The sale item for this week is Marcus Reuter’s “Digitalis,” priced at an incredibly low $4.99 through January 12th.
Based in Germany, Markus Reuter is a member of Europa String Choir, an instrumental group whose recent work has been released on Robert Fripp’s DGM label. His two previous works in the ambient genre (as 1/2 of Centrozoon, and with Ian Boddy) were released on Boddy’s DiN label, and both items have been very popular items at the Hypnos Online Store.
Markus’s instrument is the Warr Guitar, a tap-style 8-stringed instrument which is played less like a true “guitar” and more like a Chapman Stick. The sound, especially on Digitalis, goes through heavy electronic processing, with the result that (like fellow Hypnos label guitarists Jeff Pearce and David Tollefson) he ends up with a very un-guitar-like sound, but with a “feel” and style of playing that sets it apart from keyboard-played electronics. DIGITALIS has a fairly bright and vivid sound, as compared to the smooth and mellow tones of Pearce, or the heavier, sometimes challenging sound of Tollefson. Still, the end result is abstract and definitely “ambient.”
“Markus Reuter plays the touch guitar and benefits from the different approach afforded by an instrument that does not resemble the typical tools (i.e. synthesizers) used to produce our community’s wealth of musical releases. Reuter could surely market his album Digitalis as a demo disc of the latest in sound manipulation and processing gear, but his vision as an artist in ambient sound is clearly evident and Digitalis rises above our too often technology driven medium.
Recorded essentially in real-time, Digitalis is a churning and drifting swirl of interesting harmonics and subtle moods realized through the vision and character of an insightful musician. The idea of layering the sounds of a guitar by means of a long delay is about as old as our modern concept of ambient music. On Digitalis, Reuter stretches the parameters of his tools and the depth of the genre and aspires to more than he inherited. On one hand, Digitalis does represent Reuter’s mastery of the gear that loops, shifts, delays, flanges and filters a sound source. However, his involvement with the music goes deeper than just twidling knobs. Talent is the invisible force behind this gentle and amorphus music – acting like a soft breeze on the direction of mountain mist.”
–Star’s End Radio host Chuck VanZyl
“Markus Reuter is known for his work with Ian Boddy and the Europa String Choir; his Digitalis marks an excursion into abstract ambient noise. This record is very dissonant — or, like Claude Debussy, Reuter really pushes the envelope on consonance as it relates to the melodic and harmonic relationship within the context of a respective piece. Reuter’s music is marked by dissonant melodic runs and streaks through whole-tone scales and other modes that are quite hard on the ears. Perhaps the strangeness of this recording has something to do with the apparatus that he’s using to make the recording, which is described as a tap-style eight-stringed guitar-like instrument, which is played less like a true guitar and more like a Chapman Stick. The tracks on Digitalis seemingly run together with little or no comprehensible order, almost as if they were completely improvised. In a lot of ways, this recording may remind listeners of some of Sun Ra’s work, but there is more dissonance and less use of silence as a compositional tool. From an experimental and stylistic perspective, this recording is a gem.”
–All Music Guide
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