Music News

B. Fleischmann

Even as it ages, Generation Hip-hop will never appreciate classical music to the same degree previous generations have. We're myopically fixated on rhythm, so despite the bombastic, dramatic heights a 60-piece orchestra can achieve, unless there's a bangin' kettle drum break, we'll probably shrug it away as lame. Fortunately, there's a middle ground that's far more intriguing.

Working out of Vienna, the cradle of classicalism, Bernhard Fleischmann has over the years released several albums of minimalist dance music. His latest, The Humbucking Coil, is named after an old, obscure guitar-effects gadget. So rather than focus on machine rhythms, here Fleischmann's washy, watercolor guitar tone paints radiant sunrises and lonely, blue-black nights. The opening track, "Broken Monitors," is all gently plucked chords and half-forgotten beats, seven delicate minutes so darned pretty that they'll make you call your S.O. just to say "I love you." Sung-spoken vocals waft up on "Gain" and "From To," humanizing songs that otherwise might soundtrack an angel's opium dream, while buzzing, hair-on-the-projector effects and "Static Grate"'s reedy clarinet wrap the ears in analog warmth. Which will hopefully hold true years from now, when we need wool cardigans just to sit in the La-Z-Boy. If this is new old folks' music, retirement never looked so sweet.

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Jonathan Zwickel