srmeixner – Between the lines

If the name Stephen Meixner doesn’t ring a bell, you may have heard of his previous, quite legendary group Contrastate. Meixner has been associated with labels like Staaplaat or Drone Records, which will probably give you an idea in which musical direction to look. Recently ‘srmeixner’ participated in the excellent compilation “Evolved as One”, of the new Dutch label with the same name.

This album has a clear conceptual background: it is inspired by the new Jewish Museum in Berlin, and in particular by the ideas of architect Daniel Liebeskind. The musuem deals with the Jewish past and in particular of course with the painful holocaust period. The builing has the shape of the Star of David, which is just one of the examples in which the architect has connected the building with its sourroundings and its function. Meixner clearly states that you must not see this cd as a soundtrack to the museum, it’s mainly inpsired by some of the ideas of Liebeskinds ‘Between the Lines’-project.

The music combines minimal electronic textures with subtle field recordings. There are four pieces on the album, one lasting only 12 second, the others range from 9 to 17 minutes. Meixner does to make music for hasty people who long for quick satisfaction. No, you have to take your time, sit back, close your eyes and let the sounds enter your ears and mind.

‘Interior.EXterioir.Void’ offers slow drones with a spacious effect. Drift away, wander through the empty spaces and endless corridors… The vague sounds of a populated room disturbs the silence after a minute or 7, bringing you back to reality. ‘Tragic Premonition’ is a bit estranging and sad, with rather hazy sounds and German spoken texts about the tragic historical events. The ticking clock at the end gives it a scary dimension. Very moving. ‘Garden of Exile’ has serene piano tones, bringing me in a contemplative mood.

I’m amazed how someone can achieve deep emotional effects with such a minimal sound, with just a few well-placed tones. The music of Stephen Meixner resembles minimal modern architecture, and is a perfect aural example of the ‘less-is-more’ principle. But not in a sterile and solitary manner, but always in touch with the world and the human emotional spectrum.

artist: srmeixner
label: Dirter Promotions
details: 4 tracks