Those of us blessed (or, from another perspective, cursed) with a reasonably all-consuming fascination with electronic music will be familiar with those albums that are—while ultimately rewarding ventures—a bit of an effort to get into. You know they are with merit and know you should be enjoying them (and eventually you usually do), but it still feels like a chore to sit down and listen to them from start to finish. Anyone craving a break from such electronically-induced troubles need look no further than A Forest from Christian Loeffler, which is so beautifully accessible and heart-warmingly sincere it seems to glide into your consciousness without any effort whatsoever.
A Forest comes on Loeffler's own Ki Records which he founded back in 2009. Never one to shy away from injecting a healthy dose of introspection into his productions, the fact that much of his work before or since looks vaguely anodyne in comparison to this new collection tells you just how much heart and soul Loeffler has poured into it. Tugging at you irresistibly with softly-suckered tentacles, opener "A Forest" lays out in full what Loeffler is all about, namely pastel-shaded atmospherics, organically evolving percussion and dubby beats which seem soft and malleable. "Eleven" is another obvious early highlight, on which Loeffler manages to make a reasonably formulaic bassline pattern sound like the souls of mountains talking to one another, providing a heavyweight foundation for an exquisitely breathy vocal from Mohna.
Arriving in a swirling haze of ash and smoke at the album's midpoint, "Blind" is a hands-down masterpiece. Burrowing through a shifting undergrowth of dry stick and crackling leaves, it's another example of how Loeffler is able to create so much positivity from what is ostensibly an extremely sad record. Sometimes the arable landscape can appear a little barren, as in the case of "A Hunded Lights"—actually a subtle reworking of a track from Loeffler's Orphanear releases. But more often than not the records are rich and heady, filling you with optimism even as they cloud the surrounding air with minor chords and eerie, vaporous shades.
Late last year, Loefller told Alpha-ville that his intention with the album was to demonstrate that "techno and house can offer more than just the incentive to dance." In fact, with the possible exception of the aforementioned "A Hundred Lights," there's little on A Forest that offers the barest motivation to seek out a dance floor. Instead it comes across like electronic folk music, telling and re-telling stories that feel much older than they really are, and that compel you to pay the closest attention to every click, scrape and thud it contains. A Forest truly is an exceptional piece of work, and one that will surely stand the test of time.
Tracklist: Christian Loeffler - A Forest 01. A Forest
02. Pale Skin
03. Eleven feat Mohna
04. Ash & Snow
05. Feelharmonia feat Gry
08. Eisberg (Hemal)
10. Swift Code feat. Marcus Roloff
11. A Hundred Lights
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