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Klangwart - Stadtlandfluss


Markus Detmer and Timo Reuber (who releases material on Staubgold under his own name), have been performing under the name Klangwart for over a decade, and have finally emerged with their first studio LP since 1999, “Stadtlandfluss” being the product of their experimental and freeform live show since the turn of the century.

The album is centred around a limited pool of samples and sounds that are then manipulated by both of them, often moving in tempo and various levels of intensity. Although the transition of the album’s narrative is linear, it grows into a throbbing climax that threatens to overwhelm the listener at some points. From an almost inaudible beginning, “Stadtlandfluss” breaks upon the shore with the electronic hurricane of “Strom” before expiring in a heap.

Detmer and Reuber’s skill is in engaging the listener from the very beginning, as small waves of melody emerge from a quiet pool of static and hisses, growing steadily and surely with each track. The metallic grinds of “IO” overlay this, and there’s time for radio noise that reminds me of Kraftwerk’s “Der Stimme der Energie” before the album enters its most captivating phase, in particular the languorous and calming ambience of “Hamanamah”, which is full of gently pealing bells  that remind me of Popol Vuh’s last album, “Messa di Orfeo”. This is the calm before the storm, as “Telemann” and indeed “Strom”, which sounds almost like pure electricity seeping through the speakers, sees Detmer and Reuber up the intensity to maximum levels before the album dies.

At 35 minutes “Stadtlandfluss” doesn’t outstay its welcome, and is part of a breed of performances that seem to be sacrificing length for intensity, a move that is welcomed by this listener anyway. The melodic lines that permeate the album are beautifully mixed, never overwhelming the other aspects of sound that to their credit, Klangwart use proficiently without breaking any new ground. The album’s strength is that it engages the listener from the outset, and whilst its journey to an intense climax isn’t exactly anything particularly new, the fact that you are carried along with it to the end means that it has achieved its aim. “Stadtlandfluss” is one of the stronger ambient releases this year.

Toby Frith

Klangwart on Discogs








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