MYSTERY SEA 47 | Mirko Uhlig | [The Nightmiller]


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-"Beware 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.

“Wait for 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."

- Mirko Uhlig, April 2008


Mirko 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 dronæment), 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 :

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 bench...

"The Nightmiller" spreads fragrances of moist grass under the trembling stars,
and oneiric dust,
unfolding a pregnant sea of everlasting wonder...



01. The Archon Star
02. Wooden Waiting
03. The Nightmiller




VITAL WEEKLY 636|Frans De Waard  
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.
vital weekly

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 bench...
"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.

The Nightmiller“ 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 recommended.


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”.
touching extremes

e/i|Max Schaefer  
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.

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 wrath!!!'
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

SONOMU|Stephen Fruitman
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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