Exposé Online banner

Esmark — Māra I
(Bureau B BB272, 2017, CD)

Esmark — Māra II
(Bureau B BB273, 2017, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2017-09-12

Māra I Cover artMāra II Cover art

Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. On the island is a glacier named Esmark, the namesake for the electronic collaborations by sound architect Nikolai von Sallwitz (Taprikk Sweezee and Karachi Files) and experimental artist Alsen Rau (Scheich in China and On+Brr). They have worked together on various projects for the last 16 years. And late last year they went on retreat to the frozen Scandanavian north and in solitude created a number of tracks, some of which now appear on the dual releases ra I and ra II. From their EPK, it appears that their collaboration / compositional approach follows that of Cluster. Mainly analog drum computers, synth boxes, etc. connected in constantly changing configurations, EFX chains, and filters that interact and combine in interesting patterns. Sometimes the duo record their compositions on tape and feed them back through their electronics to create something new. Each track is basically a single idea based on throbbing electronics and asynchronous polyphonic rhythms. But the constant morphing / filtering of the sounds captures your attention even when lasting up to ten minutes. Sometimes these electronic soundscapes are merely abstract visions, while others are downright eerie and sinister, especially “Taeller 3.981.” And then there is “Lianen” with its scary sci-fi UFO and piercing sounds that somehow remind me of Louis & Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Planet soundtrack. So if you enjoy haunting minimal abstract soundscapes seen through a Scandanavian lens, these two companion albums are for you.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Esmark

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Synergy - Semiconductor, Release 2 & Metropolitan Suite – In 1986, the first era of Synergy releases came to an end with Metropolitan Suite, which in some ways is the culmination of Larry Fast’s original musical vision. That does not make it...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues