15 September 2010

M. Ostermeier - percolate (2010, Parvoart)

Marc Ostermeier is with his brother Eric behind the Maryland-based indie label Words on Music, with a focus on shoegaze & dreampop and my favorite band on this label was a stylistically exception, the slowcore band Coastal. The two brothers were also playing, with Tanya Maus, as Should. 

Should released two albums so far, "A Folding Sieve" in 1993,- with a a new release in 2002 -, and "Feed Like Fishes" in 1998. I only know the first one which was an a good but not really original melodic shoegaze album. But having just listened to the second one in the purpose of this review it looks like a more interesting, quieter and subtle realization which I plan to explore deeper later. Marc Ostermeier was the main composer behind Should, but "was" is probably not the right word as there is a new song on their myspace, posted in 2008 as part of an hypothetic forthcoming album. This song, "Glasshouse" is really magnificent and is really the missing evolutionary step between Should and this now M. Ostermeier solo career and probably not a dead end as a full album in this direction may break the ice around Should and let the band rise to a larger recognition.

More than a decade after, Marc Ostermeier is exploring new world of instrumental, ambient, icy, minimal, introspective music, mixing acoustic, electric and electronics, and finds himself for the first time - Should was part of the second wave of shoegaze music - in tune with his era. His new musical mentor on "Percolate" seems to be Mark Nelson (Pan•American, Labradford), a claimed influence along with recent works by Harold Budd. Marc is using rhodes and acoustic piano, a few beats, pads and samples, and some sparse but welcome melancholic electric guitar.
"Percolate", seven tracks for twenty-four minutes, the first release of M. Ostermeier is out as a 3"CDR on the German label Parvoart and his next ep is on Hibernate, two nice European labels, which is a good admission to a certain cenacle. 

"Percolate" is a relatively austere beginning, with suspended Rhodes elements floating in space, a glassy beat and a few piano notes to suggest the lines of a landscape discovered under fog in the early morning. The beat on "September again" adds a certain proximity to the intimate and pensive piano notes, the feeling of being stuck inside during gloomy rainy autumnal weather.

"Clockwork" and "Scratchy" sound like twirling playful Labradford digressions, their textures are more dense and with more beats.    

"His situation (in life)" is darker and more pensive à la Pan•American, like a slow walk in town, when you're lost in your thoughts. The dub accents are even more pregnant on "Continuity". If I had one of these waterproof mp3 player that would be the best soundtrack to swim along but I guess it would work almost as good for jogging through windy weather. It's a really addictive track.  

"Persuasion” is the most melodic and optimistic composition of the ep, the closest one to the structure of a song, you could almost imagine it two minutes longer with the inclusion of vocals and knowing his inclination for the works of Mark Nelson and his past with Should, it's surely not a direction he totally excludes. Hands up it's totally the best track of this ep, with euphoriant properties.



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