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cd review: moritz von oswald trio: vertical ascent
21 September, 2009, 12:24 PM
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Reviewed on Saturday, July 25, 2009 by Areti Sakellaris
Published on
Honest Jon’s Recordings
4.5 Stars

The debut from the Moritz Von Oswald Trio, Vertical Ascent, doesn’t play any games with listeners. No funky lasers or Auto-tuned lyrics to hold onto. For longtime fans of electronic, dub, and techno, you’re acclimated to the fundamental structure; however, for those brave newbies, Ascent may seem underwhelming. Or overwhelming for those trying to grasp it. First I thought, Oh, I’ll have to really listen to this album because it doesn’t get in my head. Instead, I will have to get inside of it and explore this musical landscape on my own. Gulp. This album sounds like falling into the abyss.

And that is meant as a massive compliment. I could weave a framework, and as different sounds and emotions caught my ear, I could add to it. It summoned my creativity, and I found a depth to these epic tracks (the first cut is 14 solid minutes of pure ambient electronic) that the cute three-minute ditty hardly captures. Inspiring. There are no unexpected moments of intense flashiness, cacophonous reverb, or lyrics; it is experimental and minimal. However, Ascent is not an intimidating record necessitating a PhD in something fancy to enjoy and appreciate it.

Imagine a derelict warehouse by the docks, the music is lost in time—stark and futuristic—and a highly respected techno pioneer beyond introductions, Moritz von Oswald, orchestrating the synthesizers and samplers. Max Louderbauer is responsible for the analog synthesizers and Vladislav Delay (aka Sasu Ripatti) is on drums and percussion.

This isn’t a record for the impatient; the lethargic tracks take their time to develop, and for the huge space the trio creates, they fill the atmosphere with intimacy and allure, seamlessly progressing from one movement to the next.

Von Oswald said at an interview that he likes to use a limited number of elements and repetition for his music, which certainly does not make this a boring or heartless record. Quite the contrary, Ascent is an electronic symphony thoroughly alive and existing in its own vortex continuum.


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