There are some noteworthy things about time considering the release Complex by Kristian Marstal. For one the album is a year long work however apparently what you hear was improvised over two days. So maybe he has been experimenting with different ideas until he finally wanted to commit.
Complex revolves synths and more synth. This music isn’t anything new to those familiar to what the fringe offers but would certainly be perplexing those who have abstained from anything besides pop music. The music here can be traced back to Terry Riley, Steven Reich as well as more modern composers such Fennesz, Mountains and Emeralds.
Even though Marstal uses a limited arsenal of tools the sounds from song to song are quite disparate. A song like “Phaedo” conjures up waves of white noise not unlike how Fennesz did on “Glide” or how Ian William Craig did on his recent album Centres. “Phaedo” feels pretty far away from the serenity and calm of “Then.”
As you submerge more into Complex the name of the album feels quite ironic. The songs aren’t particularly complex. If anything these pieces are minimal - mood driven soundscapes most apt to set the scene in a movie or to provide ambience in your work space.
Although some of the soundscapes are minimal it doesn't mean that it might not test those even privy to this type of music. “Transference” is a dissonant, distorted wormhole of sounds that mimic what traveling between universe might feel like while “Under” has an ominous feel as if you are in the middle of a storm on some alien planet.
The music on Complex while enjoyable on its own seems tailored made for a horror or sci-flick. This is sound design. Truth be told with some affordable tools such as some of the Synths from Native Instruments to a microKORG the competition is stiff for sound design, atmospheric music whatever you want to call it. Let’s just say it not like it was in the ’90s or any time prior.
There are some interesting ideas on Complex. I can't help but think of what Marstal is capable of if he tweaked, tinkered and tailored his sounds instead of improvised them.
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