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Marcus Fischer: Monocoastal (12k)

Anyone familiar with Taylor Deupree’s 12k label ought to know loosely what to expect from just about any of its numerous releases. The label focuses on the hazier, lighter side of electronic and ambient music. In its earliest days the label was synonymous with glitch and austerity, but recently 12k has moved into a more tender, organic area. This is not to take away from its music or imply that somehow it’s trite or syrupy new age – the quality control even after all these years is quite high. Marcus Fischer’s ambient works here are largely defined by delicate guitar work, plucked sparsely with a thoughtful, spread out pace. Field recordings and effects round out the recordings, lending an organic quality to the album; everything here has a human touch. It’s not 12k’s most adventurous material by any means, but Fischer’s work slides up nicely alongside the more serene moments of Fennesz, Oren Ambarchi or Rick Tomlinson (Voice of the Seven Woods). Its warm surface noise and tenuous structure lend it a delicate comfort. There aren’t clear standouts, but some tracks take on a slightly different shape than others. “Wind and Wake” lives up to its title, recalling the drowsy feeling of stirring in the morning, that tenuous state between dreaming and waking. “Between Narrow and Small” is another one that subtly suits its title, full of strangely filtered guitar. The microtonal bends and drones that linger throughout recall some of the more vibrating electronics of late 90s Oval, but with an added human touch through Fischer’s guitar work as it progresses. It’s a handsome collection of pieces that seem right at home in the grey morning light of winter that creeps through the window every morning.

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