Exposé Online banner

J. Peter Schwalm — How We Fall
(RareNoise RNR096, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-10-09

How We Fall Cover art

J. Peter Schwalm is back with another set of intriguing electronic music. The Beauty of Disaster (2016) was a surprising and eclectic collection of manipulated sounds, and How We Fall carries on that tradition. At times it’s an exploration of how abstract music can get and still maintain coherence. The opening track, “Strofort,” is like this, with unidentifiable noises contrasting marimba-like ostinatos and quiet organ-like notes floating in and out of awareness. A percussive rhythm condenses out of the sonic fog, but it’s hard to know exactly its origin, and accents shift around unpredictably, sometimes seeming to fall into a consistent time signature, then drifting out with three-on-four polyrhythms or some other kind of deviation. A section in the middle threatens to build a recognizable structure, but dissolves into competing patterns that don’t quite align. The overall effect is definitely cinematic, evocative of images on a large screen, a little like the great soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049, though much less electronic sounding and more electro-acoustic — processed real instruments as opposed to synthesizers. The percussive sounds are generally more reminiscent of orchestral percussion than a drum kit, and sometimes you might swear the original sound came from a big taiko drum. Fleeting impressions bring to mind piano, electric guitar, strings, or voices, but certainty is elusive. “Stormbruch” presents another side to Schwalm’s artistry, with vast swells of electronic sounds that almost feel like chords and wash over the listener like slow waves on a beach at night. This is bookended by serene meditations from a processed piano. Schwalm occupies a niche of electronic music that does not fit in with most other artists. How We Fall is not Berlin-style sequencing, not ambient space-out music, not dance-floor throbbing, not electro-acoustic experimentalism, not industrial noise… What it is might be harder to describe, but well worth investigating. Beautiful, fascinating, and unique.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): J. Peter Schwalm

More info
http://jpeterschwalm.bandcamp.com/album/how-we-fall

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Mani Neumeier - Sketches – When you hear the name Mani Neumeier you think of his body of work with Guru Guru and his zaniness in concert. In addition, when you hear that he has released his first solo album, Sketches, which he...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues