Mathias Grassow "Sonnenwende" 2xCD
"Sonnenwende" double CD is another chapter on Swedish gterma label focusing on fascinating mysteries of the cosmos. Released during May of 2013, German drone master returns at the top of his unmeasurable craft on "Sonnenwende" and explores solstice event. Disc one is exposing summer solstice, while the second one is taking you to winter solstice realms. As usual for all gterma artworks, the release is accompanied by stunning pictures (16-page booklet) by gterma's protagonist Johan Rehn. Extensive booklets are quite rare these days on this scene, but the label keeps this concept, so I can't start with anything else than awarding first extra points to Johan. You have my deep respect!!!
Mathias fires this exceptional odyssey through summer solstice with long-form piece "Drifting Dawn", which clocks to nearly 30 minutes. Monotonously mind-bending drone, calls of fauna and fragile mysterious tinkles invite each listener to experience absolutely magnificent spheres filled with infinite spirit and grace. Overtone voice magic-like drone steals the show and floats through endless spirals of massive intensity and revealing grandness. Will this man ever stop? This is a pure sonic magic!!! The next composition, "Endless", gets over 7 minutes "only". It's less monumental, but enough chasmal at the beginning and also more "melodious", when slightly tribal-infused pulse sneaks in, prevails and circles, while additional layer intensely cascades and culminates. "Into The Small Hours" shifts quickly into minimal, flatline atmozones, drifting into aerially sublime and tranquilly mesmerizing horizons of gracious immenseness. Gorgeously relieving trip!!! Fragile acoustic strings invade the following cut, entitled "Seven Sisters", and caress the ears (Seven Sisters is the name of chalk cliffs on the Sussex Heritage Coast). Later slowly expanding surroundings appear and intermingle with the stringed wizardry, all wrapped in slightly medieval mood. Dramatic transitions during the second third shift into droning passageway leading to more rhythmic part spiced by expressive bowed strings. Quite unique stuff, this must be Mathias Grassow at his weirdest!!!
Winter solstice is ignited by "The Sleeping Forest", another longer piece getting to nearly 23 minutes. It briskly moves back to traditional dronescaping territory where Mathias masterfully sandwiches layers of drifts. Driven by gracefully divine choir-like drone, here and there emphasized by intenser peaks, yet still tremendously expansive and spellbindingly immersing. This is a gigantic, multi-dimensional drone alchemy of the highest caliber, the gates to the drone heaven are unlocked!!! 22-minute "Twilight Tribes" unfold quite relieving at the beginning, although ghostly guards ride above the deep abyss. Gradually evolving texture becomes more tangible and dense, while the voices transform into heavenly form. Mysterious tinkles and remote rumbles emerge occasionally. Dronewalls get thicker and thicker and climb to a phantasmal peak. Colossal intensity of this track is just unbelievable, an utterly transcendental journey awaits!!! Following composition entitled "Pearls Of Ice" spreads with serene intro, but soon gorgeously spacious bowed strings awake along with celestially exquisite female choirs. Stunningly symphonic feel is quickly achieved and graciously floats throughout the entire length of 29-minutes. Deeply magnificent mindscaping experience continues!!! "Midwinter Century" is the closing, shorter piece hauntingly merging slower, but booming and echoed tribal beats with distant static drones, which slowly increase into more panoramic size.
"Sonnenwende" is a truly monstrous double set, an all-embracing virtuoso performance by The Drone Shaman and one of the most remarkable releases of 2013!!! Kudos to both, Mathias Grassow & gterma!!! A drone tour de force!!! And by the way, 4 days ago was released on gterma a brand new CD by Mathias Grassow, entitled "Tamanoshima", diving into more minimal terrains... Does The Drone King ever sleep?
Richard Gürtler (Oct 27, 2013, Bratislava, Slovakia)