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

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Grand Trick - The Decadent Session – To tell you the truth, I have a difficult time getting into this music. I have made several attempts to listen to this CD, but I was never a real big fan of heavy rock music, even in the seventies....  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues