Recorded in a log cabin overlooking the Baltic sea, Mare is defined by its sense of place. From the percussive sounds of clicking sticks on "Haul" and the warbling of a distant marimba, to the sparse, wistful interjections of steel pans on "Krone" and "Silk," the album is textural in a very deliberate way. At various points, it achieves an intimate and evolving sense of colour and space, which is reminiscent of the crackling atmospherics of Jan Jelinek tracks like "Moiré (Piano & Organ)."
Löffler incorporated field recordings and found sound into the production process of Mare to a far greater extent than on his previous album, A Forest. This makes sense in terms of building the record's all-consuming sense of place, and it works. The jangling of wind chimes, panning from one side to another, and the shuffling of everyday objects fit neatly around Mohna's just-out-of-reach vocal, soft drum pads and whirring synths.
That said, similar and sometimes superior effects were achieved on the more sample-based A Forest, or the Young Alaska EP. Although found recordings are a nice touch, they're no substitute for the wistful power of melody, and on this point, Mare is a somewhat weaker album than could have been hoped for. There's no melody across its lengthy span that quite matches the glacial beauty of A Forest highlight "Pale Skin," on which Löffler made notes appear in the air like ice in water.
Though Mare has moments of genuine expression, Löffler is never above making house music with a satisfying climax. The album remains well within the German producer's comfort zone, which, to be fair, is a beautiful place to be.