Tiento de las Nieves by Thomas Koner

Once one half of one of Berlin's most forward thinking dub techno acts, Porter Ricks, Thomas Koner continues his ongoing obsession with the frozen wastelands of the North with this LP. Inspired in equal measure by the pioneering spirit of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and Tiento, a traditional form of keyboard music from Spain, this new composition blends majestically spare piano with the dense drifts of drones and tones for which Koner has become legendary. 

Vinyl Double LP £32.99 DEN215LP

180g vinyl 2LP on Denovali.

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CD £13.49 DEN215CD

Digipak CD on Denovali.

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Tiento de las Nieves by Thomas Koner
1 review. Write a review for us »
7/10 Laurie 05 December 2014

There is a lot of music out there that focuses on filling emptiness as much as possible, presumably in a desperate attempt to distract artists and listeners from their inevitable doom. Just keep playing those chords Jimmy, it’ll be alright! More cymbal crashes! Woo! Well, German peddler of morose music Thomas Koner has a thing or two to quietly say about that - just stop. Stop for just one second.

It’s more like stop for 60 seconds really, such is the sparseness of latest album 'Tiento de las Nieves'. Carefully chosen sounds are left to die away after their onset, hanging on in time until they absolutely HAVE to give way to silence. The blurb claims that he is making music that is “something filling the space of the temporal dimension”, instead of “a succession of multi-layered sounds”. Well, the second is indeed in the same category as the first - the majority of music fills up time and this is no exception. But the key point is in the term ‘multi-layered’, as 'Tiento de las Nieves' features minimal instrumentation, the only combinations of sounds coming in subtle blends. Piano takes the centre stage, its long, natural decay lending itself perfectly to dark ambient. The other layers seem to be pianos stretched electronically into obscured string ensembles and thrown through an obscene amount of reverb. This all combines to adequately portray the desolate travels of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and the cold white wastes that he occupies.

Harmonic and textural progressions are so damn gradual that, once the chords eventually shift, you can’t help but (inwardly) scream for more development for the 68-minute length. I know that’s the point, but there are other things in the white wastes, like towering rock escarpments and bloodthirsty yetis. Or how about a cosy huddle in the tent when you can no longer see your hands for the depth of the night? Don’t tell me this dude Nansen just kept walking, how would he be able to work with refugees if he had become an icicle?? An admirable and bleak ambient album this is, but it doesn’t stop the raucous indie pop from the Norman hifi cutting in between the darkly chiming piano.


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