For M / Mikro_Kosmos – Two Concerts

Label // Sound Of A Handshake
Genre // Indie / Pop
Jahr // 2011
Format // 2CD
Cat. No. // shake 012-2CD

Two track titles, separated by a slash; and two independent realms, recorded moments in time, separate sonic worlds: the two concerts b. fleischmann recorded for his new LP don’t need an album title to tie them together. They complement each other and interlock quite smoothly and organically anyway, lifting you up when the other is pulling you down and vice versa. The first track “For M (a tribute to mark linkous)”, was recorded in May 2010 at Klangboden Mödling: Austrian Angst might still be no option for a Weltanschauung, but there is a certain unease at work in the beginning, pushing down the strings, the cautious guitar loops – which is hardly surprising: the entire piece is a musical obituary for the man who started Sparklehorse and shot himself only a few weeks prior to this very concert. While fleischmann takes care of electronics, guitar and omnichord, as he usually does, he was joined on stage by Matthias Frey (violin, snare), Martin Siewert (guitar, lap-steel, bass, electronics), and Alexandr Vatagin (bass, electronics, cello). The resulting 45+ minutes of commemoration, initiated by b. for the late M., so to speak, is a dark yet glistening pile of leaves, in which the musicians repeatedly return to the base line, the key note, the pulse, the “why”, to all those existential questions about the end we all have to face one day. Question marks in the shape of a soaring lap-steel guitar appear on top of beats that turn and squeak, softly, like an extended lament, a form of rebellion, a consultation of yet more instruments, wondering and meandering in unison, until it all gives way to a swooshing noise, a threat to crush the listener from the inside, gnawing, biting, then resolve at last: harmony, harmonies, a shadow of zest, faith. Although he has contributed vocals now and then in the past, our man from Vienna remains silent for the second track as well, focusing on ambience alone: “mikro_kosmos”, a solo piece, was recorded in June 2010 at “festival irritationen II”. Like scoundrels in striped rags, a bunch of sounds appears on the quiet, two of them and a third hidden in the underbrush keeping watch, yet the electronic fetters soon get a hold of them, and a pool is filled with swirling, creaking textures, sliding downwards under a long note, long and wide like a horizon of dark clouds. “mikro_kosmos” is a spectacle of nature, a self-renewing environment populated by wraithlike creatures, conjured up like the images of a laterna magica, complete with sunrises, quick motion scenes, fights between the fittest and non-survivors, and even sirens, in case of fire in the underbrush. In the middle part fleischmann’s guitar takes the lead, runs wild, things are head over heels all of a sudden, there’s beating and elopement, until we hear new paws on the ground, and the playing field is ready to be cluttered up once again: grow, thrive, wither, fade away, be eaten, until the next breakup will set this little world on fire. But back to the missing album title: perhaps there is no title because the track titles are simply chosen too well. A suitable album title, though, he already used for an earlier album: “Melancholie” – a word universally understood; and it still rings true.