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CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "Suddenly Silence burst my Ear"

img  Tobias

The “live thing” is very important to Martin Fuhs of Seconds in Formaldehyde, as he pointed out in a recent post with regards to this album: “I'm really proud of this one because it shows the quality of my ability to do these drones in a non-studio environment.” In fact, his music has always had this raw touch to it. Of all the guitar-loop oriented performers out there, Fuhs may well be the one to allow his pieces the greatest amount of spontaneity and the largest contrast between tranquility and aggression – and his most recent output is a perfect demonstration of his technique. 

Most of all, it clearly distinguishes him from the fold: By the time most reviewers will be comparing him to Aidan Baker, he will probably already be somewhere else; a theory further solidified by his experiments with rhythm on his Verato Project release “Inaudible”. Admittedly, there are, first of all, the similarities: Fuhs plays his guitar through a string of Pedal Stomp Boxes, gently tweaking the tones to soft, wooly threads and breathing drones, which are in turn looped and played against each other. He also enjoys counterpointing tracks, which essentially remain within the same key throughout, with discreet washes of disruptive chord clusters, causing a feeling of subtle estrangement. The play between satisfying expectations and confounding them is the motor of his music and keeps the three long meditations at the heart of this album going even in the long, silent stretches. And yet, these moments of quietude and beauty are, again and again, disrupted by sudden, harsh semblances: A single, penetrating note, a raving tremolo, a furious kick on the distortion pedal. In a mere seconds, the floating ambiances morph into halucinatory seas of feedback, noise and emphatically entangled melodic lines. It is almost as if a tsunami were brushing over the mildly rippled surface of a pond. It is a process already apparent on previous releases and which has now reached its climax in the third part of these five untitled movements, a musical version of the glass tunnel scene from blade runner, with the glass shardes cutting the flesh in real time in the end. 

At the beginning of the year, Seconds in Formaldehyde contributed to the sampler “The Threshold of Silence”, now the project has openly broken that barrier – musically and conceptually. Somehow, “Silence burst my Ear” feels like the real beginning of Martin Fuhs’ discography, the quality of his previous albums notwithstanding. We will certainly follow him develop that “live thing” – especially with his first concerts coming up later this year. 

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde
Homepage: Seconds in Formaldehyde at MySpace
Homepage: Tosom Records

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