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Marcus Fjellström - Schattenspieler

CD / LP
 

Swedish composer and multimedia artist Marcus Fjellström's debut Miasmah release follows two critically acclaimed full length albums on Lampse (2006's 'Gebrauchsmusik' and 2005's 'Exercises In Estrangement'). In addition Marcus has had several commissioned works requested, leading to him working with, among others, the Swedish Royal Ballet, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, numerous ensembles, soloists and filmmakers including 'Salad Fingers' creator David Firth. Currently based in Berlin, Fjellström's compositions often combine aspects of modern classical composition and arrangement and more avant forms of music, be that acoustic or electronic.

'Schattenspieler' (which translates as 'Shadowplayer') takes the form of eleven compositions which explore ambience and melody, texture and silence. Haunting synth and orchestral instrument-based audio constructions, flowing from one moment to the next – the fleeting ghosts of Fjellström's melodies rise, only to be buried under a claustrophobic clutter of percussion and creaking background noise. These pieces do indeed feel like you're listening to something more implied than obviously stated, as if Fjellström wants only to expose us to the shadow of the music – the implication being perhaps a more terrifying experience than to be confronted outright…listen to 'Schattenspieler' and you may find your mind starts to play tricks on you…

The undeniably Angelo Badalamenti-esque descending synth strings of opening track 'The Disjointed', lay the foundations for Fjellström's 'Schattenspieler' album; music resting somewhere between the unsettling horror soundtracks of Jerry Goldsmith, the elevating melodies of Cliff Martinez, and the subtle audio constructions of Miasmah label mates Kreng and Jacaszek. Marcus' wide ranging abilities in composition and his willingness to let go of accepted form and function makes 'Schattenspieler' a perfect choice of release for the Miasmah label. The suspense laden 'Antichrist Architechture Management', with its harrowing and tense undertones, weaving synth lines and a wash of static hiss and flicker, is a particular standout track. Despite it's a strangely oppressive sound, shafts of light grace 'Schattenspieler'; pieces such as 'Untitled 090616' find gorgeous melodies are boxed in by unsettling arrangements and sparse background ambience. There is a coldness to many of these compositions – not without emotion, but somehow remorseless. 'Schattenspieler' is, for the main part, a defiantly bleak journey.

'Schattenspieler' also includes a four part suite 'House Without A Door' (tracks six to nine), which was originally commissioned for the Bernd Behr film of the same name. Album closer 'Uncanny Valleys', reflective in some ways of the opening track, is a haze of descending synth and organ tones. The imperfections in these often scratchy recordings makes for an alluring, almost drug- induced state of mind where all that is real is unreal. Doom-not-doom? Well, not perhaps so easy to label…it's safe to say though, as a well grounded modern composer, Fjellström's created something of a suitably appropriate monster in 'Schattenspieler'.

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