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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Fairy Marsh Districts (2010)

Updated: Nov 26, 2021

Fairy Marsh Districts is to be discovered and tamed on the tip of your ears

1 Juffer Vey's Minnesong 4:36

2 Spring-Water-Fall 4:38

3 Fairies & Friaries 5:29

4 Damsel's Dive 12:31

5 Nun Exclusive 3:37

6 Marsh Mellow Dea/N MArtins Gans/Z Oder Gar Nicht/S Destotrotz 4:02

7 Help, Murder, Help 6:37

8 Lunatic Asylum 4:39

(DDL 46:08) (V.F.)

(Post-Rock, Theatrical EM)

As you may have guessed; I have a huge soft spot and a strong attraction for the music of Picture Palace Music. As far as I'm concerned, Thorsten "Q" Quaeschning is a breath of fresh air that invigorates the sometimes too placid world of Tangerine Dream, while giving it a 4th wind when Edgar Froese cuts him some slack. In fact, listening to PPM is like taking an astral journey to the mythical European countryside where witchcraft, alchemy and magic of all colors roamed the long corridors of medieval woods and forests. Quaeschning has been composing music with strong theatrical tendencies that whip up our imagination since the release of Somnambulistic Tunes in 2007, while always wrapping his music in very expressive patterns. FAIRY MARSH DISTRICTS (Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats) is another ode to the perversity of time travel, where drama mocks monastery heresies.

Superb and heavily inspired by medieval tales Juffer Vey's Minnesong debuts this 10th PPM album with a romantic acoustic guitar that a crowd teller strums before his audience in the public markets. A mellotron with hazy melancholic violin strings envelops its first chords, taking Juffer Vey's Minnesong out of our baroque dreams and into the Sahara with fine tabla drums. From then on, the musical paradoxes clash with the appearance of a sequence that nervously debuts, accompanied by electronic percussions that snap like the tail of a whip under the aegis of a clearer mellotron. From a silky nursery rhyme of the medieval public markets, the track turns into a superb electronic piece where the nervous rhythm hardly hides its first influences. And so unfolds the strange musical universe of Thorsten "Q" Quaeschning. Between his visions of an ancestral world, where horses roamed the green virgin plains under the shadows of the dark clouds, and his synthesized knights who roam a universe with a thousand contemporary sounds, the man carves out a place for himself between dream, illusion and reality. Spring-Water-Fall follows with fine xylophone-tone arpeggios that fall like a melodious suspended rain. A strange shower surrounded by choirs, veiled layers and discreet cymbals that gradually evaporate leaving an enchanting clearing where a strange mystical aura bathes with celestial solos that ululate among heterogeneous sounds, paving the way for Fairies & Fairies and its jerky rhythm that dances with chords of a gypsy guitar and under the discreet synth breaths. A minimalist rhythm where the keys of a sequencer stagger and undulate, like ripples, under the warm vocal breaths of gothic mermaids. It's in this quietude of a world full of magic illusions that this 1st part of FAIRY MARSH DISTRICTS (Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats) ends.

Damsel's Dive opens the 2nd part with percussions bursting and fragmenting an already nervous rhythm, supported by guitar chords and a sequencer with stealthy fluttering lines, heading towards a superb refrain that flies over an adjacent structure animated by a sweet bewitched madness that is not without recalling the splendid Añoranza from Curicculum Vitae 1. Around the 4th minute, the drums break the rhythm which plunges into a more psychedelic approach with a furious guitar which makes convulsing its relentless chords. The synth unleashes a legion of thin streaks screaming like hungry witches. Title as strange as violent, Damsel's Dive will require more than one listening before seizing all its subtlety and its smoothness on a hard and frenetic rhythm pierced of soft ethereal phases. A bomb which deviates on the very beautiful and romantic Nun Exclusive and its dreamy soft violin which drops its fine enchanting solos, overhanging a discrete piano and a secret acoustic guitar. Equally intriguing, Marsh Mellow Dea/N MArtins Gans/Z Oder Gar Nicht/S Destotrotz is built around a universe of pulsations. Light beats pulse by a sequencer with multiple lines of anarchic percussions, joining other percussions of typing styles that recall the electronic sounds of Tangerine Dream, Johannes Schmoelling period. The more the track progresses, the less we can ignore this influence, as the new sequences and pulsations plunge us into the periods of Flashpoint and Exit. Help, Murder, Help falls heavily with a powerful and heavy musical structure where guitars and drums merge on a track more Heavy Metal than electronic, even if heavy layers of a dark and gloomy synth fly over it. A title which means everything, and which breathes all its ferocity. Lunatic Asylum plunges us into the corrosive universe of PPM with a rhythm as loud as slow, imprinted with heavy and sinuous layers of a morphic synth that spreads its feelings of rejection. An intense track that pushes us to introspection where the dark melancholy mixes with the sweet frustration of a latent bipolarity, a bit like everything that surrounds the enigmatic works of Picture Palace Music.

Like each of the German band's works, FAIRY MARSH DISTRICTS (Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats) gets discovered on the tip of your ears. Once the first listenings are over, one ends up discovering the whole enchanting musical universe of this project of Mister Q. I would surprise you if I told you that this is a superb opus? An Internet friend, whom I respect enormously, explained to me that a masterpiece reveals itself through the years. It's true and it's very logical. It's way too early to say that Quaeschning is the new genius of a hybrid musical niche; electro-rock-theatrical. I would simply say that it is excellent.

Sylvain Lupari (September 30th, 2010) ****½*

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