Mathias Grassow – The Nightquest Sessions

[Reviewed by stark]

“The Nightquest Sessions” is another episode of the everlasting affair between Mathias Grassow and gterma label. I don’t complain, by all means. It’s not a brand new material though, it was released on CDr 19 years ago on I’m guessing that the original recording may be difficult to find, so it’s quite cool that we’ve lived to see a proper reissue.

There’s this label in the booklet with the design similar to the famous “Parental Advisory, Explicit Content” sign, but saying “Ambient Nocturnal Advisory, Deconstructing Reality”. I love it, that hits the point, telling everything about the album and Mathias Grassow works in general. I know that his music may be too much for many people, even the ambient fans, as it is based on very long forms, the drones stretched beyond the point of acceptance and rarely changing the colors and frequencies of the sound, but for me it’s food for the spirit. The atmosphere he enchants with is the most important. The trance, all these subtle morphing of the textures, the density that leaves no space in the environment. Did I say that he’s probably my favourite ambient artist of all times? Probably like a hundred times in the previous reviews.

You can find different moods on different albums, one time he is charming with heavenly synths, while the other album makes you freeze with its cold drones. One makes you feel relaxed, while the other foreshadows the forthcoming storm. How about “The Nightquest Sessions”? Check the title and you already know. It is a nocturnal ambient indeed, rather dark, but without horror. Based on deep bass soundscapes, sometimes infused with other elements, like tribal percussion or something that reminds me of the glittering bonfire.

There are only three compositions here and the absolute highlight is the middle one, 43 minutes long “Eigenlicht” which you can easily put on repeat and go to sleep as it deconstructs reality and the dreamworld as well. It doesn’t work the same way as Robert Rich’s “Somnium” masterpiece, which is more quiet and peaceful, but it won’t induce any nightmares either, at least not the ones with monsters or whatever. This album rather has the properties of erasing the boundaries of time and space. You’ll feel that these terms are irrelevant and limiting during the astral journeys, so let’s just set them aside and go where they don’t matter.

So it makes me happy that apart from the new stuff by Mathias, gterma offers also the old material, because I admit I didn’t know “The Nightquest Sessions” before. It’s a mandatory purchase for all the night dwellers around.

Mathias GrassowThe Nightquest Sessions
gterma, gterma052
CD/Digital 2016

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