Random Album Review: Stimming Reflections

reflections.jpg
Stimming
Reflections
(Dynamic Music)

In an electronic music era over-saturated with dilettante bedroom

producers and prosaic cookie-cutter dance tracks, Martin Stimming

stands as a bold innovator with a musicianship and sound uniquely his

own. A relative newcomer to the international minimal scene, this

Hamburg resident has been gaining steady praise since 2007 with a

series of consistently compelling releases and intense live performances

around the world. 


The genius of his production style is marked by both a classical

melodic sensibility and a technical reverence that is as traditional as

it is cutting-edge. Stimming is an avant-garde artist in the best -and

least pretentious- sense of the term: wildly imaginative,

self-reflective (without taking himself too seriously) and unafraid of

taking the type of risks that threaten to alienate listeners but end up

winning them over by sheer force of originality. He is no more techno

than Aphex Twin or Matthew Herbert are techno, in that these artists

all reach far beyond the parameters of conventional EDM production,

using field recordings and mad studio science to defy all

expectations.


I'm going to venture the presumption that alot of critics will find

his debut artist album "Reflections" a bit dull, because, despite the

accepted notion that he produces dance music, this stuff is decidedly

more intelligent, cultivated and profound than your average dancefloor

fare. There are no instantly-gratifying club bangers here, but there

are plenty of thought-provoking and emotionally-resonant compositions

meant to be savored slowly at home. 


Stimming continues his exploration of scattered world rhythms,

organic textures and moody ambience over a series of 11 tracks that,

while staying true to his signature hip-swinging prerogative, also

offer more by way of emotional depth. "After Eight" is a funny little

charmer with vaguely ethnic stuttering vocal snippets and insistent

rhythms, quirky and refreshing. "The Loneliness" -in typical Stimming

fashion- surprises and amuses with its unconventional sampling of an

old-time blues harmonica (only he could get away with harmonica on a

"techno" production) and bittersweet lyrical vocals. Standout track

"The Beauty" builds up gently from blurry minimal textures into a

heart-wrenching and emotive chord-driven melodic statement. For a debut album

"Reflections" is highly promising and distinguishes Mr. Stimming

as an artist who will most likely stand the test of time and continue

to push the envelope.


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