M. Ostermeier: Chance Reconstruction

M. (Marc) Ostermeier follows his recent Parvo Art (Percolate) and Hibernate (Lakefront) outings with the debut full-length (at thirty-five minutes, mini-album might be more accurate) Chance Reconstruction on the upstart Tench label. Despite the title, it seems as if little has been left to chance on the ten ponderous pieces that make up the album, as the Baltimore, US-based composer advances with premeditated deliberation from one melancholic setting to the next. Throughout the recording, Ostermeier offsets the ghostly character of the acoustic piano playing with subtle dashes of electronic colourations, guitar, and field recordings (e.g., traffic noise).

Some track titles are aptly chosen: “Beacon Adrift” does, in fact, exude a drifting quality, largely due to the slow-motion strokes of tremolo guitar that punctuate the looping percussive figure that lends the track rhythmic drive, and “Chasing Ghosts” possesses a haunted quality in the phantom echo that reverberates off of its dusty piano figures. In its wedding of shuddering guitars to minimal electronic beats, “Deepr” recalls the approach Ostermeier brought to the Parvo Art recording, while “Hedge Game” does much the same albeit with piano and an even stronger beat thrust. The press material cites Keith Kenniff's Goldmund as a reference point but Max Richter seems more accurate. One might be reminded of Richter when the sparse piano elegance of “Last” appears, for instance, especially when it's accompanied by strings and subtle electronic ornamentation. If Chance Reconstruction ultimately registers as a somewhat unassuming and low-key recording, that's wholly in keeping with a musical conception that emphasizes mood—typically of an introspective and brooding kind—over melody.

October 2010