Textura review regen:tropfen

Posted by on Oct 1, 2010 in review | No Comments

A few words about regen:tropfen by zazie von einem anderen stern by Textura.

Maike Zazie Matern aka Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern (“zazie from another star”) recorded her debut album Regen:tropfen (“rain:drops”) in a “small little room with a garden view and on a piano at [Nil Frahm’s] Durtonstudio in Berlin-Wedding.” That seemingly minor production detail in fact says much about the recording’s intimate feel and home-spun character. The album offers a soothing respite from the hectic world of her current Berlin home-base by presenting fairy tale atmospheres that evoke the transporting magic of children’s stories and songs. During the forty-minute set, piano notes fall like, yes, raindrops while tinkles add bell-like lustre and occasional electronic accents add percussive flavour. Her classical-tinged piano playing is the dominant sound but the material’s fleshed out with the sounds of her fragile voice (in German and Swedish), cello, glockenspiel, field recordings, and assorted found sounds. Satie and Chopin, both of whom formed part of her classical piano education, are strong presences in her music, but she acknowledges Björk, Múm, Arvo Pärt, Peter Broderick, and Yann Tiersen as influences too.

That clomping footsteps are the first sounds one hears at the album’s beginning says much about the character of the project. The occasional creak of the piano bench adds to the recording’s intimate quality, while traffic noises (“Nacht”) affirm that a world exists beyond her piano parlor. In “Morgen,” chirping birds and restrained piano playing capture the still-sleepy mood of an awakening morn, though the playing grows energized as the day advances. With its babbling river sounds and whispered voiceover, “Ölandsvisa” is like some deep forest Grimm’s Fairy Tale come to life. On the more experimental tip, the voices of twenty different people surface during “Raum Ohne Zeit,” a theatrical treatment that adds even more distinguishing character to the track’s blend of piano arpeggios, electronic treatments, and field recordings, and an undercurrent of minimal beats and effects gives “Zwischen Meinen Händen” the strongest electronic presence on the album. Regen:tropfen is elsewhere dotted with multiple melancholy settings for piano, glockenspiel, and Matern’s breathy voice. Generally speaking, the album’s mood is mellow and alternately adult-like in the elegance of the melodious piano playing but child-like in its dream-like charm.

original review