dimanche 15 mars 2015

KLAUS HOFFMANN-HOOCK & BERNHARD WOSTHEINRICH: Conundrum (2007)

“Enveloping guitar and sitar layers with soft electronica rhythms, Conundrum leads the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work”

1 Virupaksha  8:00
2 Bowed Visions  8:12
3 Conundrum  9:21
4 Phased Realities  5:55
5 Swarmandel  10:07
6 Flavia's Paradise  6:40
7 Moonlit  8:17

DiN 27 (CD/DDL 56:45) **** (Psybient electronica)
Further to the publication of my review on the album Trance'n'Dance from Mind Over Matter, I received an e-mail from my good friend Bernhard Wöstheinrich who was wondering if I was willing to talk about his collaboration project with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and the album “Conundrum”. The title reminded me vaguely something. Having searched my archives I finally noticed that I had talked about this album some very long time ago. Here is of what it returned. Resurrection of a review and a music that I had forgotten in the corridors of time.
With the multiple carillons which resound, we are expecting a very ethereal moment, even pious, while that a nervous bass line and agile bouncy sequences forge a structure of rhythm as much elusive as the murmurs which flitter around it. Fluid and well sat on these elements a bit funky, while being well pounded by flexible percussions, "Virupaksha" skips in its psychedelic plumage on a provocative beat, on a kind of dance music. Between a morphic techno and a spatial disco, the tempo is flavored by psybient elements and by uncountable synth strata, by electric guitars and sitars of which the evanescent harmonies coil up over percussions and sequences which weigh down gradually the pace. Although relatively discreet, the squeakings of the guitar obsess the senses. And this will be like that all around “Conundrum”. Although the album is not explosive just as much, the duet Hoffmann-Hoock/Wöstheinrich, flanked by
Markus Reuter and Ian Boddy on percussions programming and the sequencing, dives at the heart of an ethnic riddle by exploiting the floating, the celestial and almost vampiric layers from guitars and sitars over movements built around progressive and moderate rhythms. The mixture brings the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work with ambiospherical elements which get closer to Indian tribal essences.

It's moreover a tearful guitar strata which opens the rather celestial atmospheres of "Bowed Visions". Strata which multiplies its shadows. These make glitter some dense shrill lines, and others more felted, which intertwine in a huge ambient sonic magma. A rhythmic structure emerges a little after the 3rd minute. Delicate, it scampers like a soft ballad without stories. The title-track exploits a little bit the same vision with an intro where the tears of stringed instruments get mixed in the hubbub of the synth pads to the colors of nothingness and the rustles of an astral voice to the ethnic breaths. A beautiful intro, very ambiospherical, which serves as starter to a very beautiful rhythmic phase which explodes a little after the 4th minute. Lively and a bit jerky, it gallops a little more than it scampers with a beautiful meshing of bass sequences and percussions of which the subtle swiftness eats up downright the listening. It's very beautiful, very intrusive and the guitar of Hoffmann-Hoock chews on its rhythm and its ambiences, while "Conundrum" becomes more and more fluid. I smell through this track some elements which would have influenced the madness of Thorsten Quaeschning and his guitar in the superb Utopia from Bernd Kistenmacher. It's a solid and very beautiful piece of music. "Phased Realities" bites our ears with a bass line filled of gurgling chords. The rhythm is suspended and sneaky. It's snatched up by percussions and tickled by the elytrons of cymbals. We enter the lands of electronica with electronic percussions which clink and spin around a Groove movement decorated with a mixture of synth and guitar layers from which the slow harmonies weave psy-soundscapes. Some warm synth pads (or is it guitar?) are stuffing the very ambient intro of "Swarmandel". We hear pulsations to stir up a rebellion, as well as electronic hiatus which reveal the celestial harmonies of an esoteric guitar. The rhythm is dozing and is snoring. It rebels a little after the 3 minutes spot, either after the last tickles from Hoffmann-Hoock's six-strings. It sparkles and skips with nervousness, guiding the pace of an up-beat without gravity which goes, dies out and gets back in the oscillations of a bass line and of the dislocated serpentines of an ethereal guitar. This structure of rhythm linked between semi-ambient phases finds also its niche on "Flavia's Paradise" with movements of bass which waves with strength before sneaking under clouds of perfumed sibylline ambiences drawn by a six-strings and synths. There is a ceaseless noise over this track as well as some beautiful more ethereal passages. Moments decorated of chirping and of tears of a guitar which remind us the psychedelic essence of “Conundrum”. "Moonlit" ends this eclectic accord between both universes of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and Bernhard Wöstheinrich with an ambient track where the guitar of KHH lets float some mourners harmonies in winds filled of sonic particles from Wöstheinrich's synth.
Conundrum” is within the spirit of the DiN label. It's an album with some tasty heterogeneous and experimental essences well served by rhythms which touch by the tip of their sequences, their bass lines and of their percussions the lands of electronica. Therefore, there is a beautiful mixture between these rhythms and of rich ambiences sewn with a fascinating obsession to make it quite difficult to be tamed. It's exactly the principle of a riddle. It pricks the curiosity. It becomes obsessive. And we eventually end by finding answers. Here, these answers find the shape of a music of which the borders always define themselves a little better in each new listening. You should not forget that we are in 2007. I underline this fact because we hear here and there elements which seems to us familiar, in particular in the universe of the psybient and of tribal ambient, demonstrating the rather avant-gardist approach of this duet rather eclectic.
Sylvain Lupari (March 14th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on DiN's Bandcamp website here

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