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CD Feature/ Tholen: "Sternklang"

img  Tobias
In Buddhism, setbacks are not perceived as problems but as opportunities. “Sternenklang” hits our galaxy a lot later than initially announced -  the release seemed all but finished and ready to ship in early 2007 - but according to Eisen, the man with the plan on this stretched-out statement, that was anything but a disappointment to him: “Although nearly every artist wants his stuff released as soon as possible, these delays are a good possibility to find new inspiration and ideas to give it a final touch, which most times turns out best for the result.”

The album at hand proves him right. Eisen is a man with many interests and a rarely found ability to navigate through the most diverse styles and genres, an artists equally comfortable with the blind brutality of Black Metal, the hypnotic mantras of electronica, frenetic sampling and ice-cold industrial terror. A touch of gloom is inherent to most of his output, an ear for unconventional arrangements and grand forms its basis.

“Sternenklang” fits this description well. On the outside, it is another finely crafted piece of Cosmic Dark Ambient, a style which allows for a lot of freedom and breathing space in musical structures. Rather than aiming for a depressed and drooping stupour, it has turned out a meditation on time and space, which places experience above philosophy and prefers imagination over stark realism.

Those searching for a soundtrack to their misery should therefore turn somewhere else for inspiration. Instead, there is something immensely consoling and relaxing about lying down, putting headphonelevels high and the phone on mute and allowing the music to carry you far away, beyond the outer rims of this solar system. “Sternenklang” looks at the stars from the perspective of a deeply romantic soul on earth, not those of a scientist in space – it is noteworthy in this respect that a night at a star-framed lake was muse to the seventy-minute long track.

This is even more important, as the album does not meander aimlessly along the lines of opqaue drones and oblique reverberations. Eisen builds his work around subtle, yet recognisable themes: A majestic yearning and huge cathedrals of sustained harmonics in the opening quarter, abstract metallic rumblings and a pitch-bent chord in the middle section and even a slowly pounding bass drum with glistening melodies on top towards the end.

It sounds pretty ambitious, but “Sternenklang” manages to sound anything but pretentious. For minutes, it relies on nothing but the flow of its elements, drifting along minuscule variations and pure timbre, before another effective change leads the mind deeper into the abyss: Every action, every sound and noise contributes to the ambiance of the music, embellishing it and highlighting another angle.

It is not necessarily going anywhere. There is no classical development or the sense that a particular conflict has been resolved at the end of this trip. On the other hand, there might never have been one in the first place. As a buddhist would say: The journey is the reward – and quite an impressive reward at that, one might add.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Tholen
Homepage: Cyclic Law Records

Article in serie

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1 Dark Ambient Special 1
Reviews, Interviews, Articles, Videos, MP3s: ...
2008-02-19
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2 Interview: Taphephobia
Ketil of Taphephobia was part ...
2008-02-18
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3 Interview: Tholen
Eisen has several projects going ...
2008-02-18
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4 Interview: Vestigial
The success of Vestigial's self-released ...
2008-02-18
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5 Artist Portrait: Andrea Marutti
Breathing problems: Marutti's pieces develop ...
2008-02-18
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6 Label Portrait: Reverse Alignment
Projects needs to develop: Running ...
2008-02-18
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8 CD Feature/ Formication: "Agnosia"
A consciously unconscious approach: Tribal ...
2008-02-18
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9 CD Feature/ Sinke Dus: "Akrasia"
A collection of unashamed dirges: ...
2008-02-18
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10 CD Feature/ Tholen: "Sternklang"
In the end, nothing has ...
2008-02-18
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11 CD Feature/ Steve Roach: "Immersion: Two"
Includes the inner cosmos: A ...
2008-02-18
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12 CD Feature/ Seetyca: "The Lake"
A responsive hence-and-forth between its ...
2008-02-18
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13 CD Feature/ Taphephobia: "Anomie"
Beyond horror: Every twist draws ...
2008-02-18
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14 CD Feature/ Nathan Youngblood: "Asunder"
A future point of reference: ...
2008-02-18
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15 CD Feature/ Protoplasmic Reversion: "Sunken Temples"
A texturally pure work: The ...
2008-02-18
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16 CD Feature/ Nihil Communication: "We are violent"
There are no easy answers ...
2008-02-18

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