German composer/producer Markus Sieber assumes the Aukai moniker for his debut LP after moving away from his recent career in acting. He manages to channel the drama of his last profession through cinematic, orchestrated acoustic ambiences evoking the feeling of travel and memories of time spent in natural surroundings, all of this subtly enhanced by electronics. Enticing!
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First off: Wow. What a beauty. This guy! This record! So Markus Sieber has a back story (as most people but not all top-notch musicians do, but I digress). He spent the ‘90s in rock bands in East Germany, dropped his guitar for acting, then travelled to Mexico and ‘found’ music, again. Now he rolls out his leaf-strewn carpet with its amber-brown hues and invites us to share his inner world; peyote, presumably, optional.
Widely garnering many plaudits already, the named references and superlative adjectives that leapt from the press release have already had my head spinning. But I remain steady, reader; (partly) for you. Is it good? First impression, yes. Very good. Stellar, delicate musicianship that rings out of my headphones. Grounded in stately atmospherics, these acoustic ambient soundscapes radiate calm with a touch of melancholy, reminiscent of both classic Eno and Ryuichi Sakamoto at his most cinematic and elegiac. I can’t deny how autumnal this record feels, making me a tiny bit sadder. Could this be the soundtrack to make those darker, longer nights more bearable? Perhaps.
Most impressive is how Sieber manages to pull together the sounds of Central Spain and the Yorkshire Moors. His guitar resonates with a fireside warmth and yearns like a cottage-bound fisherman. Special mentions must go to cellist Anne Muller (Agnel Obel band and Nils Frahm collaborator) and sound designer Alexander Nickmann for pulling together the various strands, weaving them together cohesively and tying it all off neatly. Well done, now where’s my blanket?
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