While Wolfgang Voigt has long availed himself of orchestral samples and, more recently, prepared pianos, Thomas Fehlmann's new single for Kompakt nevertheless turns a new corner for the label, being surely the first Kompakt record to feature a classical ensemble. Last October, Fehlmann performed alongside members of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra; here, he edits that material into two vibrant reconstructions.
The YouTube clips of the performance sound a lot like Jim O'Rourke's pastoral pop experiments, full of chiming glockenspiels and willowy strings and round, open harmonies; Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" is another obvious antecedent, particularly, here, on "DFM." The track is reassembled out of elements of the ensemble's performance of Fehlmann's "Du Fehlst Mir." Listen to both back to back, and the resemblance is unmistakable, but there's a timbral clarity here that's missing in the original, with vibraphone and violin arpeggios sparkling like dewdrops on a spiderweb before it's swept into a blur of flashing ride cymbals and faint, chugging synths.
"Titan One" is a more restrained, ambient affair, with the rhythm relegated to a dull 4/4 pulse; it's constructed out of the players' rendition of Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 1 (Titan)," but that's not really audible from Fehlmann's edit here, which swirls buzzing ostinato notes and stately phrases together into a shifting, swelling mass. There's an echo of Wolfgant Voigt's Gas project, but Fehlmann's approach places more emphasis on individual strands and discrete events: if Gas is all about the forest viewed through a smeared lens, "Titan One" zooms in on the trees in a kaleidoscopic riot of detail.
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Tracklist: Thomas Fehlmann - Titan One A Titan One