Author Topic: My review of "Before Time" CDr by Mario Grönnert and CommonSen5e  (Read 1264 times)


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Mario Grönnert and CommonSen5e "Before Time" CDr

"Before Time" is a collaborative project involving German drone ambient artist Mario Grönnert, based in Quedlinburg, and US sound sculptor Mason Metcalf from Portland, recording under his moniker CommonSen5e. Both of them have previously released several solo digital albums, then their first joint effort entitled "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Silhouettes of Urbia" came out in February 2016 on Austrian Audiokult label as a pro CDr limited edition of 150 copies packaged in a quite impressive black & white designed 6-panel digipak. The newest sonic endeavor "Before Time" EP by Mario Grönnert and CommonSen5e was self-released in the middle of June 2017 as a 4-panel digipak, this time limited to 50 copies. Just the same as with their preceding cowork, the black & white layout is masterfully executed by Claudia Holzweissig of Zwiegestalten Art & Design studio from Magdeburg in Germany featuring stunningly mysterious pictures by talented US iPhone photographer Buckner Sutter.

The EP unfolds with nearly 13-minute composition "Point Black", which immediately sets the atmosphere of nebulously colored and intriguingly immersing sceneries meticulously coalescing with incredibly transporting surreal visuals. Intangibly solitary blankets with synthesized flute-infused cascades persistently juxtapose with slightly rawer hissy billows. On one side nearly poetic lighter, but richly nuanced lyrical subtleties, on the opposite steadily undulating and dissonantly gurgling and hushing, yet always rather calmer than ear-piercing layers of encircling oracular reflections. Sonorously evocative scenario exquisitely hanging in the fissure between ambient and dark ambient realms. Well-done, guys!!! 12-plus minutes long "The Dreamweaver" is propelled by helixing drone trembles constantly permeated by remote rumbles, glimpsing bullroarer traces, ambiguous clickety-claks, gossamery titillating high-tech glitches, ephemeral rainy vistas, glancing voice fragments and unforeseen emerging epic magnitudes clandestinely transmogrifying into transcendentally reverberating subterranean terra incognitas. Auxiliary primordial artifacts percolate as well, while genius loci is guarding above. A quite perplexingly colored and rather peculiarly sculpted dark ambience is profoundly exhibited here by two gifted protagonists, so don't expect to be confronted with treadbarely ominous modus operandi.

The talents of Mario Grönnert and Mason Metcalf as CommonSen5e have been converged and then amalgamated into a strikingly challenging and substantially focused style, which I am quite sure will please many devoted aficionados of obscurer soundscaping. And that's what both these artists did already on their previous full length recording "Nightmares and Dreamscapes: Silhouettes of Urbia". Sure, "Before Time" with its 25-minute EP running time is rather shorter to my taste, especially when the deep immersion blossoms into its well-hidden potential, however, I can easily imagine Mario Grönnert and CommonSen5e joining in the future the multicultural roster of Cryo Chamber. Kudos to Mario and Mason as well as to Zwiegestalten and Buckner Sutter for displaying their artistry too. And on the top of all this, you also might want to explore some of the solo digital releases of its both creators, for example Mario Grönnert's debut "From Land to Light", available through his Bandcamp site, is a truly splendid work, which certainly deserves to be unveiled and released one day on a physical format. CommonSen5e's tracks can be experienced through his SoundCloud site.

Richard Gürtler (Oct 15, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)