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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Martin Stürtzer Circular Oscillations (2023)

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

A Berlin School album at the height of what Stürtzer is used to offering us

1 Circular Oscillations 9:38

2 Underwater Underworld 5:20

3 Forest Dome 6:20

4 Harmonic Motion 7:52

5 Bioluminescence 6:08

6 Phase Space 6:23

(CD/LP/DDL 41:41) (V.F.)

(Ambient Berlin School)

I'm trying to eliminate from my long list of electronic music (EM) reviews those artists who release more than one album a year. Sensing this desire, Martin Stürtzer points out that CIRCULAR OSCILLATIONS is in a different category, since the music is offered in both CD and vinyl versions, hence its running time which flirts with the 42-minute barrier. So, I'm going to be a little more concise in this review, where the musician-synthesist from Wuppertal in Germany concentrates solely on the movements of sequences inspired by the Berlin School. We're very close to the frontiers of Cosmic Echo, released by Synphaera Music just a few months ago, with a panoply of ambient rhythms, except for the dynamic Phase Space, that come and go in ever-ascending impulses. Martin Stürtzer plays with the timbres of the sequencer, fusing more organic, like chirping tones, with more melodic colors in these mostly polyrhythmically conceived structures. In particular, the entire music is sequence-driven. We hear very little synth and/or keyboard, whose roles are mainly to throw in a few well-placed effects, layers of mist and/or bits of evanescent melody.

And it all kicks off with the ascending rhythm of the title-track. The sequences skim the rhythmic floor with the tips of their notes, giving the impression of floating in their rhythmic chord hops. The result is a slightly rubbery texture with a feeling of harmonic leaping in the sequencer's flow. Seductive intonations can be heard in this ascension tinted with a melodic vision. The movement gains in intensity with sequences that flicker with greater velocity around the 6-minute mark. Organic elements sparkle all around, adding depth and magnetism to Circular Oscillations. Underwater Underworld follows with a floating Berlin School rhythm. The gait is slightly zigzagging, like a long filament of strobes stretching towards infinity. Throughout CIRCULAR OSCILLATIONS, the sequences are in multi-line mode, sculpting rhythms that juxtapose and/or interweave in slow choreographies conducive to a kind of poetic somnolence. Another sequencer line gives life to a slightly bouncier structure. There's a lovely nuance to this rhythm, of which the harmonic dimension is accentuated by the keyboard, and then by the synth which weaves circular waves that melt into this Cosmos, unique to Martin Stürtzer's musical definitions, just as jellyfish melt into their oceanic setting. Forest Dome follows with static rhythm lines that ebb and flow and intersect with intonations in their harmonic colors that at times are symbiotic with the harmonies of the arpeggios. Resonant rubber effects and cadenced chirps set the scene. The introduction to Harmonic Motion lives on a swarm of sequenced arpeggios that swirl around until they are towed by an ascending line of sequences in a lower key. The synth launches short lines of melody that blend into the track's universe. They are added as soon as the rhythm loses its bearings in this reinvented Cosmos. Bioluminescence follows with a circular structure. The rhythm is quiet with a tonal gradation in the sequencer flow, blending rhythm and harmony over the same distance. Phase Space offers the most dominant rhythmic structure on this LP/CD. The sequencer pounds out a steady beat with a shadow of organic chirps and ectoplasmic resonances in its structure.

CIRCULAR OSCILLATIONS doesn't really add anything new to Martin Stürtzer's universe. It's good, floating Berlin School with rhythms designed to magnetize the senses. If you like the Berlin School genre tinted with cosmic ambiences in the style of Cosmic Echo, this new album will please you to the very last sound of its final groove. In short, an album worthy of the greatness Martin Stürtzer is accustomed to offering us!

Sylvain Lupari (September 21st, 2023) *****

Available at Martin Stürtzer Bandcamp

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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