ELECTRIC MUD: Quiet Days on Earth (2020)
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
“This is quite a stunning album with 15 jewels constantly evolving from dark ambient to Space rock and so on...”
1 Aurora Moon 7:03
2 Silhouettes Floating Down a Rain-Slicked Street 5:17
3 Mer De Glace 2:05
4. Quiet Days on Earth 7:21
5 Wading Through the Waters of Time 5:32
6 The Echoes of Acheron 5:11
7 The Loneliness of the Somnambulist 6:37
8 Durance 3:45
9 The Space Between the Shadows 6:00
10 Adventures in a Liquid World 7:14
11 The Blinding Absence of Light 4:34
12 Eyes Watching Skies 3:54
13 Foggy Postcard from a Barren Land 5:58
14 Into the Great Unknown 4:30
15 Sleeping Under a Green Desert Tree 4:03
(CD/DDL 79:04) (V.F.)
It is with a piano slowly moving up the road of its ambiences that Aurora Moon delicately puts its notes which were already beginning to slide on bluish breezes. If the piano is excited by the presence of thunders, it's different with a guitar that rolls its loops in a harmony of which the steamed blues is collected on sober percussions. The audio quality is amazing! So much so that in acoustic moments, sometimes even electric for the guitar, I have the impression that the musicians are with me in my listening room. It's a very intimate feeling and it brings us closer to the music. The reflection of the guitar on this track plays with its echoes while the music takes on a surge of intensity to create this slow tempo that makes us dream of the stars. In her 3rd musical test, Aurora Moon crosses a slightly rock folk style in a style that sounds funnily like Camel. Where am I? In the lands of Electric Mud to discover an amazing album that has nothing to do with EM, but which flirts with it just enough for me to tell you a little about it. In fact, we can speak of a mixture of electronic folklore a la Sensitive Chaos with minimalist odes of Brian Eno in a music where Mike Oldfield, the very old Pink Floyd, like Camel and Tangerine Dream, are exchanging the English folklore of The Strawbs. The Echoes of Acheron being a superb example. It's both heavy and very melodious, but nothing can identify a particular style since each title is like a ritornello which is replaced after 2 or 3 appearances in the same space-time. A bit like Aurora Moon which had 3 metamorphoses before its finale. But you can easily hear rock, folk and EM in the same title.
But who are Electric Mud? In fact, it's a German duo consisting of Hagen Bretschneider, a bassist, and keyboardist Nico Walser. This duo that is on the highroads of music since 2015 and QUIET DAYS ON EARTH is a 4th album which thumbs its nose at the thunderous atmospheres of The Deconstruction of Light. It should be specified, since the distance which separates these two albums is equivalent to a trip to the Moon by bike! This new album offers a nice range of 15 tracks over 90 minutes of music strangely rooted in folk elements courting from near or far the EM field, such as Space-Rock or just rock with an essence of Robert Fripp, such as in Adventures in a Liquid World. Moreover, this title, with The Blinding Absence of Light, are good winks to those who precisely liked the ambiences of industrial post-rock which floated on this 3rd album. In short, it's quite a cocktail which, I am sure, is within the reach of all ears, as each title seems to weave with the threads of our souls. Are we listening to this with friends around a fire? And why not! Just take the delicious opening of Silhouettes Floating Down a Rain-Slicked Street, which reminds me so much of a melody from Eddie Jobson's Theme of Secrets album, to explore the idle tenderness of a guitar / piano duel. Then comes a sequence that molds to the final of this duel. Its presence freezes steps surveying a country where we play the violin on winter evenings to accompany Tangerine Dream at the turn of an album like Ricochet. Once the intensity is reached, the music is reborn with chimes and musical lights in a tender moment when a nursery rhyme kept in secret makes a violin moan before this track becomes a folk rock that would be ideal for a commercial from a phone company. I got chills by the dozen on that track. Into the Great Unknown also has a poignant drama evolution for a crying movie. The flutes in this title also give chills. Was I talking to you about a nursery rhyme? Mer De Glace is Hagrid's lullaby. The acoustics are very present in this album and originate the opening of the title track where the layers of acoustic guitar clings to a rhythm without form but conceived on heavy steps turning in circles in front of such a rich sound fauna. We like? We will certainly like a track like Durance and its shimmering carousel in a down-tempo sauced in the rock of its drums.
Each title evolving by layers or by unsubscribed suites of a simple device that we are as surprised as pampered by each direction that the music and its atmospheres take. Like this Camel blues which abrogates Quiet Days on Earth in a finale where Andrew Latimer and Mike Oldfield match their ideas. The nice cosmic rock of The Space Between the Shadows, as well as the very enigmatic Eyes Watching Skies, which is more electronic with such a sentimental ending, are of the same stature. Wading Through the Waters of Time generates a mortuary ambience. A funeral march for a stranger in the world of the forgotten! The Loneliness of the Somnambulist is structured on a long thread filled with reverberations and effects of guitar loops on a quilted rhythm of heaviness. After an opening at the gates of overwhelming heaviness, Foggy Postcard from a Barren Land carries its message of an arid land in a second part woven in a bitter melancholy. A good acoustic and electric mix rigged by a nice Mellotron. You will notice that in some places in QUIET DAYS ON EARTH there is a retro tone that fools our listening. And like Aurora Moon, Sleeping Under a Green Desert Tree plunges us into one of those evolving structures where the opening will not recognize its ending. Another track which moves a lot for 4 minutes and which already makes us regret that this astonishing album filled with charms and surprises is already finished. But as my grandson Justin often tells me; it's okay grandpa, you can listen to it again! It is so beautiful ...
Sylvain Lupari (December 3rd, 2020) *****
Available at Electric Mud Bandcamp