Altars Altars – Small Hours

[Reviewed by stark]

This album reminds me of the late seventies and early eighties. Not in the strictly musical aspect, it’s rather like looking through old photos from that era. My childhood also belongs to that period. The colors are faded, the corners are bent, the sharpness is far from what we can achieve with modern digital cameras. But many memories are hidden in one static picture. You all remember the summers after school ends, just like in Alice Cooper’s song. You just threw the books into the corner of your room or under the bed and go out with your friends to do stuff the parents wouldn’t be exactly proud of.

Today I’m not in touch with any of these guys. We went our separate ways and even though I follow some of them on my Facebook, we barely speak or write to each other. And honestly I don’t think about it very often. We have our own lives, families and new friends, sometimes some reunions are organized, but that’s it. You meet for a couple of hours and come back to your everyday duties and obligations. Two years ago I moved to my old apartament again, I lived with my parents and my brother there, now I live with my girlfriend and two cats. Of course there’s nobody from the “old guard” here in the neighbourhood anymore, but the places remain. Not all, obviously, in spots where we played soccer or hide & seek now there’s a discount store and the Land Rover dealer, but even now some memories trigger spontaneously when I pass by.

The eighties nostalgia is quite trendy these days, and personally I like very much all these retrosynth projects and movies stylized with what was popular on VHS tapes etc. To me, Altars Altars plays on that nostalgic note too, but not in terms of the musical style or other trends from back then. It rather recalls the images from my past with the sound itself. The melodies are slow, melancholic and not very complicated, played on the guitar, sometimes accompanied by samples of playing children or barking dogs. Important is this effect Moritz used with the help of a reel-to-reel tape recorder, so you notice the specific hums, the sound distortions, you know when the melody goes out of tune for a second, things like that. And this is exactly like a music equivalent to a trip down memory lane with the photo album on your knees.

Just like those nostalgic feelings embrace me every once in a while, once or twice a year, I probably won’t be listening to “Small Hours” often either. It requires a particular state of mind, because otherwise you probably won’t even notice that the music is playing in the background. But when this day will come again, this Altars Altars album will be the first choice for the musical illustration of another trip to the times of childhood, the most beautiful ones.

Altars AltarsSmall Hours
Home Normal, homen078
CD/Digital 2016

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