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ANGEL LIQUOR is the new instrumental album by CENTROZOON, a duo that is originally from Bielefeld, Germany.
More interested in the harmonic content of music than mere sound, CENTROZOON shape chromatic spheres of dark atmosphere that are unlike anything that you can hear in contemporary electronica these days. There's a sensibility of musical dissonance and consonance that is closer to composers of the first half of the 20th century like Anton Webern and Olivier Messiaen.
ANGEL LIQUOR refers to the spiritual nature of music: the muse, the good fairy, the angelic, the spirits. It's orchestral ambient music with teeth, featuring drastic multi-channel guitar treatments and quirky synth playing and programming.
Relying almost entirely on autopoiesis, ANGEL LIQUOR was created in real-time (i.e. improvised in the studio), with only minor editing and post-processing to make the music album friendly. Audiophile analogue signal paths were used during mixdown and mastering to further enhance the organic and complex fractal nature of the intuitive compositions.
Parts of ANGEL LIQUOR were premiered at the ARS Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria in 2004, although in slightly altered form, given the participation of part-time CENTROZOON vocalist Tim Bowness (of No-Man). 2006 finally sees the release of this ambitious piece on the new and eclectic Texas-based Divine Frequency label.
"CENTROZOON is not afraid to use big slabs of sound to conjure up crystal clear and sometimes terrifying emotional statements."
Composed and performed by Reuter/Woestheinrich
Markus Reuter: Touch Guitar, Electronics
Bernhard Woestheinrich: Z-TAR MIDI Controller, Synthesizers, Sequencing
Mixed by Bill Munyon
Mastered by Simon Heyworth at Super Audio Mastering, Monks Withecombe, Devon
Produced by CENTROZOON and Bill Munyon
Paintings "La Patetica" (cover front) and "Brillante" (back) by the great
Review by Sid Smith:
Music with wings...
Like the world-weary angel of Wim Wenders classic movie, Wings Of Desire, the cover artwork depicts a recumbent angelic figure looking down upon a busy town whilst apparently being offered what looks like a walkman.
Whether the heavenly legions are issued with personal hi-fi?s I have yet to find out. If they were, then as they looked down upon all those lives teeming back and forth, there?s a good chance that the angelic mp3 players would be featuring this album.
If you believe that music can tap into or even come from the spirit of the age, then this is an epic soundtrack that reflects the sense of unease and discomfort about where our planet is heading. The titles offer a hint; Fear, Distress, Vertigo, Decoy and Cruciform.
Distilling notions of paranoia, suspicion and corruption without recourse to doomy melodrama, or pyrotechnics is a hard thing to pull off. That they succeed so well tells us a lot about the way this partnership has evolved and developed since the arrival of their first album on the DiN label, Blast (2000).
Capable of traversing the varied distance between oblique avant-pop (with vocalist Tim Bowness ? Never Trust The Way You Are) and off-beat sci-fi electronica (Cult of Bibiboo) , Angel Liquor isn?t so much ambient as ambiguous music. Frequently devoid of any central theme or hook they leave the listener to make the connections and associations.
Even the percussion seems to be more rumour than fact, a murmur of disquiet pulsing under highly strung chords and textures. It?s hard to put your finger on any of it, and as soon as you do it seems to slip from one?s grasp.
Mixed and co-produced by Bill Munyon (bpm+m), with no overt soloing to speak of, the listener is encouraged to look at the wider picture and pick up on the details left behind in the sweep and swell of their broad-brush approach. The sense of creeping tension which the album exudes is palpable. Angst-ridden it may well be but that doesn?t mean it?s a bleak or moribund affair.
There are many moments of pure beauty located within its 50-plus minutes although its general mood reminds us that all good things come with a price attached. What you get here is provocative and intelligent and somehow brave.
Like those stoic angels atop their skyscraper eyries, Centrozoon look down and stay calm above it all.