Video by Glitzies (Nina Werner, Bernd Schoch, Simon Quack, André Siegers)
Germany’s Bastian Epple edits movies during the day and makes kinetic
loops at night under the name MinaeMinae. His repetitive, hypnotic music
is centered around rhythm. He churns out beats that cycle while
electronic sounds gather around them, then shoot off into new patterns.
On Gestrüpp—his second album following last year’s Variante—the
loops are both transfixing and whimsical. The bouncy rhythms and spry
squiggles that dot each track are reminiscent at times of the Residents’
playful absurdities and Black Dice’s
more beat-happy jams. But Epple’s smart mix of sounds is unique, and
when his loops really kick in, the effect is as serious as can be.
Audiodays ...While much of “Gestrüpp” carries a sense of tension that is
established early on, the album works its way through many moods.
“Vertilger,” for instance, is dreamier, beginning with foggy chords that
eventually give way to plucked strings rising through clouds of delay.
“Urmünder” draws from a similar sonic pallet, sounding like a
conversation between different drums amid a backdrop of hazy chords.
On other songs, “Gestrüpp” explores whimsical dreamworlds. As the
warbling leads of “Flügelhüllen” snake though hand drum flurries, there
are voices of exaltation that somehow sound human, animal and electronic
all at once. However, the the most magical moments happen on the
album’s final track, “Algenüberzug,” which sounds like a psychedelic
music box. Here, the line between rhythm and melody has finally
dissolved, leaving only ringing circular sequences that could happily
stretch on forever.
Minae Minae's Bastian Epple follows up his 2019 debut album with another excursion into modular synthesis and acoustic loops and rhythms. Last years Variante — released on New York's Human Pitch — explored the rural German producer's first encounter with India through psychedelic grooves and alien melodies that were both immersive and infectious. This year's Gestrüpp reduces those initial ideas of the unknowable nature of otherness to a more stripped back ambient composed of analogue sounds, synths and organic drum samples; tape echo and delay. Some of the irregular, or unfamiliar tempos of Variante remain, while drawing more on the DIY aesthetic of a self-taught village musician. Hence, the jazz funk warmth of the previous record is sacrificed in favour of a less exoticised conceptual foundation.
Groove Bastian Epple, holt als MinaeMinae seine ungeraden Loops ebenfalls aus edler Vintage-Hardware, Modular-Racks in diesem Fall. Gestrüpp (Marionette),
zweites Album des süddeutschen Teilzeit-Synthesizerexperten, eiert und
dengelt sich polyrhythmisch entlang metallischer Lo-Fi-Loops die eine
immense Körperlichkeit entwickeln. Ein roher Minimalismus, der an Stefan
Schwanders Tiki-Techno-Projekt Harmonious Thelonious erinnert.
...Some of these rhythmic gyrations are
hypnotising. There are the ever-changing beats of ‘Vertilger’ for
example, where the introduction of a new groove can sound like someone’s
just dropped a saucepan. Then we have follow up track ‘Nackenwirbel’, a
quiet and lowkey charmer, which nevertheless finds the wit to shuffle
through its allotted time in a manner weirdly reminiscent of Fela Kuti.
The fleeting, floating, Harmonia-style key part is great too.
‘Flügelhüllen’ follows a similar path and is probably the most charming
of all these pieces.