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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Martin Stürtzer Epsilon Eridani (2022)

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Fans will not be disappointed with an album divided between Dark Ambient and Berlin School

1 Celestial Sphere 10:10

2 Doppler Shift 10:39

3 Chromospheric Activity 20:06

(Vinyl/DDL 40:55) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient, Berlin School)

Electronic music (EM) does not escape this new wave that is sweeping the music industry; the return of vinyl albums. There is a resurgence at this level, notably with the label DiN and independent artists, let's think about the excellent Flying From Berlin to Paris by Kurtz Mindfields. And it's Martin Stürtzer's turn to propose a new album in vinyl format. Composed in 2021, EPSILON ERIDANI is proposed in vinyl and in download in an optimal mastering, to obtain the best possible sound, realized by Peter Anderson of the Raison d'Être label. Like the good old vinyl of the time, each side includes about 20 minutes divided between Berlin School, for the A side, and dark ambient music full of atmospheric soundscapes and analog modulations for the other side of the vinyl.

After an atmospheric opening of about 100 seconds, Celestial Sphere offers an ambient rhythm with a sequencer that makes a line of arpeggios dancing in suspension and whose soft tempered undulations make this rhythm, at first sight as delicate as a Bambi walking on a frozen pond, meander into an ascending structure. Other floating arpeggios are grafted onto this minimalist movement, which finds its richness in the expanse of a bass layer and its dull but punctuated outbursts. The tonal bloom is based on a buzzing layer and the brightness of the different tones of the arpeggios which come to twirl there. Wuppertal based musician-synthesist continuously adds arpeggios to slightly modify the rhythmic framework that shakes its slow spasms like a big well-feed boa. The synth lets undulating lines drifting in a glittering firmament where the arpeggios and the bass sequences become inert stars that are trapped in a zone of attraction, intertwining their destiny in a corridor whose silence is fooled by the rubbery resonance of its jumping chords. Doppler Shift offers an opening, also lasting a hundred seconds, filled with interstellar particles swirling in a spiral of dark winds. The bass layer is already sighing here, pushing the sequencer to sculpt a livelier rhythm line whose oscillatory speed is chopped up by jumping keys that fall curtly. The result is a spasmodic rhythmic structure that hops over the resonance and slithering movements of a bass layer that hums a ghostly melody that makes its bed in the ear. The effect provides a superb contrast between the creeping, somewhat groovy slowness of the bass versus the dynamism of the sequencer.

B side is entirely occupied by Chromospheric Activity. This interstellar phenomenon is accurately depicted through the 20 minutes of this long atmospheric track where the synth layers agglutinate and pile up in a slow astral ballet. The sound ceiling is made of buzzing layers. They hum and vibrate in an industrial vision, further amplifying the intensity in the synth layers colors that come and go like the slow eruptions of chromospheric activity around a star that is viewed from far away. Chromospheric Activity is divided into two phases. If its first 10 minutes flirt with an almost dreamlike texture of atmospheric music, it's very different when the big buzzing of a spacecraft attacks our ears around the 10th minute. From then on, this long track becomes a very Dark Ambient one filled with sonic drones, corrosive reverberations and chthonian voices. If the faint synth layers glow with an acrylic blue, the buzzing mass of sounds keeps their iridescent reflections in an abysmal blackness that barely allows us to hear their last breathing prints. This is big Dark Ambient imagined in one of the black holes of Cosmos. And the effect is even more striking on speakers and a good subwoofer.

Fans of Martin Stürtzer will not be disappointed with EPSILON ERIDANI! We find the usual styles and signature of the German musician-synthesist who is as much at ease in his Berlin School style, which he mixes quite well with Ambient Dub, as in his long odysseys of atmospheric music always conceived on different levels of intensity. And even if he targets two different clienteles, it is very likely that they will be attracted by the two musical genres offered in this new album which you can purchase in vinyl and in download only.

Sylvain Lupari (August 2nd, 2022) ***¾**

Available at Martin Stürtzer Bandcamp

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