The Soup of Confusion

The charming Serein label in Wales continues to be the home for lush, wistful and imaginative electronica and ambient records. Two recent ones from October are by Jonas Meyer and Kryshe. Jonas Meyer is from Germany and Konfusion (SERE020) is his first recording, yet it exhibits a considerable amount of flair and skill in the construction, and has resulted in a very immersive record. His basic plan is to combine three or more layers of sound in a loosely-defined soup, using processed instruments alongside his synths; in doing this, he departs from conventional ideas about structure, but doesn’t neglect the surface, giving the ear plenty of pulsations, textures, patterns and shapes to savour. The pulses in particular are one of his strongest elements, but (thankfully) he doesn’t believe in four-square disco beats, and finds a way to make his machines come alive with an artificial heartbeat all their own. This tends to make each piece very accessible and approachable, and we’re transported willingly into a largely abstract world. The press notes invite us to admire his skilled editing techniques, which can mean either hard-edged clicks and cuts, or “gentle and reserved…processing”. Konfusion is a worthy addition to the label, whose profile likes to be inclusive of introverted, allusive music such as this. The rather “spindly” cover artworks are by Markus Lövkvist.

Less enthused by Kryshe and his Continuum (SERE021) album. Kryshe (Christian Grothe) was last heard here on March Of The Mysterious for same label, which was his interpretation of Alice In Wonderland. Continuum doesn’t have an overall theme this time, although simple track titles such as ‘Fragile’ and ‘Nocturnal’ may clue you in to the delicate mood of this music. For me, the general musical backdrop is just a shade too over-produced, though it’s evident a lot of work has gone into producing these wispy layers which the press notes describe as “sparkling streams of experimental sound”. The stumbling block for me is when a melodic top line appears, played by a trumpet or sung by the voice of a sensitive soul; it’s at this point the music turns into corny easy-listening, modernist wallpaper. Christian Grothe has strong skills in the studio, but I can’t share his view of the world.

Both the above from 12 November 2019.

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