N + Dirk Serries: Kehr (Denovali)
N is the iterative alias of one Hellmut Neidhardt, with each appearance he’s made under the name appended with a sequential integer. I discovered his music not too long ago, when he already had numerous releases under his belt. So I’ve been somewhat intimidated by the sheer scope of his work despite knowing that it is just the sort of thing I enjoy, textural and prolonged drones and atmospheres. On Kehr, he collaborates with guitarist Dirk Serries, who previously made a name for himself making serene, ethno-ambient music under the moniker Vidna Obmana throughout the 90s and beyond. So Kehr is a pretty different sound, for those only familiar with Serries work as VO. (I’d venture that his subsequent project, Fear Falls Burning, is closer in sound, but to be honest I’ve not yet heard any.)
The noisy, hazy drones of Kehr come in three distinct parts. Where Serries’ guitar ends and N’s drones and effects pick up is hard to say; this is immersive and effervescent stuff, like I’m drowning in fizzy water. It has some of the rawer qualities of Christian Fennesz’s guitar-laden discography, but the finished timbre and mood is something else. Whereas Fennesz’s music can feel alternatively aspirational or introspective, Kehr feels stark, intense, immediate, like an exposed nerve.
Each of the three pieces is longer than the previous one, with the third track clocking in at an impressive 21:27. In its patient unfolding and cascading, it reminds me of some of Maeror Tri’s more epic 90s material, splitting the difference between guitar noise and something more primal and emotive. The slow, sweet decay of that last act is perfection to my ears, and fans of fuzzy ambience and visceral drones will likely agree. Highly recommended.