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CD Feature/ Taunus: "Harriet"

img  Tobias

Some labels are like families: The physical attributes of their genes can be seen in their spouses. Ahornfelder, especially, has established a recognisably warm and touchingly naive sound, which could not only be traced back to the solo work of founder Alexander Schubert, but to the various projects of his siblings as well. It has given the company a unique face and come close to establishing a genre of its own, and yet it has also opened the door to the danger of repetition. This is why „Harriet“will do Schubert's home and house a lot of good.

Of course this is not to say that it represent a complete about-turn. Taunus is the acoustic steel-string brotherhood of Jan Thoben and Jochen Briesen, complemented by a select group of friends for their regular live appearances in their hometown of Berlin or at the Ahornfelder festival in Leipzig. A cross-border intersection of artists from both camps has now been invited for the sessions to this album, involving instruments such as Double Bass, Clarinet and Vibraphone and integrating painter and guitarist F.S. Blumm among others. Technically speaking, this is the ideal Ahornfelder supergroup.

In terms of sound, too, „Harriet“ does not decamp all too far from the proven paths. Duo guitar passages create a mellow folk mood, warm wood winds blow through sympathetically clattering scenes of pastoral beauty and polyphonic voices, friendly claps and stomps combine into uplifting moments which require no big message or implicit politics to make an impact. The album has an open ambiance to it, with plenty of breathing space, feeling dreamy and so direct it could have been recorded right in your living room. Field recordings culled from what could have been a visit to the zoo reinfornce the notion of the album as an oasis.

And yet, there is an element of darkness, of premonitions and of foreboding to be found as well. While albums like „Diario“ or „Pres de la Lisiere“ were pure tenderness turned sound and constituted a womb of complete harmony for the time of their duration, Taunus make the more pensive side of the vision audible. Just like a sudden rush of cold air and a distant wall of grey clouds can take the easyness from a picnick party for an instant, their music slips in and out of brooding passages, when the rhythms of their guitars loose symmetry, deep drones billow from below the earth or a monotonous computer voice monologises coldly through the subtlelty of their acoustic setting.

Still, „Harriet“ has not ended up a depressed record. Reflective and relaxed states take their turn and lend a cinematic and wide feeling to the sounds – despite the album's shortness of 33 minutes. In its blend of the recognisable and the new, it marks Taunus as a band with a lot of stories to tell. And it brands Ahornfelder as a label willing to take risks even though it could sit back and rest on its laurels.

Homepage: Taunus
Homepage: Ahornfelder Records

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