Off, the final installment in Markus Mehr's ambient noise triptych which also includes the luminous releases In and On, dropped last week at Australia-based Hidden Shoal Recordings. The single, 42 minute long form piece mixes new samples and loops with numerous textures reconizable from the preceding releases, all woven together in a concoction that is by turns dazzlingly bright, hauntingly deep and wholly engaging.
On a first listen, it is the composition and pacing that really stand out. Brief melodic intervals are linked by passages of deep, trance like and multi-textured drones.Choral samples become interlaced with distorted guitar, glitch plays counterpoint to piano and evocative synth passages evolve almost spontaneously, as if the composer is allowing us a time out to pause, catch our breaths and reflect on what has come before and how we might deal with all that is to come. There is a mind boggling breadth of ideas and moments captured in the piece, and yet no thought or melodic impulse receives less than full consideration. Indeed, it is this deep attention to detail which amazed me on my first listen to In, and which now bears full fruit in Off.
I have immensely enjoyed all of the releases in the triptych but Off is in my opinion the strongest and most complete of the three, and is well worth the wait of almost a year since In was released. I look forward to future listens and to finally getting to hear the complete triptych from start to finish. I've wondered much at the preposition titles, with the implied movement away from a focal point or gravitational center. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to comment further on it after a few more listens. For now I simply want to get this review out quickly while there is still time to do some good for Mr. Mehr by encourgaging fans of ambient, experimental and noise music to drop by Hidden Shoals and get their hands on In, On, and (if no other), Off.
Markus Mehr: http://markusmehr.de/
Hidden Shoal Recordings: http://music.hiddenshoal.com/