THORSTEN QUAESCHNING: AMA (2021)
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
“Thorsten Q has this gift to make music always a little more wonderful”
1 Der Leuchturm in der schwarzen Strömung 14:20
2 Blauer Horizont, blaues Meer 5:25
3 Jetzt und hier 8:27
4 Nieselregentropfen 11:46
5 Den ganzen Tag: Schönwetterwolken 6:16
6 Nachttauchgang am "Verheirateten Felsen" 15:07
7 Aus der Stille in das 14:34
(CD/DDL 76:01) (V.F.)
(Post Prog E-Rock)
There is no project that cannot compete with the creativity of Thorsten Quaeschning! The brilliant German musician may have a thousand projects in mind, but he is always ready for the next one. Like this AMA! Composed for a contemporary dance theater production, the music is meant to follow the choreography of Yoriko Maeno. An ama is a Japanese woman diver who goes snorkeling to collect pearls. A Japanese culture that has existed for nearly 4000 years, it was also used to feed villages and families. Climate change, the massive disinterest of young Japanese women and the pollution of the oceans have considerably harmed the growth of this activity. The music of the only legitimate member of Tangerine Dream addresses the relationship between nature and man. One reads the story and expects a dreamy music with graceful and fluid movements of lyrical choreography...This is not knowing Mister Q!
A long lament of riffs coupled with a wave of sound noises adorn the tenebrous introduction of Der Leuchturm in der schwarzen Strömung. Tenebrous because the effect of thunderous roar and the wrath of Mephistopheles can as well occupy this opening where weak tinkling and arcade game effects are added, in order to confuse our perception versus these almost 3 minutes of otherworldly elements to stuff our ears. A rhythm emerges near the 150th second. Percussions and sequencer structure an approach at the same time electronic and rock in a crazy passage which finds a certain cohesion after the 4th minute. The sequencer makes dribbling its jumping keys while the percussions are in mode rock which leads us to a disturbing passage around the 5th minute. Percussive effects add to the charms of the rhythmic structure that supports a ghostly melody that comes and goes with its elastic band tied around the body. We have just passed the 6-minute mark and already Der Leuchturm in der schwarzen Strömung makes a 3rd mutation. And it is necessary to get used to it since the long structures of AMA live through numerous permutations. Always wild, the rhythm spits out its dribbled keys on a solid bass line, while the octopus on the drums has had another arm grafted to hammer out a rhythm that never ceases to display a snarling intensity. Moreover the fury of these 3 elements does not give up since they find themselves alone for more than 60 seconds to pepper our ears with a rhythm that is out of the ordinary. A rhythm that hears the synth, or maybe the guitar, covering it with snoring pads in another form of noises. We are in another dimension! In the head of Thorsten Quaeschning where nothing is like elsewhere. The sounds of the waves transpose the finale of the title to the opening of Blauer Horizont, blaues Meer where a movement of alternating jumps of the sequencer carves an intensely nervous static rhythm. And some 30 seconds later, a form of post-pop ballad takes over our ears with powerful resonant percussions that torment a layer of dreamy voices while supporting a beautiful melody to say the least. In the form as in the content, it remains an unusual music with stars that twinkle in a good harmonious vision. It reminds me of some parts of Madcap's Flaming Duty, an album by Tangerine Dream in 2007. Jetzt und hier features an atmospheric introduction with Japanese percussive elements fizzing underneath synth/guitar blades, creating the sonic illusion of pearls glistening in the ocean floor. The music remains static with a form of intensity that grafts itself to the ambiences, while the rhythm reveals itself late, around the 6th minute, structuring a techno effect with plucks of Asian string instruments whose percussive effect rolls against the beat.
A warm synth layer opens Nieselregentropfen, like a warm sunbeam on the beaches of the Kii peninsula. This long track offers us a slow opening filled with variegated sounds, sound signals, distortion effects, reverberations and echoes whose accumulation ends up giving a texture that becomes more and more intense as percussive elements get grafted. The track remains static, although it reaches a passionate level around the 6th minute. What is this structure made of? Passion, I think. A passion for sounds and to mix them in a way that creates an incredible texture that gives you a thrill. A passion that swells out of proportion until it reaches a level of intensity that takes our breath away in a finale where Thorsten's guitar roars like in those moments of insane madness in the repertoire of Picture Palace Music. Personally, I've never heard something like this, a real form of anti-music, coming at me with such impact. Composed with Jürgen Maeno, Den ganzen Tag: Schönwetterwolken is full of the freshness of PPM's theatrical post-rock with a progressive rock vision sewn by an aggressive guitar riff, good drums and a creative sequencer that carves a good big rock more electric than electronic. The guitar and the synth are very melodic on this track which breaks admirably well the ambiences of AMA. Longest track of this album, Nachttauchgang am "Verheirateten Felsen" is also the most complex one with its structure of indefinite rhythm where a very good mellotron nests. The track becomes more musical around its 6th minute with bursts of passion that cling to unexpected orchestrations. But I can well imagine the choreography, one should always remember what the music is for, of this heavy, ambient track full of passionate tenderness. The guitar riffs get entangled around the 9th minute, taking Nachttauchgang am "Verheirateten Felsen" into an emotional rage that hurts your arms, so much the shivers want to get rid of your arm-hairs. An incredible moment of intensity that could make a rock cry! The riffs run out as the sequencer stretches a line of keys rolling in tighter and tighter circles. Thus, we reach Aus der Stille in das. And like those who know Thorsten Quaeschning's signature will not be surprised to hear a music floating between two worlds in a divine oceanic dive where the pearls sparkle like these notes thrown by a keyboard that has this cursed mania to make tears spring up when we think we have none of those. A superb monument which makes me say that this Thorsten has this gift to make music always a little more wonderful. To be classified as a must-have.
Sylvain Lupari (November 8th, 2021) *****
Available at Thorsten Quaeschning Bandcamp