Glim: Aerial View of Model
Karate Joe

Mimi Secue: Naila
Karate Joe

The nine laptop-generated atmospheres comprising Glim's (Andreas Berger) second album for the Radian-curated Karate Joe imprint are wholly inviting and accessible, akin to Eno-styled ambient submerged in a bath of gently rippling electronic textures. While some pieces are intimate by design (“Sloth,” “Christoph's Box”), others are more panoramic; gaseous vapours and bleeding guitars, for example, coalesce into a spectacular mass of droning drift in “Takeoff” while “Seaside” subtly conjures the entrancing stillness of early morning. A wistful tone pervades, like when a simple piano motif resounds ever-so-faintly below a sea of crackle and fuzz (“Glaze”) and when the merest hint of a melancholy melody declares itself amidst crackles and smears (“Rewind”). Though Berger enriches the electronic palette with glockenspiel tinkles and meditative guitar shadings, it's in the concluding “Next Day” that he most boldly merges acoustic elements (acoustic guitars, glockenspiel) with electronics (string washes, static noise). All of which makes Aerial View Of Model an unassuming and understated collection but one that charms nonetheless.

Berger also plays in Mimi Secue though you'd hardly know it, given the absence of personnel info on Naila, the group's fourth release (only guests guitarist Martin Siewert and violinist Eduart Hallulli get musician credits). Glim clearly offers Berger the more experimental outlet with Mimi Secue a more conventional yet still classy group affair. Delivering its stately mood music with finesse, the group opens the set with a gently pulsating piano- and guitar-driven instrumental buoyed by the sweeping caress of Siewert's pedal steel. The start's anomalous, however, as the remaining songs spotlight Christian Jurasovich's vocal whispers within dreampop settings filled with delicate guitar filigrees and glockenspiels. Tunes like “Pilot” suggest similarities between his hushed singing and David Gilmour's while elsewhere Jurasovich's voice is doubled by an (unnamed) female singer, sweetening the mix even more. Though the album's melancholic mini-symphonies are predominantly soothing, “Not Your Fault” alternates between languid and euphoric passages. Of course, opting for such placidity has its dangers, with the crawling dirge “Winter,” for example, so slow it flirts with somnambulism. And when the focus is so heavily on slower tempi, a 54-minute running time starts to seem about ten minutes too long by the time the album enters its final moments. Even so, there's no discounting the impact of material like “Far Away,” especially when the song's ascending chorus melody brings forth a pleading poignancy that's simply ravishing.

February 2006