Farewell Fields (w/ Dronæment)

Nextera ERA 2048-2 | CD | 2007 | 13,00 €

On this album both Marcus Obst/Dronæment and Uhlig came up with two independent sketches of saying goodbye to a bit of past and a piece of present - which is now of course past, too. Two long tracks between loops, minimalism and a trippy live performance at the AZ Conni, Dresden.

  1. Para Puri (by Mirko Uhlig) (24'06)
  2. Fields (Live) (by Dronæment) (31'41)

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About the record

There are various kinds of flowers in the farewell fields but what they have in common is not complaining when it's time for valediction.
A scarcely audible "goodbye". Then wounded veterans on its soil. Scavengers and their own way of a farewell performance. Starry-eyed limbs and forget-me-nots. We tried to cull the more beautiful ones of both kinds.

Fields of clouds come and go like Spanish veterans and young mothers, queens and accessories and the one big misapprehension that is the ocean for every well crafted ship.

The utero for this two-headed baby was butt-joined after the Ex Ovo Orchestra performance that took place at the AZ Conni venue, Dresden February 2007. Mirko had caught some moaning itinerary fish para Puri a few weeks earlier while Marcus was fishing for it at that particular night. One is about leaving, the other about the destination.

And Nextera is a very nice orphanage. Go and get orphaned in the fields of parting.

Reviews

Connexion Bizarre:
"The Ex Ovo Orchestra performed that cold February night in Dresden. Born as an improvisational experiment for artists who contributed to the "I, Mute Hummings" sampler which was released by the German-based label Ex Ovo, it also served as a base for the collaboration between Mirko Uhlig and Dronæment. And to make a long story short, the first fruits of this collaboration are presented to you by the Czech label Nextera, who you might recognize from releases by Lustmord, The Hafler Trio or Klaus Wiese. Yes, we have entered the realm of true sound artists.
The two artists who wrote "Farewell Fields" each already earned more than an ocassional liner-note. Mirko has been active for several years already as Aalfang Mit Pferdkopf and, under his own name, he released on amongst other labels Ex Ovo, Field Muzick and Drone Records. Marcus from Dronæment started his project on the border between two centuries and since then some twenty releases have seen the light of day on labels just as impressive as the ones who featured Mirko's work.Yes, we are talking about a new generation of soundartists and the natural question that follows is "What can we expect musically?"
An hour's worth of minimal drone-influenced ambience. In "Para Puri" a theme of no more then four notes played on a guitar, mixed and intermitted through voices of unknown origin. "Fields (live)" forms the second half of the CD and, in contrast to the first track, it makes more use of different notes and the harmony created by the combination of them. "Fields (live)" might well have been recorded during that earlier mentioned performance of the Ex Ovo Orchestra because the date at venue are the same. The feeling you are left with after the track has finished is a feeling of having missed an opportunity of a lifetime... (8,5/10)"
Bauke van der Wal

Tokafi:
"Picture postcards from a personal Woodstock: Burns itself into your subconscious like a flaming fire.

To everybody involved, the e.t.a. Festival at the AZ Conni in February of this year felt like a miniature version of Woodstock: Two days with a very openminded and warm mood, diverse and exiting performances as well as a glimpse of the future: Shortly afterwards, Noise act Broken Diode released their quickly sold-out debut disc, Tholen went on to sign a deal with seminal Canadian outfit Cyclic Law and Mirko Uhlig and Dronaement would forge a powerful partnership of which „Farewell Fields“ is merely a first sign.

While the album opens up a horizon of posibilities, it is mainly a look back to that defining weekend with both artists effectively delivering the material to the AZ Conni gig – one long track around the half hour mark each. And yet, „Farewell Fields“ is not just a live album. Dronaement's contribution has been digitally remastered by Nextera Records' labelhead Karel Kourek and Uhlig's piece comes in an extended studio version never performed like this before. These fields are still fresh.

The virtual set of “Farewell Fields” opens with one of Mirko Uhlig’s all-time favourites. „Para Puri“ has been an integral part of almost all of his recent performances, chiming in the atmospherics and instantaneously creating an ambiance of high expectations and majesty. For the studio version, recorded in preparation to the e.t.a. Festival, he takes more time than on any of these occasions.

Essentially, his entire composition is made up of nothing but a deep, breathing bass vibration, a spliced-up voice sample as well as a four-tone melody, which fluently melts with the underlying undulation. Thanks to asymmetrical cycles, filter modulations and the mute button, the elements will move in or out of sync, subtlely juxtaposing as the music unfolds and creating a circling sensation. This track is not about development, it is about falling, letting go and about space. Around the sixteen-minute mark, it seems to all but fade away, but returns again with staggering intensity. „Para Puri“ is one of those pieces, which will stay with you for weeks, burning itself into your subconscious like a flaming fire.

