With two mini albums already released this year which differed slightly in textural content we now have an interesting fusion of both synthetic and organic on the first full album release of the new Tench Label run by Ostermeier himself.
The CD digipak which slipped out of the padded envelope is covered in striking high quality black and white landscape photos of woodland and lakeside by James Luckett which suggest fairly placid and peaceful content within; and for the most part this is exactly what we get.
The 10 tracks are all slow paced with a fairly simple structure of minimalist piano or guitar melody with washes of electronic drone or string pads in the background punctured by the occasional fx such as scratches or clicks and some ambiguous field recorded sounds. Suspended is worthy of mention as one of the more complex and engaging tracks on the album and it is the first track to use the guitar mixed with a host of complimentary electronic and field recorded sounds. The tracks which really shined for me though (Deepr, Hedge Game) contained some very sparse synthetic beats in the background. Deepr combines piano and guitar and develops into a subtle melancholic IDM piece which really stood out. By contrast Hedge Game is probably the most experimental piece on the album with piano, crackling fizzes and ominous bass pulses which transform after 3 minutes into a driving beat that carries the track through to its end.
As someone who appreciates and practices the more experimental side of ambient music I really wanted to hear more tracks like Hedge Game which seemed to be tentatively exploring a new area of the electro-acoustic ambient genre.
And how refreshing it was not to hear the completely cliched and utterly overused vinyl crackle on this album! The electro-acoustic scene badly needs to drop this much abused method of adding sonic texture to their tracks.
The rest of the tracks on this album were fairly formulaic and for me they were also a little too short. Many of the tracks felt as though they had not been given the chance to develop fully and faded out rather early.
I don’t think we have seen the best that Marc Ostermeier can offer us yet and while this is a perfectly accomplished album that is very pleasant to listen to I do hope that Marc continues to fully explore the crossover between mainstream electro-acoustic ambient and the possibilities offered by experimental electronic music.
M. Ostermeier. Chance Reconstruction. Tench Label TCH01. Released August 31, 2010. www.tenchrec.com