Exposé Online banner

J. Peter Schwalm — The Beauty of Disaster
(RareNoise RNR059, 2016, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2016-03-18

The Beauty of Disaster Cover art

Not so long ago we covered a new release by Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams, and here we have another solo outing from one of Eno’s recent cohorts, German sound sculptor J. Peter Schwalm. Unlike Abrahams, whose music is a kind of manipulated electronic pop, Schwalm gives us a variety of sounds, from highly abstract masses of notes and noise to swirling arrays of piano notes and loping drums. Each track has its own identity, though all work as parts of a whole. Such elements as shimmery guitar notes (along the lines of Fripp & Eno), serene piano tones (a bit like Cluster), spooky strings (think Stratosfear), and indistinct masses of reverb are melded with more modern stuttering percussive sounds to create a fascinating sonic world. The whole album works as a journey through differing terrains, never the same but never completely foreign (to each other or to what we might expect). Nothing seems gratuitous, nothing superfluous, everything works towards Schwalm’s vision. It’s superb music for dark rooms and headphones, and stirs up gauzy images that flicker and pass by. The Beauty of Disaster is indeed beautiful, though not cloyingly so, and is in no way a disaster, but a worthy addition to modern electronic music.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): J. Peter Schwalm

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Iconoclasta - La Reencarnación de Maquiavelo – This is the recent release from Mexico's premiere band. However my first question, after noting that the band is now ten years old, was, "Have they sold out yet?" Seems like all the best do...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues