Artist : Martin Shulte
Title : Silent Stars
Label : RareNoiseRecords
Release : March 2011
Genre : Dub Techno / Ambient
Martin Schulte - Silent Stars
04. In My Memory
06. The Fog
10. The Butterfly
Dub techno. Dub tech. Dub electro. Electro Dub. Whatever you want to call it, there are few artists or band that get the sound just right. There are plenty of groups that might kick out an occasional tune but hesitate to call it their day job. One young man who isn't afraid to wear the dub tech hat is Russian, Martin Schulte. Martin's newest album is a dub tech diamond that gets better and better with each listen. Silent Stars is an album full of lush, deep, dub chord stabs and waterfalls of echoing feedback that resonate with your molecules and relaxes you to your very core.
Martin states that his intention on the album was to reflect the thought patterns of the stars in the sky. If stars had thoughts what would they be thinking or wanting to share with us. I tend to ignore what artists say their music is about because when it comes down to it we can only make up our own minds and react to music in our own way. That's probably why I don't do reviews like this too often ;>
The album begins with the thematic 911 - a minimal glitchy dub number interspersed with samples of 911 emergency call outs. Yeah okay that could be a cheesy disaster but not this time , here it is expertly handled and Martin produces a track of edgy brilliance.
The second tune, Galaxy, reminds me of a waking city. The early morning sun casting shortening shadows and the concrete jungle tries to soak up what available sunlight there is to recharge and start the day. A brief break for lunch and then the city reaches optimum output functionality before the sun sets and the city sleeps once more.
The next tune, Monday, hints to a bit of early Future Sound Of London with the bubbling bird like synth layers flying over a canopy of alien Amazonian creatures. It even has a bit of a tribal house feel to it or perhaps a touch of minimal techno but this is pure relaxation - not pimpin' nation.
After that we have In my Memory, perhaps the most garage like tune on the album. Possibly for that reason alone it didn't really do much for me. I've never been much a fan of open hi hats - reminds me of too many dodgy night clubs from back in the 90s. I'll give that one some time. Maybe it will grow on me.
Now, this next tune, Evening, is very interesting indeed. Here we have tune that while devoid of much atmosphere has some very cool things going on. I especially like how each element is given its own place in the sonic spectrum through the clever use of reverb and spatializing. What you end up with is an effect that is not unlike looking at an aquarium of sound. You don't so much see the whole aquarium as much as the beautiful individual fish. Excellent ambient dub that will massage the left side of your brain.
The Fog is my personal favorite on the album. This is also the most ambient of all tracks on the CD. A tune full of wonder. A sleepy cocktail of brooding bass and parallel dub chords echoing off into the distance on waves of foggy vibrations. Combine with the occasional scrapes and heartbeats of unseen entities and you have a massive ambient tune in the vein of Yagya or Biosphere.
As we emerge from the fog our tour continues to the industrial wastelands. Space is a track that sends me into the heart of a factory. But not just any factory. I'm seeing a factory that produces atmosphere. The air we breath. Perhaps Space isn't such a bad name in that respect. Awesome.
The hypnotic rhythms of the factory floor continue as we head into track 8 , Observatory. We are back into tech/house ambiance again and find ourselves sliding along at a beautiful pace. This is top down , Venture highway cruising. Red sunsets reflecting off the cosmos.
Angels. The pace doesn't let up here but we have ditched the soft top for a flying carpet. Lift off. The beats hit a little harder but never hard enough to wake you out of the hypnotic coma the album has you trapped in. A bouncy jaunt of flighty fancy.
Another favorite of mine, The Butterfly, deserves to be heard by all lovers of ambient music regardless of ambient genre. What appears to be a rather minimal tune on first listen offers up more and more on subsequent returns. This is an incredibly complex work of art. So deeply ambient it is almost subterranean. The bassline is like nothing I've heard in an ambient tune before. It's quick,almost dance floor like, but dancing is the last thing on your mind when you hear this tune. It wraps around you like a glowing blanket of solar wind. Stunning.
Martin has created something rather special in Silent Stars. This is music for gazing out of places. For looking out of the windows of moving trains. For watching the world drop beneath you from the comfort of your airplane seat. It invites you to be alone with the music in whatever environment you find yourself in. Not to be physically alone but rather alone in your thoughts. It's contemplative medicine subscribed by Dr. Stressbegone. At just 22 years of age Martin has already put out something like 7 or 8 albums. I hope he doesn't run out of ideas and see he own star become a supernova someday.