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Motzer, Tim & Reuter, Markus: Descending

Descending is the first collaboration between American and German based multi-instrumentalists Tim Motzer and Markus Reuter. The two met a few years back when Motzer was on tour in Munich and shortly afterward the seeds were being sown for this improvised collection of ambient music.

While the multi-layered musical landscapes employed by the duo may have something in common with guitarist Robert Fripp's method of using digital technology to create loops of improvised soundscapes, Motzer and Reuter seem to be forging their own path here. Not to mention their sound is fleshed out considerably by the additional contributions of Theo Travis on flute, the session friendly Pat Mastelotto on traps and buttons, Doug Hirlinger on cymbals and metals, and the twelve string pedal steel work of legendary guitarist BJ Cole.

Beginning with the beautifully eloquent and languid opening of "1200 Sundays", which in addition to featuring some really splendid layered atmospherics, also makes use of a splattering of sparse electronic percussion. However, it's on the second track "Emanuella" that the duo really puts all their cards on the table. Clocking in at just less than thirteen minutes this composition is a perfect illustration of how these two musicians are successfully able to put their collaborative skills to work, and the result is a delightfully dreamy, and multi textured track, that also takes full advantage of Masteleotto's subtle, percussive accents. The ethereal melodies and deeply moving atmospheres continue to permeate throughout "We Were" and "Sound Of The Sun", with the latter track in particular highlighted by Cole's understated but very effective contributions. Cole is also featured prominently on the closing number, the title track, which in keeping with the methods employed throughout Descending features liberal amounts of Motzer and Reuter's layered, otherworldly textures and soundscapes.

On the surface it may appear that the contributions from the guest musicians are minimal or even somewhat insignificant, especially in Theo Travis' case where you'll really have to fine tune your ears a bit to detect his delicate flute work on "1200 Sundays". It might require a few listens from beginning to end to really appreciate the vital role they play in further developing what is already a pretty rich and dense tapestry of sound. Descending might not be everyone's cup of tea, however if you're someone who appreciates the sublime nature of beautifully crafted ambient music, then this is a disc that you're definitely going to want to add to your collection.

Track Listing
1) 1200 Sundays
2) Emanuella
3) We Were
4) Sound Of The Sun
5) Ritual Observance
6) Descending

Added: November 8th 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score:
Related Link: 1K Recordings
Hits: 1616
Language: english

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Motzer, Tim & Reuter, Markus: Descending
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-11-08 16:55:11
My Score:

Descending is the debut collaboration between Tim Motzer, who has recorded with a wide variety of artists such as David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman and Jaki Liebezeit (CAN) and touch guitarist, composer and producer Markus Reuter (Tuner, Centrozoon). Beginning as an ambient duo project, the pairing began to invite other musicians in to work on their music, with flautist Theo Travis, steel guitar player BJ Cole, King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto and Doug Hirlinger playing cymbals and metals, all contributing to the finished album.

The results are at times quite spell binding, but in other moments just a little too bleak to make a lasting impact. There's no questioning the skilful compositions and arrangements that have been pain stakingly constructed on Descending, with a mixture of ambient sounds and noises combining with the organic instrumentation to make music that is more story telling than almost any lyrics could hope to be. As with most albums in this genre, this is deep, dark, dense stuff that offers little in the way of chinks of lights glistening through the gloom. However in the correct circumstances, the effect can actually be most startling, with all the songs encouraging you to almost lean into the music to fully understand what is going on in the composer's mind.

Light relief it most certainly is not, instead the stark soundscapes almost challenge you to pay the maximum attention and if you are in the right frame of mind, the eerie sounds are completely captivating.

It would be wrong of me to suggest that this is music for all occasions, but if you are in the mood for something intensely thought provoking and sedate, but in a way that actually wakes you up, rather than helps you drift off to sleep, then Descending will be something well worth losing yourself in.



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