Music is a strange form of expression. As a composer [a term I’m finally willing actually to admit to myself], I often ask myself – what do I do it for? And if I do it for myself, then what is this internal drive to share it with the rest of you? And if I have something to say, then why must it be heard, reviewed and purchased? It’s a rabbit hole of unanswered questions from this side of a creator. But I can also happily admit that being on receiving end of this communication, I am extremely thankful for the sounds. Listening to the music produced by artists I admire is more than just an inspiring showcase of sonic creativity and sound design. When I’m surrounded by all these frequencies, I am transported into the world within each mind that has the unexplained capacity to move, to make, to shape the space. There is a “unity” of sorts when all these engineered patterns, transforming on their lengthy journeys, finally arrive upon my ears. And in this unity, I rest. Regensburg (Germany) based Markus Guentner is no stranger to these pages. I have been a fan of his deep atmospheric explorations for many, many years, going back to the early 2000s and his appearance on Kompakt‘s Pop Ambient compilation series [I think for every annual release]. I suppose that’s how he became familiar with Joachim Spieth, who also appeared in these celebrated entries. I’ve also highly praised his work on A Strangely Isolated Place (see Theia and Extropy), and yes, that’s how he ended up on the third volume of For Ukraine compilation curated by Raf. With his latest album on Spieth’s Affin imprint, Guentner follows up his Empire [ASIP, 2021], painting wide ethereal soundscapes with a soft and textured brush. This is an exercise in delicacy and restraint, as each harmonic swell is breathing in and out and truly resonating with particles that somehow make me feel alive.
Onda captivates with its orchestral-like progressions, an endlessly interwoven carpet of sound that spreads out over six etudes. As if in slow motion, he scans through the individual sound particles, works out details, lets dust fall from the source material, cores, connects and in the end lets everything flow…
Once again, the full album, titled Onda, is out on May 5th, 2023, via Affin, released on a CD and as a digital download, currently available for pre-order on Bandcamp. Highly recommended!