-six minute finale, meanwhile, he allows the mood to develop calmly until the very end, engaging his guitar lines in gentle caresses and letting them float around each other, before again reverting to harsh, yet controlled waves of feedback, signalling the return to the physical world after a short stint in a different galaxy.

Some of these contrasts, as well as the occasional outburst of a singular tone, may be confronting. But they serve an important purpose, preventing the music from falling in love with itself too much and from paralysis. Beauty, after all, always needs a bit of drama to fully bloom. Also, lest one forget, the title of the album points to its position in the composer’s catalogue and makes it clear there is still ample room for development. As long as Martin Fuhs can’t stop, we will surely see him shape Seconds in Formaldehyde with a more precise vocabulary.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde
Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde at MySpace

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