Music for Shared Rooms

Label // Morr Music
Genre // Electronic
Jahr // 2022
Format // 2LP
Cat. No. // morr 189-lp

»Music for Shared Rooms« is B. Fleischmann’s eleventh solo album and his first since 2018. It is also not an album, or at least not in the conventional sense of the word. These 16 instrumental pieces provide a kaleidoscopic glimpse of a forward-thinking musician at home in many different musical worlds, including experimental and abstract music, pop and more classically-minded compositional forms. These pieces were culled from an archive of roughly 600 compositions for theatre pieces and films written throughout the past twelve years. The Österreichischer Filmpreis-awarded composer, however, aimed for more than simply documenting his extensive work in and with different media. To do so, he edited and re-mixed the individual recordings for this release, taking them out of their contexts and reworking them for an audience who can experience them in a different setting. »Music for Shared Rooms« makes it possible for its listeners to engage with the sounds and to fill the spaces they open up with their own imagination.

Roughly speaking, music for theatre or film can serve two functions: it either takes the lead, or underscores what is happening on stage or screen. The marvelous thing about these pieces is that they manage to do both. Fleischmann’s work as a prolific producer has always drawn on contrasts, at times combining pop sentiment with rigid experimentation, the seemingly naive with the intricate and complex. This approach also marks the tracks collected here: bringing together acoustic elements and electronic sounds, at times working with conventional structures but always de- and re-contextualising them, Fleischmann constructs a vivid dramaturgy out of discrete singular compositions, letting them interact across the record.

Take, for example, the opener »Träumerei« and the following »Brenne«: after the soothing acoustic sounds of the former, the latter quickly picks up speed with hard-hitting drum machine rhythms. It’s a stark contrast sonically and stylistically, however both tracks are tied together by a certain harmonic sensibility. This sort of dramaturgical interconnectedness of varied musical materials is the thread that runs through »Music for Shared Rooms«. A droney piece for string instruments like »Sehnsucht« is followed by a trip-hop beat, before »Schock« lives up to its title with skittering beats and piercing high frequencies. The differences between the pieces may be striking, but the progression from one to the other is subtle. It goes on like this through different moods and tempos. There’s soothing-yet-eerie piano pieces like the »Für Elise«-inspired »Der Lärmkrieg«, gentle house grooves, joyful synthesizer excursions and, finally, »Die Erde ist mir fremd geworden«, a collage of abstract textures and concrete sounds.

All these pieces create distinct situations through the juxtaposition of diverse musical elements, but are also bound together by a single vision. Writing music for theatre pieces or film requires a composer and his pieces to engage with people and their movements in space, which is exactly what Fleischmann offers on this record. He breaks down the fourth wall and invites his listeners into his world, a wide-ranging musical panorama. »Music for Shared Rooms« is indeed not an album in the conventional sense of the word, but more like a photo album in which each page opens up a new space to get lost in; recreates different scenes in which you can immerse yourself. These are shared rooms indeed.