In direct comparison, Dronaement's „Fields“ is more open and diversified. Building from guitar lines swaying gently in the warm wind like a mobile on a sun-lit veranda, Obst takes his audience through threedimensional field recordings, morning drones and even a passage of rhythmic sequencer pulsations in the best of Krautrock traditions.

Considering this is a live recording, he displays a pronounced sense of direction, a definite sense of proportions and an intuitive feeling for arrangements, coming full circle with an effective rehash of the opening bars at the very end. With its sounds of cocks crowing and birds chirping as well as through its smooth surfaces, the opening half of the work has a pastoral beauty to it, while the mood turns contemplative and brooding in the second one, with the sustained tones taking on a more determined, premonitous and cosmic air.

Nothing is ever spelled out in full, everything remains a beautiful allusion and a silent gesture, but Obst uses this to his advantage. His world is filled with chinese whispers, childhood memories and vivid episodes from a life in the country, breathing softly into your ear lulling you to sleep. By all means, this is music to drift away to and to get lost to in a sensual spark of associations.

With all of its differences, though, both tracks have something very important in common. They deal with rest and balance and proceed at their own pace. Even more importantly, they are emotional in a way usually reserved exclusively to Rock or Dance music, far away from cool intelectualisms or abstract philosphies: These picture postcards from a personal Woodstock are always aimed straight at the heart."
Tobias Fischer

Touching Extremes:
"Let’s just put this straight from the beginning: this album must be approached as an installation soundtrack, even if it’s not. Don’t look for compositional tricks or complications - there are none. Two separate tracks: the first, by Uhlig, is completely based on a very simple, slow diatonic scale of clean guitar notes that goes on for about 24 minutes upon an electronic drone and a glimpse of taped voices that, in the far distance, suggest “something” to our psyche. Not exactly a new discovery, but gentle on the nerves and delicately textured; a good company while I’m writing. Dronæment’s piece was captured in a live performance, this too taking shape from fixed elements that create the necessary hypnosis; over the course of the basic background, barely perceptible changes and pre-recorded tapes appear like interferences - a little more frequently than in Uhlig’s music, also because the track is seven minutes longer - so that the initial calmness appears as slightly disturbed, at least in a few moments. The disturbance is not enough anyway to alter the overall character of this CD, which should not be considered as anything different from a tranquil presence in a hour of your life. Avoid headphones."
Massimo Ricci

Vital Weekly #607:
"A brave move here from Nextera. None of these three artists have a big name yet, and in this day and age to release them on a real CD is a brave move, me thinks. All three artists have some reputation in the field of ambient and drone, mostly due to limited releases on CDR, tape or vinyl. All three are always 'promising' in my book, especially Mirko Uhlig. He has made some great, much overlooked releases, and here returns with a piece that is great. Much reverb is used on the piano, and below deck there is a synthesizer or two lurking and the voices could be the announcement of a train station, but reminds the listener of Bryars 'Sinking Of The Titanic'. Uhlig seems to be heavily inspired - more than before - by Brian Eno's ambient music, especially the first one 'Music For Films' springs to mind. Maybe a bit too much in the direction of new age but still on the right side of ambient music. Dronaement is Marcus Obst from Germany, who offers a live piece here, called 'Fields'. It's not, as the title may suggest, a pure field recording piece, but at the foundation of it, there is some highly obscured field recording, which sounds like a boat or so and on top Obst plays organ/drone sounds, not unlike Palestine (which lead me to think these boys know their classics), but as the piece evolves arpeggio keyboards come in and things land in cosmic land - with soft noise underneath. Quite a nice piece, both of them."
Frans de Waard

Gothtronic:
"Music as drops of dew falling gently on blooming flowers. This is how “Para Puri” by MirkoUhlig sounds like on this Farewell Fields CD. The guitar strings are touched softly. The sweet vibration of the string is sultry and breath taking by its sensitivity. The lonely guitar tones are drifting over the fields with dandelions heavy by the morning dew while the sky turns orange by the rising sun.
Mixed together with a telephone monologue is this track very minimal, but Mirko proves less is more. “Para Puri” sounds very much in the vein of Labradford and is of pure delicate beauty and natural of sound.
Guitar drones like the sound of spring. I can’t wait!

Dronaement continues this CD with a live recording of “Fields” and has the same calming effect as the Mirko Uhlig track. The music is as an idyllic landscape with a brooklet slowly finding its way in a blossoming valley. You may compare this track with Stars of the Lid. The music is slow and serene like the babbling of water, still ice cold but warmed by the sun of spring. Languid we follow the stream as we pass a crackling mill peacefully doing its work while the sun increases in strength. Slowly this track evolves itself as there is more happening in the surrounding. It even gets melodic to the end with watery pulses and loops.

