Ambient and free improvisation are a great match. Purists of each of these genres may disagree But the label programme of attenuation circuit has proven time and again that deeply atmospheric music can be co-created in spontaneous interaction. The work of label head Sascha Stadlmeier aka EMERGE is a case in point. His extensive touring in the past decade has led to numerous live collaborations that have also found their way into the label's releases.
This new album, too, consists of two live sets in which EMERGE was involved, recorded a few months apart in 2018. The first of the two tracks is a collaboration with Polish project Limited Liability Sounds, recorded in Paris. The second, recorded in Bochum (Germany), is a collaboration with Gerald Fiebig, with whom EMERGE already played some of his earliest collaborative shows years ago in the early 2010s. A comparison with EMERGE and Fiebig's earlier collaborative releases such as “compound”, recorded in 2011, shows what a long way they have come in terms of both their individual musical strategies and their approach to instant composition.
Both tracks on this album are remarkably consistent – rather than just two live recordings packaged together, this is an album with a common compositional “theme”. Both tracks explore the merging and contrasting of extended, laminar, harmonic sounds and rhythmic samples. Found sounds and field recordings play a role in the compositions, but not as referents of the “real”. Instead, they are given a rather psychedelic treatment, opening up dreamscapes that are sometimes (perhaps deceptively?) tranquil, sometimes ominous – but never monotonous. This mix makes for stimulating music that might open its listeners' minds to the diversity, and ambiguity, of the world.