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

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Änglagård - Epilog – Since Änglagård's superb 1992 debut Hybris, more than a few folks have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up effort from this magnificent Swedish ensemble. Everyone wondered — would they be able to...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues