[reviewed by John Pearson]
Recorded between 1993 to 1996, and the last official album to be released by Maeror Tri, “Emotional Engramm” saw its first release in 1997 by a British label, Iris Light. Fifteen years down the line, the Polish label Zoharum re-released it, as they have also done this year with a two-CD re-pressing of their “Meditamentum” albums.
The intention of Maeror Tri was always to create a form of ambient music that was intended to induce a hypnotic state within the listener. Whether they were being harmonious or noisy, the German trio were always capable of building a sense of esoteric momentum in their walls of sound that was excellent through its ability to make the most simple, minimal notations into complex, immersive layers that bring about a surreal, dreamlike aura that can be simultaneously serene yet abyssic.
Admittedly, “Emotional Engramm” takes a while to sink itself in, but surely pays off as a highly rewarding listen. “Landscape Of Visionary Thoughts”, the longest track on the album, is like all of their pieces ‘meandering’, but essentially finds its feet midway through the piece, where a sense of continuous sustenance and harmonious momentum is brought to the forefront.
“Sublimis” centers around what appears to be heavily treated, reverberating, singular lines of guitar, which out of all the heavily treated instruments that are used, seems the most obvious to discern. Building on a hypnotic, oscillating strum, it eventually builds itself into a subterranean, glimmering cavern of adventurous cacophony.
“Nebulos” begins with a sharp, weeping frequency that quickly becomes more obtuse, less linear and maintains a beauteous longevity without the need for structural variation. Rather, the dynamic brilliance of Maeror Tri, as is the case with their best work, comes in the form of texturing over a minimalistic framework.
“Vadum” makes cryptic use of loops and reverse fading, and sounds like a piece that would have fitted very well on their “Multiple Personality Disorder” release, though beneath the blurred, unnerving drones and effects it is held together and underscored by a slow, bassy, semi-melodic progression that gives the piece a flourish of melancholy amidst the nightmarish ambience.
“Chymos” begins with subtle, singular flourishes of strings that gradually shifts from calm beginnings and builds itself into an intense, shifting molecular storm that devours and overwhelms all consonance yet digs its own immersive abyss – perhaps the least musical sequence of the album but still thriving on the same method of composition, build-up and layering.
“Undisonus” works its way out from this, beginning with sound treatments that resemble the sound of crashing waters. Droning, weeping harmonies overlap one another that give an impression of standing alone amidst a desolate, rocky shore, all life absent save for the presence of the landscape, and the physical components that animate it.
“Sphaira” closes the album, rich, cavernous and spacial. Again, each timbre and resonance not only acts as a means to serve as a tonal palette, but works as if intended to connect with the layers of the subconsciousness. It is quintessentially Maeror Tri in that it explores emotion not in the sense of catharsis, but seeks to enlighten the unknown within the subject listener. Such is what makes the defunct German trio an essential experience in sound, they go beyond it.