Review of regen:tropfen by Cyclic Defrost

Posted by on Nov 3, 2010 in review | No Comments

There’s something incredibly warm and inviting about Regen:Tropfen, like trailing your hands in a stream on a warm day. It’s the product of Maike Zazie Matern recording as Zazie Von Einem Anderen Stern, who mostly plays piano but brings in decorative glockenspiel, glitch, field recording, voice and cello flourishes. Pieces tend to be short and scruffy, based around slowly unfurled minimalist arpeggios, close to the scores of Yann Tiersen but looser, more folksy, almost as if Alva Noto and Sakamoto recorded for Fonal.

At first glance it threatens to be incredibly twee, yet another naïve and cutesy piano and electronics collection, but Matern’s limber arrangements somehow makes it all work, and sound surprisingly fresh. Glockenspiel plinks remain subdued, recordings of birds and water fit snugly alongside spare instrumental passages, and her approach to vocals is original: her pleasant German-Swede warble weaves gently through a few songs, while the crowded speech scattered over ‘Raum Ohne Zeit’ is distinctly odd. On ‘Zwischen Meinen Handen’ Pole-like pops and grit act as scatty percussion, while ‘Nachtschwarmen’ is filled with lengthy pauses, like See Through by The Necks. The cover art and CD image, a close up of Matern’s knitted dress pattern, adds to the homespun charm. This is graceful, effortless music, the perfect soundtrack for sunny afternoon tea and cake.

original review