After "recordings 070401-070521" (2007) and "Silent Fields" (2009), "Estonia" is the third release of Martin Herterich I discover.
The whole EP seems referenced to the works of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, with the last track dedicated to him.
Such approach can be dangerous giving a derivative restrictive idea of what a listener might expect to discover. Knowing his previous releases, it's not a surprise and it just confirms already noticed obsessions.
The whole EP is like a long walk in the snow under a grey sky, along bare trees and close to icy ponds. The structure of this release seems more conventional and less directly personal than previous releases, as if Martin wanted to gain height and achieve something more "universal".
Just below five minutes, the first track "Staring Across An Empty Room", seems blurry and relatively undecided like these first instants when the coldness is hitting, the icy wind invading the interstices and you wish you were still inside. As if tumbling down a slope, there is no way to turn round and the acclimatization slowly takes place getting us ready for the next phase.
"Estonia Part 1-2" is more vast and introspective, with large view from the top of a hill on icy landscapes covered with snow, under a clear pale blue sky, with long reverberated piano notes, static hiss (not so far from what Federico Durand was using on "La Siesta Del Ciprés"), around half-masked field recordings, which both strangely gives authenticity, and passing waves of twisted sounds transmitting a strong emotional impact during the first part and turning into something more crystalline and contemplative during the second part, like if we were assisting to a sudden snowfall.
The whole EP is a progression towards abstraction, and the instruments becomes more and more blurred along the way. On "Kyrie (For A. Pärt)" all I can notice are a distant solar piano during the last part and continuous waves of string sounds probably created digitally as they seem disconnected from ground and floating over the landscape like mist.
Less arresting than his two previous, "Estonia" is also more emotionally abstract and universal, with less self-implication from the author, but the first half of "Estonia Part 1-2"is already a good reason to discover it.