MYSTERY SEA 47 | Mirko
Uhlig | [The Nightmiller]
the misleading imagination of the author: Through the funnel in the
skullcap the afterglow’s dust leaked into the inner paceway sending
the mind’s scratching orchestra to Coventry. Coming to rest on
the wooden bench in front of the old tattered mill nearby the dunes.
The wind’s voice danced like Tilopa and got grinded by the millstones.
Piping on the marram grass.
the transition from golden to violet in the occidental crucible and
read what’s been written with kerosene chalk.”
The first version
of this album was finished in January 2007, containing two tracks. The
early edit of “The Nightmiller” sunk into the mysterious
waves of oblivion and the only thing I remembered was that I really
liked it in its entireness. And well, how surprised I was when listening
to it again (because the release date on Mystery Sea came closer and
closer): The opening track which I recalled as “relaxed”
and “contemplative” shaped up as a serene and even more
minimal version (BASIC TRACK) of that already published “Para
Puri” (on “Farewell Fields” with Dronæment).
A closed circle became a open triangle in one second. So I sent the
whole thing into the millstonesoundfactory again and was happy bout
my semi-senility afterwards - because now I could pay deference to my
recent love for sparse & eternal melody-loops – of course
taking my hat off to the incredible inspiring work of David Jackman
& William Basinski. I think, that is obvious. All these new arrangements
are based on melody fragments separated from a handful of small instrumental
songs I composed and recorded from 2006 to 2007 on an acoustic six string.
Thanks to all
who listen with their windows opened wide and two persons in particular:
Daniel who gave me a second chance to gain my swimming badge. R. for
washing the ditches.
Dedicated to all windmills, marram grass, surf, wooden benches and their
lovers in the whole wide world.
So – I hope
these three tracks endow you some few contemplative and quiet moments.
Music for staring. Music before a decampment. For erasing the sense
of guilt while doing nothing but a wooden waiting. For erasing the stutter
and the chatter. In the night. Into."
Uhlig, April 2008
Uhlig (b. 1981, in Aachen, Germany), both musician and producer,
and already the figurehead behind the rather acclaimed AALFANG MIT PFERDEKOPF
vivid surreal soundworld, has made the choice to use his own name for
a category of more minimal & contemplative works...
with various releases under this signature for EX OVO (label of which
he is besides the co-founder), FIELD MUZICK, and NEXTERA (a collab with
he now offers this splendid nocturnal ode to MS...
Mirko is clearly a poet, an utterly sensitive young
man possessed with rare visions of eloquent beauty...
With "The Nightmiller", he has refined his
style to such an extent that it seems to flow effortlessly, capturing
the ephemeral grace of a unique moment... so, just let yourself go,
drift inside in close communion, and listen now :
the slow drowning sun
still glowing in the flickering crimson sky
on an isolated shore...
the old windmill wings revolving
in unison with the world...
the words whispered gently in the mild air...
the curled up silhouette's breath
dreaming on that eroded wooden bench...
Nightmiller" spreads fragrances of moist grass under the
and oneiric dust,
unfolding a pregnant sea of everlasting wonder...
The Archon Star
02. Wooden Waiting
03. The Nightmiller
VITAL WEEKLY 636|Frans
So far the work of Mirko Uhlig
was highly appreciated here. Not because it's any 'new' by any sort
of standard, but his wanderings into the world of drone music can easily
match those in the field with a higher profile. The three tracks here
are more pieces from what Uhlig does best (his attempt
at 'noise' seemed an one off). Very soft in volume, this is drone music
of a highly nocturnal affair. Don't bring this into the daylight but
keep it covered for night time listening. You need to crank up the volume
quite a bit in order to hear something of the low fidelity drones, but
if you do the three parts will make perfect sense. Only the title piece
seems to be a bit louder, and could be sampled from Ravel's 'Bolero'
covered with a lot of hiss sounds. It's anyway hard to tell what it
is that Uhlig does here in terms of using sounds and/or instruments.
The drones are large, and could be processed field recordings, but I
think I also recognized some (sampled?) instruments in there. As said,
I think this is another fine release from Uhlig, even
when the whole ambient drone sound is a dead end alley.
to the slow drowning sun still
glowing in the flickering crimson sky on an isolated shore...
to the old windmill wings revolving in unison with the world...
to the words whispered gently in the mild air...
to the curled up silhouette's breath dreaming on that eroded wooden
"the nightmiller" spreads fragrances of moist
grass under the trembling stars, and oneiric dust, unfolding a pregnant
sea of everlasting wonder...
So far the linernotes to “The Nightmiller”,
Mirko Uhlig's recent album. This time on the Belgian
label Mystery Sea that according to its name sets its releases into
(meta-)focus of “sea”/”water”.
The musical common sense therefore is
a drone-attitude that can't be rationalized away. Especially one on
a long voyage through turgescent or decongestant water inspired soundscapes.
Much more apparent is the connection of the artwork with its variations
of some maritime/mysterious composition to the whole work. Nice to look
at on the label's site; each and every release as professional CD-R
in a jewelcase and: primarily done well!
And the reputation Mirko Uhlig
already owns according to his ideas as a musician (e.g. “VIVMMI”,
“Storm: Outside Calm Tames”, “The Rabbit's Logbook”,
“Farewell Fields”; the latter together with Dronæment)
and co-CEO (“Mandala Vol.1”, Feu Follet and Miina Virtanen
“The Icicle Lectures”, Richard Lainhart “White Night”)
gets underlined sustainably on the part of Mystery Sea: With „The
Nightmiller“ under his own name he can present the second
work within the label's discography after „Genmaicha: At The Opal
Seashore“ as his former alter ego Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf.
first of all is some gloomy muted soundgesture introduced by the 2 ½
minutes lasting „The Archon Star“. Nearly raw and smoothly
shaped but thereby also even comely and unsettling. „Wooden Waiting“
then begins as an almost soft, widespread, vague soundspace that guides
the view from the mill over to the waveless dark sea.
