Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Electric Mud — The Inner World Outside
(Bandcamp Timezone TZ2288, 2022, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-03-28
For a band that started life as a stoner rock trio back in 2011, they have certainly come a long way in ten-or-so years since. By the time of their 2020 release Quiet Days on Earth, the band was down to the duo of Hagen Bretschneider (bass guitar, compositions, concepts) and Nico Walser (electric guitar, fretless bass, synths, drum programming, piano, compositions), but in the two years since, due in part to the international success of that album, Walser and Bretschneider decided to expand the lineup to include additional musicians, composers, and creatives. The (now) six-piece lineup now call their style ‘cinematic prog art,’ which is a long way from where they began way back when, but certainly the addition of new musicians and composers with fresh ideas had a lot to do with that evolution. Their music now features a very pan-cinematic approach, with a number of different ideas in the mix, some jazzy, symphonic, and classical elements informing the mix of styles. The new members include German-English film composer and conductor David Marlow, who composed four of the album’s cuts, piano, orchestral programming and percussion; Timo “Timoog” Aspelmeier, composer of four tracks, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, synths, piano, and drums; Judith Retzlik plays all manner of strings (violin, viola, cello) plus voice; Andrea Weiβ contributes digital art and photography. The program starts with “Exploring the Great Wide Nothing,” a Marlow-penned piece that fades in slowly and exemplifies elements of the band’s new gentle symphonic sound. That’s followed with Aspelmeier’s “The Fear Within,” a very dark and shadowy slow moving piece featuring plenty of electronics. Walser’s “Around the Mind in 80 Lies” begins with a grand symphonic theme, followed up with a more rock oriented sound with intermittent acoustic guitar elements, almost sounding like something Anthony Phillips could have written; the song also features some whispered vocalizations, Jews’ harp and a soaring guitar solo from Walser near the end. With “Those Who Leave the World Behind,” a Marlow / Walser composition, the piece begins with an elastic shimmering organ sound that grows slowly, but then takes a total left turn into a world of folk instrumentation and themes that might be right at home on any recent Gryphon album. Jumping ahead a bit, we come to “Silent Stranger Suite” that clocks in at ten-plus minutes, a expansive piece composed by Aspelmeier and Walser, taking its time to grow and develop, with Retzlik adding much of the delicate strings and such that make the piece unique among the nine. With The Inner World Outside, Electric Mud has approached a whole new level of composition and arrangement, and are all the better for it.
Related artist(s): Electric Mud
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