Dronaement is creating ornamental drones for ten years having released many records while Mirko Uhlig started in 2004 with his surreal college project Aalfang mit Pferdenkopf. In 2006 he started to make much lower and serene music. Together they have created a beautiful meditative record with smooth drifting drones. (7,5/10)"
Remco

Unruhr:
"statt dessen hier der 1. (einer neuen serie, natürlich, diesmal mit dronaement). und während der 2. teil der 1. serie auf seinen 3. wartet und dieser 1. auf den 2., reichen mirko uhlig exakt 4 töne, um den hörer / die hörerin exakt 24.06 minuten nicht nur bei der stange zu halten, sondern so ziemlich zu begeistern. natürlich ist da noch ein wenig mehr dabei, fieldrecordings in einer mir unbekannten sprache und ein tiefer, voluminöser, gleichwohl kippeliger drone. aber es sind diese 4 töne, die die situation beherrschen und mirko uhligs virtuosität, deren konsonante glückseligkeit durch mikroeingriffe zu einem spannenden mantra zu formen, das eigentlich an jeder stelle den abgrund verheißt. der allerdings, fein, fein, allein im kopf des hörers bleibt. para puri? full of pure beauty? aha!

und das schönheit auch anders geht und sich beide schönheiten aufs beste verbinden, zeigen die nächsten 31.41 minuten von dronaement, ursprünglich live im az conni, dresden, aufgeführt und hier als "fields" den zweiten teil bildend. zunächst einer verwandten figur verhaftet und so den perfekten anschluss findend, heisst das thema im weiteren mutation + collage. und spannung und die fähigkeit, ebendiese zu erzeugen, ohne sie bei einem solchen (ambient) par-force-ritt, wie ihn dronaement hier (wenn auch in zeitlupe) vollbringt, auch gleich wieder zu verlieren. und eine menge assoziationen freizusetzen und dabei weder klf (chill out!) noch herrn schulze auszulassen. perfekt!

von dronaement gibt es jetzt übrigens die "wassermond" 7-inch auf drone frisch in der zweitauflage. der mann ist schließlich auch schon was dabei."
Hellmut Neidhardt

Heathen Harvest:
"After having reviewed a plethora of noise and harsh electronic releases in the last few days, it is with a deep sense of relief that I now find myself just about to embark on writing about something a lot calmer and quieter. Don’t mistake me however; I love the noise end of the spectrum immensely, but subjecting myself to a constant diet of material that wants nothing more than to burrow into my brain and reduce it to grey mush can become a mite wearing to say the least.

This split release balances everything out nicely, the Uhlig track washing over me soothingly with expansive washes of lush clear tones that appear to hang suspended in the air, voices floating like the far distant clouds seen on the horizon, eventually evaporating and dispersing to the four corners. The four note figure exuded a physical solidity, almost as if one could simply reach out and touch them; simultaneously a certainly fragility and delicacy was exhibited by the whole – giving into the temptation to touch would inevitably atomise the sound itself, the tiny particles chasing the droplets of clouds wherever it is they wandered to. Para Puri possesses a strong sense of utter loss, memories of something or someone once held dear but now lost to time and dimension, as well as a deep feeling of isolation, of placing oneself beyond the touch and warmth of human contact – as if such is itself nothing but a much-mourned memory.

Dronæment, or to give him his real name, Marcus Obst, aims to create the same sort of feeling, but opting for a richer and more harmonically-layered approach. There are still the long-drawn out drones providing the sonic bedrock, but built upon it are further drones enhancing what’s already there, inducing the harmonics to come out of hiding and display themselves; in addition there are quiet burblings and blips, creaking approximating the sound of an old shop sign swinging in the wind, finally segueing into more insistent ambient organ drones. Again, I felt a deep sense of disconnection and displacement, a separation from the ‘real’ world and into the otherworldly and fantastic, from the drab into the technicolour. Reality fractures, disintegrates and reintegrates, the particles, just like the clouds of Uhlig’s piece, dispersing into the ether and then recombining into something new, which is equally displaced in time and space. Maybe it longs to be a part of something, but the flux and reflux denies it the desired permanence. Paradoxically, the introduction of a strong rhythmical sequence two-thirds of the way through the track, which normally would indicate solid foundations, contradictorily does nothing to anchor the whole firmly, rather, as it metamorphoses, loses strength and eventually fades back into the drone-field we see that it too is but an ephemeral thing, revealing its show of permanence to be as wispy and gossamer as the particulated reality it sprang from. Maybe it’s just another way of saying that nothing we create lasts forever, that loss, fragmentation and disconnection are part and parcel of what it is to be human and that we should accept its presence in our lives.

This is magnificent and deeply moving stuff of the first magnitude. Although the two musicians have different creative and methodological approaches, the end products nevertheless tell the same story and utilise the same motifs. Don’t let the apparent quiet and fragile character of these two pieces fool you however; buried within the drones is a strength which is quite at odds with a first impression gained from an initial superficial assessment. Allow yourself to become immersed within the sound, let it wash over you and completely submerge you; resist the urge to come up for air – instead let every note and nuance seep into your very being, ending in thorough mutual absorption. In other words, let it become a very part of you."
Simon Marshall-Jones

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