Martin Brandlmayr, Werner Dafeldecker & Christian Fennesz: Till the Old World’s Blown Up And A New One’s Created (m=minimal)
m=minimal released this meeting of the minds earlier this year (though I believe it’s been circulating in various forms on other labels for a few years now). In my usual pile-up of new music, it fell to the wayside for a while, but I’ve finally circled back and given this the attention it rightfully deserves. Of the three players, Christian Fennesz is perhaps the one who requires the least amount of introduction, known for his extensive catalogue of hazy, guitar-based ambient and noise records on labels including Touch and Mego. Martin Brandlmayr has put in time as a percussionist with mechanical post-rock trio Radian and also has a bevy of side projects including Kapital Band 1. Werner Dafeldecker is an Austrian double bassist and guitarist involved with a variety of projects including Polwechsel and Autistic Daughters. This somewhat short album is split into two halves (presumably for vinyl pressing) and is surprisingly restrained given the talent involved. The trio explores silence as much as sound, with a patience that’s refreshing. Brandlmayr anchors much of the music with his own knack for making percussive ambient noise (continuous brushes that sound like quiet white noise, for instance) with muted drum punctuation and vibraphone. It’s pretty sparse and gloomy stuff, perhaps borrowing some from the New York school (Cage, Feldman, Wolff) but with a strangely languid jazz slant. I find it resonating a bit more with each listen… it’s certainly music that requires a fair amount of active listening and which sounds better in an intimate and ideally solitary setting. So what then of the title? The music hardly sounds apocalyptic, at least not in any conventional way. I find it to be perhaps more of a reflection of the precarious balance of our world, tense and uncertain, gloomy but not without a shred of optimism — for this world is all that we have or know, and for now, we can choose to love it or leave it.