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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Martin Stürtzer Relativity (2022)

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Mainly consisting of sequences of ambient beats that are perfect to drift in our thoughts

1 Trisolar 9:04

2 Relativity 12:46

3 Neutron Star 6:42

4 Supernova Requiem 9:14

5 Cosmic Cataclysm 8:42

6 Nova Outburst 11:12

7 Gravitational Lensing 10:12

8 Galaxy Filament 8:48

(DDL 76:49) (V.F.)

(Ambient Berlin School)

Martin Stürtzer had a quite productive year in 2022 with 6 albums, a 7th one is expected on Synphaera Music with Microgravity, in addition to numerous concerts given on different video platforms, including his last performance realized at Planetarium Bochum last December 30 which is now also available on YouTube. (Click on this link to see this concert). Since Far Beyond the Stars, the Wuppertal musician has built up a solid reputation in the art of crafting a panoply of ambient rhythms that bounce and throb in a wonderful rubbery jelly. And most RELATIVITY's beats have that delicious softness that delights the senses with meshes of rhythm lines that crisscross and/or beat in parallel, offering delicious electronic music (EM) propelled by meditative rhythm sequences.

A long, droning breath, about 50 seconds long and recurring throughout the album, is the source of this herd of sequenced keys that swirl in ascending loops in the opening of Trisolar. The movement moves from ear to ear, from speaker to the other one, like the flight of a helicopter trying to outrun enemy fires. Another rhythm sequence establishes its strategy with small steps which are running while gamboling, mostly waiting for that rubbery pulsing bassline that redirects the beat into a kind of lunar downtempo. Beats are added as waves of synth caress our ears, while still are flickering these circular rhythmic movements of the opening. Trisolar sets the tone for another good album by Martin Stürtzer that revisits the principles of a Berlin School and of its cosmic ambiences. RELATIVITY thus proposes a panoply of rhythms pushed by a sequencer in multiline mode, making our fingers and neurons dance more often than our feet relax in a context where the Dark Ambient style resists the assaults of psybient. After a layer of astral voices, the title track unveils itself with a heavy movement of a creeping bass shadow. The amphibian appearance of the movement releases long cadenced drones by wide and resonant movements of bass sequences of which the echoes project an aura of Luciferian mystery. A line of sequenced arpeggios twirls around with a vague melodic vision, zigzagging as it shimmers its arpeggios that sometimes jump around and then tend to go a bit out of control. With a delicate rhythm that is made up of sequences that dance like Bambi's feet on a frozen pond, Neuron Star makes hear a chime of sequenced arpeggios bouncing over the slow upward beats of a sequenced bass line. The rhythm is thus stealthy, secret like wolf steps circling in a structure that is both slow and more animated when the sequencer deploys a velocity that appears in waves. The synthesizer elaborates some brief evanescent harmonies that come and go, also by waves, in a structure more meditative than lively. In an evolution of a three-phase rhythm, Supernova Requiem first proposes a lively rhythm which cuts out long zigzags. These slaloms rise and fall between the bass pulsations as well as in the shadow of its mirror effect sculpted by a line of arpeggios that twirls with less velocity. More melodic, this line also has its double which remains more in the background. A very good electronic rhythm which reminds me the structures of Edgar Froese at the time of Pinnacles and Stuntman.

We find some of this essence in Nova Outburst which is cast in the same style with a good mesh between two sequenced rhythm lines of which the homogeneity is differentiated by the tone and a slight fluctuation in the rubbery bounces. Its rhythm is perhaps less fluid but remains catchy with an upward movement propelled by a good bass line. The synth injects a slightly dark texture with shadows that threaten with their creepy buzzes. Cosmic Cataclysm is a purely atmospheric track with synth waves drifting through a handful of clattering industrial materials. The synth waves progress with a certain emotionality in their upward movements, stimulating a listening experience that is much more pleasant with the cloud of metallic noises that surround the atmospheres of RELATIVITY's only atmospheric track. Although Gravitational Lensing doesn't shake our neurons with its slow cadenced procession that progresses under an armada of synth waves painted in the colors of darkness. This track which indeed flirts with Dark Ambient offers in return a delicious sequenced procession which reminds the movements of Klaus Schulze at the time of Body Love. A very beautiful track! Galaxy Filament ends RELATIVITY with this structure of resonant cadenced shadows which crawls while rumbling. Its vampiric movement, structured on almost 4 elastic beats, is supported by another linear movement that beats in a minimalist way, constituting the ghostly armature of these beats that shake arpeggio lines twirling in a universe where the psybient flirts with grace in the secrets of Dark Ambient.

With a fascinating softness that flirts with a rhythmic poetry, RELATIVITY brings nothing new to Martin Stürtzer's universe. Mainly consisting of sequences of ambient rhythms, it is a beautiful album to drift in our thoughts, to meditate, to read and even to sleep. An album which is at the height of expectations we can have towards the German musician-synthesist, and which follows the rhythmic tangent imposed by the vinyl Epsilon Eridani, in particular its A side.

Sylvain Lupari (January 1st, 2023) *****

Available at Martin Stürtzer Bandcamp

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

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