Though he's been one of Kompakt's mainstays pretty much since the label opened, Markus Guentner's never much suffered the glare of indecent exposure. He's always struck as a wallflower type, the Vini Reilly to Michael Mayer's Bernard Sumner, if you will. That said, Guentner's been responsible for some of Kompakt's most unabashedly beautiful ambient music—productions so lovely they're almost unbearable—as well as having a neat sideline in swooning tech-house for the Ware imprint. On this latest, download-only single, Guentner further indulges his Pop Ambient side, with typically gorgeous results.
Both "Das Vergessene" and "Keep Your Eyes Closed" progress in a similar fashion: they creep into earshot, barely announcing their presence, all the while slowly seducing you with their never-ending now. Guentner's productions always move, though they may move very slowly, but his great talent lies in his capacity to confuse your perceptions of pace and progress: at any point, "Das Vergessene" feels static, but there's just enough detail in the undergrowth. In that respect, Guentner reminds a little of, say, Robert Wilson's choreography, which is so austere and mesmerically paced you barely notice bodily movements as they happen.
Guentner isn't nearly as austere as Wilson, of course. I'd imagine that foremost in Guentner's aesthetic is a dedication to creating music that's sensually captivating. "Keep Your Eyes Closed" is a particularly good example: Drifting out on two wistful, helium-high drones that co-exist happily, without tension, Guentner slowly introduces bell-like tones that ping and glint in the dusk breeze, softly striking one another like wind chimes. A simple premise, maybe, but that simplicity is the key to Guentner's Pop Ambient productions: Find a few elements, slowly encourage them to play together and then let them alone to see what eventuates.
Tracklist: Markus Guentner - Counting Stars01 Das Vergessene
02 Keep Your Eyes Closed