Exposé Online banner

Michael Altenberger — Dark Matter
((Not on label) no#, 2016, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-04-29

Dark Matter Cover art

It’s been about five years since Mike Oldhill (who releases his material under his real name Michael Altenberger in his native Germany) released his debut album Eleven Explorers, which was a somewhat promising debut, but in the five years since his music has come a long way, both compositionally and in the multi-instrumental arrangements (primarily various keyboards and programmed percussion, but one can hear guitars and numerous other sounds in these eleven tracks), which tend to wander forward and rarely repeat themes, which for purely instrumental prog music is a definite plus, though it does tend to be a challenging listen. Even after a couple dozen plays of Dark Matter, this writer is still finding new sections that were missed on all those previous attentive listens. The compositions meander through classic symphonic prog, with touches of jazz, classical, and even some funky embellishments that walk the classic rock styles opening up here and there. Often I am reminded of the great Mexican symphonic band Cast, and its leader Alfonso Vidales, sans the lyrics and vocals – this is a purely instrumental endeavor. Frankly, it’s a real accomplishment that one person can create and execute compositions like this, play all of the instruments, and keep it interesting from beginning to end. There is a lot here, some ideas fly past and are never repeated, other themes to find some re-references, but not much; this is for the most part a stroll along a path that continually changes for the album’s 66 minute duration. The theme of Dark Matter is in reference to the darker aspects of the human mind, beliefs and science, which are explained track by track in the sixteen page illustrated booklet. But regardless, the music here speaks for itself, Altenberger has done a fine job on his sophomore release.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Altenberger (Mike Oldhill)

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Turning Point - Matador – Sophisticated jazz and fusion is an art form unto itself having been perfected to a certain degree by acts such as the Crusaders, Yellowjackets, and Russ Freeman. Part of Turning Point’s local...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues