[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Perhaps the most quoted German projects in dark ambient are Inade and Troum. Troum has been assembled by Knappe and Gitschel following the disbanding of Maeror Tri, and the third member from this substantial experimental group, Helge Siehl, is presently recording under the name of 1000schoen.
“Paintings At The Nightsky” is being offered by Russian label Nitkie (the second album at this label after Moune from 2010). It comes after a beautiful split with Ab Intra (released on Zoharum) and maintains the same drone-ambient architecture of vast proportions.
1000schoen initiates the listener into a visual context correlated with a photographic decor made of air-taken pictures. The interpreter draws inspiration from the photos present on the cover, which were taken during WWII. The first piece, “Paintings At The Nightsky”, unfolds along with a synaesthetic approach that opens the senses to a transfigurative experience. While the terrestrial sounds of scrapped metal and digitalized loops awake uneasiness and turbulence of the mind, the audible projection of these very sounds on the portentous sky above pave the way for an ambiguously spectacular scenery.
Drone ambient’s visual quality is commonly accompanied by the sensation of artificial abstraction, and such pure virtuosity sometimes tends to degenerate into plain personal laudation. 1000schoen has taken distance from shallow repetition, his use of sound is being submitted to a biomechanical portrayal of human sensations in reaction to specific confinements. Like this vertically expanding feeling of self-doubt and renunciation of gravity that is being sagaciously narrated on “One Step Before Jumping”: space is progressively reduced to twinkling, warm noises and the whole concentration left on this miraculous event.
All through the record a play on contrasts is to be found, symbolically derived from the antithesis between the source of inspiration, meaning the dread of war, and its transfiguration to a dramatic visual tableau by means of music. This variation is also reproduced in aural terms, such as on “Melting Glass”, where Helge Siehl unwinds slow-beating rhythms that crawl through peripheral lyrical murmurs.
In seeing the title of the record, I immediately remembered the Nocturnes from classical compositions, composed in direct evocation of the night. The music of 1000schoen musically captures the light and dark contrasts observed at this moment of the day. “Final Flow” has a meditative and melancholic character that suggests the ending of a spectacle or an exhibition: the war scenography is shadowed, so that only the gestures and expressions of the victims appear to be brought to light. It is like a final disposition of destiny, revealing that only an image remains from the past, an image that can be given life in another dimension by means of music.
Though the atmosphere painted by the German artist seems anything but harmful, there are moments when it becomes contagious, like the drug Pervitin, the effects of which are portrayed on “Pervitin Dream”. Wehrmacht used it on soldiers because of its capacity to reduce fear and boost confidence. The reactions to the drug assume a mental form within the display of a hypnotic, distantly rhythmic melody. The pressured, enveloping percussion is being de-congested in an elegant, undefined and stimulating pervasion of irradiative vaporous tones that slightly shape the passage to the final piece, “Burning Phosphorus”. Here again the writing is neat and emasculate, with refined touches applied here and there like drops of rain and moved away by drumming, ethereal pulsations.
Helge Siehl exposes his musical qualities using pictures as iconographic schemes. What he makes up of this canvas is up to the listener to unravel, exposing his 1000 years to the night sky.