Collaboration between two German artists on the Nextera label, which is perhaps
best known for the recent Lustmord and Oophoi releases.
REVIEW FOR WWW.FREEMUSIC.CZ by Igor Nováček (translated by Libor Haler)
Mathias Grassow, one of the main representatives of the continental ambient movement, with his friend Thomas Weiss have recorded an album dealing with the human conscience. This beautiful, intelligent record will be released on the Prague independent label Nextera.
The German musician Mathias Grassow is one of the great stars of the continental ambient scene. In his youth, he studied guitar, key instruments and flute, then started to be involved in new age electronic music. The first album has been released as late as early 1990s - the recordings show a distinct experimental approach which, combined with spheric ambient and owing to the excellen album In Search of Sanity, had made Grassow a new big figure on the ever-growing ambient-electronic scene.
Since then, Grassow has made a series of albums including collaborations with several other representatives of the genre such as Klaus Wiese, Amir Baghiri, Rüdiger Gleisberg (as Nostalgia) or in projects such as Anam Cara (with Wolfgang Barkowski), KarmaCosmic (with Carsten Agthe and Rüdiger Gleisberg) and the "supergroup" Nebula (apart from himself and Wiese featuring numerous Italian ambient musicians, e.g. Oöphoi and Tau Ceti). Most of these recordings rank among the best in the genre. Grassow melts the indescribable beauty od nature with deep labyrints of the human spirit, creating soulful imaginary structures, where abstraction intertwines with oriental motifs and unobtrusive ritual rhythmics.
On his latest album, he has joined forces with Thomas Weiss to attempt a musical expression of the eternal topic of human conscience. Four long tracks leave space to freely morphing soundwaves, reflecting both positive spiritual power as well as somewhat murky moods. In the initial Unscaled Enigma with the almost palpable character of tide, Grassow and Weiss create the impression of absolute peace and harmony by mingling two main sound motifs (as though these were significantly discernable original sources of sound - the organs and the human voice).
The next track, Along the Border, is marked by inner unrest and its sinister athmosphere can be percieved as if both artists were to guide us to the war-torn areas of the Middle East. In Foresight (credits for sound to Klaus Wiese and Ted de Jong), one can distantly hear Grassow's rhythmic production (light rhythmical structures, oriental voices). All of what was mentioned then merges into a vast sound ocean in the final, half-an-hour track Deceitful Expectation, definitely the most impenetrable and abstract track of the album.
The album Conscience as a whole unambiguously shows the message of Grass' whole oevre, with no place for autotelic exhibition or egoistic sneer - it is a well of deep humility and belief in the fulfilment of the divine nature of man. If you find my closing words too impassioned, please give it a second thought while listening to the album. I think you will agree then.