And although apparently being integral part from the start the feedbacks
peel their way through the song and into the listener's awareness after
some time. Balancing on the edge of hearing they give the (pseudo-)cozy
area some feeling of imponderability and prepare the upcoming of deep
subfrequencies that along with a more substantiated theme detach the
previous melody drift.
However it all leads into brighter and calmer waters, despising the
threatening auguries only to conduct the listener inside the mill where
a totally different volume prevails. Totally different to the minutes
before resting on the bench outside.
Accompanied by the rhythm of the mill work it goes through the different
floors and the hence resulting worlds of sound until everything loses
itself in the end.A perfect study in construction, decomposition and
interweavement. Preserving homogeneity at constant variance. Highly
A low mastering level, the instruments’
incidence often indiscernible, all sounds very cuddly to the ears, no
actual accidents. Isn’t this picture appropriate to what unadulterated
ambient should sound like? Mirko Uhlig has undeniably
generated the prototypical intangible album (this is praise, OK?). The
three tracks of “The Nightmiller” are barely
audible (unless you listen to them in absolute silence), their secreted
details even less, but guess what: they work fine, at least for the
large part. This is the kind of record that one can play ad infinitum
no problem - in particular, the marvelous “Wooden waiting”
- without realizing that the entire day went by. Its origin is (perhaps)
a combination of synthesizers and processing, yet I wouldn’t be
shocked if cloaked field recordings were included in there. MU has nothing
to declare, for the better. These subdued, lethargic waves crawl under
the floor to silently encircle this listener, taken by a concentration
that the music enhances rather than breaking. The whole becomes increasingly
mesmerizing; at one point, we seem to hear buried songs from the opposite
side of the room. It’s just a false impression of course, as Uhlig’s
structures are much uncomplicated, in exact antagonism to certain productions
of his alter-ego project, Aalfang Mit Pferdekopf. But, besides being
unfussy, they’re also gracefully efficient, which ultimately spells
the classification of this CD as “quite good”.
In The Nightmiller, there seems
to be all the infinity of Mirko Uhlig's own absence—that
is to say, it's a pure hole into which drains all of his past penchants
for machines of esoteric purpose vainly struggling to jar or achieve
autonomous operation. This is also to indicate that Uhlig's
new resistance is a kind of non-resistance; a sensitivity to the elements,
to their contours, density, dynamics, and timbre. He appears equally
open to their symbolic import: to the way these sparsely textured atmospheres
enable creation, time, infinity and multiple discrete universes to merge
in a satori flash. As a CD, it lasts all of 36 minutes and spans some
three tracks. It begins as a beatific luminescence that breathes air
and ripples out into an imagined distance, evoking a weight of being
behind every act. Uhlig's melodies develop slowly and
the oneiric structures betray an undercurrent of stealthy depths. It's
these depths that run into the albums second work, "Wooden Waiting",
where an intense focus upon the fine detail of the unfolding electronic
fields spreads over the immense richness of acoustic detail. Such slow-burning
episodes of beautiful, elegant, emotionally affecting passages of ambience
finds in the albums final piece an effective counterpoint, as grainy,
hissing loops shake up and then paralyze the tracks motion. The move
creates a dim space into which single guitar notes and rasping massed
melodic lines withdraw, leaving the dawning sensation that all is evaporating
in impenetrable darkness. Neither especially active or passive, The
Nightmiller nevertheless manages just enough permutation and
variation of a limited set of materials. As a result, the sounds and
spaces between them often float. Those acquainted with the vicelike
brutality and recalcitrantly challenging Uhlig may
find his wholehearted adoption of this elegiac tone difficult to fathom,
just as those who begin here will find it hard to believe he's ever
done anything else.
WONDERFUL WOODEN REASONS|Ian
I'm ill so I think it might just be
the medication talking but Nightmiller sounds to me
like a great job title.
'Who are you?'
'I am the Nightmiller! Beware my finely-ground floury
Mirko Uhlig's Nightmiller
however is a lot mellower than the one in my head. His is more
the painterly sort, delicately mixing his palette of only the warmest
of hues to create a sumptuously warm landscape into which to travel.
To continue with my painting metaphor, Uhlig works
with long, steady, confidant brushstrokes. His colours clear and precise.
At no point does this work feel spontaneous but instead there is an
aura of meticulous planning in this display of masterly technique.
If this description makes 'The Nightmiller' sound dry
and unwelcoming then I apologize because it is neither of these things.
While it is true that the immediacy of more unstructured or improvised
music is absent the sheer quality of what has been crafted in it's place
more than makes up for it and makes Nightmiller one
of the finest drone albums it's been my pleasure to hear this year.
wonderful wooden reasons
A favourite among the recent generation of
innovators in the ambient and drone genres, often partnering up with
the equally imaginative Tobias Fischer. In
the spirit of the ostensibly aquatic remit of Mystery Sea, Mirko
Uhlig keeps it dark and dank, with only a few pale shafts of
light winnowing their way through the murk.
This is quiet, quiet music, with just enough maritime roll to be lend
it a natural rhythm.The final, title track rattles its chains a bit
louder, but keeps them on a tight leash so that they glitter more than
clatter. Midway through it takes on a decidely "Bolero"-like
cast, albeit one invaded briefly by a higher-pitched Subcontinental
drone. The end comes like waking up from a dream.In
common with its attractive half-cover, The Nightmiller
only reveals part of itself; the rest is up to the listener to discern.
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