May 9, 2009

März - Love Streams (2002, Karaoke Kalk)

März is one of many projects by Ekkehard Ehlers, an artist of many aliases and labels, with multiple releases every year since '00, with a slight break after '06 and a return with a new CD this year. Much of Ehlers' work falls on the electroacoustic and experimental side of the electronic spectrum, with many buzzy, glitchy releases on the Staubgold label under his own name, as well as tech-house and beat-oriented releases as Auch and Betrieb. The März name was reserved for a collaboration project with Albrecht Kunze, and is a brilliant merging of acoustic elements with minimal clicks'n'cuts techno music. Their initial 12” on Karaoke Kalk entitled “One From The Heart” caught my attention, with its beautiful blend of ambient classical music elements and understated glitchy beats. Most of this first EP was collected on the “Love Streams” album the following year, an aptly-titled, heartfelt, sentimental collection of progressive electronic music. The album centers around 4/4 house structures, but most of the instrumental elements are taken from acoustic sources, bringing to mind classical music and folk textures. Guitar strums, hand bells and orchestral swells play a prominent role in the mix. Alongside these melodic figures pulses a rhythm composed of bass frequencies, static and soft metallic percussion. Beginning with a looping guitar passage from Nick Drake's “From The Morning”, interspersed with a minimal tech-house beat and German poetry that undoubtedly is expressing a heavy feeling, the tone of the album is established. “Love Streams” is incredibly pleasant listening, an intriguing take on experimental pop music. A further 10” and full-length CD in '04 continued the sound in a similar vein, with a slightly more deep and melancholy feel. Ehlers has continued to produce a couple albums per year in the abstract, beatless ambient realm for Staubgold, as well as a variety of collaborations with other artists in the electroacoustic and glitch noise-oriented field.