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Mare Ki Records

On the other side of house and techno from club-oriented tracks you have music like Christian Löffler's, which is tender, emotively resonant and though generally melancholic, always inclined towards a contemplative beauty. What marks Mare out in comparison to Löffler's other work is its dispensing with sample-based production methods. Löffler recorded virtually every sound on the album with field recordings and the incidental sounds of his studio's natural surroundings.

Ultimately, the end result is a bit less subtle and more obvious than it might have been. It's an unashamedly pretty piece of work that straddles the boundary between the profound and moving and the extremely sincere and sentimental. Whether it falls on the side of powerful or saccharine will probably depend on the listener, but either way it'd be cynical not to admire the detail and care with which it’s been made.

As on his last album, A Forest, Löffler collaborates with singer Mohna on several of these tracks and they are generally the highlights. The title track is a thing of spellbinding wonder. Löffler scales back the marimba and xylophone melodies that often lead and focuses on grainy, crackling percussion to let Mohna's captivating voice dominate and it brings out the best in both of them. It's more abstract and striking than most of what's on offer here, and it’s what I'd like there to be more of, because as impressive a piece of craft as Mareis, its earnestness is occasionally a little cloying.

Thomas Sprackland