Sven Schienhammer: Altostratus Translucidus (BineMusic)
Sven Schienhammer is also known as Quantec, having released music on labels such as Echocord and Meanwhile. With this release under his proper name, he distills his aesthetic into a dubby, gaseous form. Clearly influenced by the Basic Channel set, many of the twelve pieces on the album are characterized by wet reverb, bulbous filters and a buoyant pulse. But the first third of the album kicks off in a more purely ambient direction, beatless and spacious. Thsi contrast to the pieces that follow is part of why I enjoy the album, as if it’s literally precipitating beats from a hazy cloud as it progresses. The final stretch of the album is more immediate, with the rhythm tracks mixed higher and clearer. It’s quite handsome, if a bit overly familiar; anyone with an affinity to Maurizio, Basic Channel or the Echocord label may find a good chunk of this to be predictable, but I find comfort in its damp warmth. And it’s worth repeating that the ambient passage that’s comprised by the first four tracks is sublime, a subtle arc toward the more lively material that proceeds.