Klimek: Music To Fall Asleep

Sebastian Meissner has assumed many guises over the past half decade—Random Industries, Bizz Circuits, one-half of Autopoieses (alongside partner Ekkehard Ehlers)—but it's with Klimek that Meissner most flirts with the ambient genre. Music to Fall Asleep doesn't significantly depart from the style of Milk & Honey—it's more a refinement than evolution—though fans of the Klimek debut probably won't mind. Yes, its hypnotic sheets of steely guitar strums are as lulling as the album's title suggests yet there's also a subtly unsettling industrial undercurrent too (in “Kingdoms Here We Come,” for example, the guitar effects are aggressive and drone-like, with a three-note bass motif the recurring anchor).

Interestingly, for a style that at first seems limited, Meissner brings out contrast from one track to the next, with the differences between tracks accentuated by the absence of pauses separating them. The opening piece's dramatic guitar shudders (“Pathways Verbunden to Work”) give way to plucked strings' shimmering reverberations (“Accompanying Guilty Thoughts of Unauthorized Candy”) and, subsequently, sustain that bleeds through cavernous pauses during “Standing on the Beach.” “Working Towards Independence” unfolds glacially, all the better to notice the elongated strings, slow-motion guitar figures, and soft percussion accents that almost subliminally resound.

Close listening induces a greater appreciation for the subtle modulations in mood and intensity Meissner creates from one piece to the next. “Catalyst” depicts some distant galaxial sphere where dissonant alien signals illuminate dark expanses, whereas those same signals coalesce to conjure affecting melancholy in “Les mots d'amour.” Strangely, for an album predicated on inducing sleep, the final track's insistent accents are more likely to rouse someone from deep slumber. But such surprises seem more consistent with the album's overall character, one that superficially appears monochromatic but in fact boasts a rich spectrum of colour.

May 2006