Second part of Esmark’s double debut release. Mara II contains more hauntingly isolated minimal electronics, groaning out of an array of analogue equipment manned by Alsen Rau (On + Brr/Scheich in China) and Nikolai Von Sallwitz (Karachi Files/Taprikk Sweezee). Think of a minimal, less noise focus Nate Young. LP on Bureau B.
7/10 Jamie Staff review, 25 July 2017
Electronic music at its most haunting and haughty, now. Abstract and abstruse. Homemade horror / sci-fi soundtracks. Throbbing, blinking, twitching modular machines linked up via an untidy mass of connector cables and unwieldy scuffed boxes, no doubt, and chains of fx and filter boxes too, of course. That’s the (very likely) setup of these two guys naming themselves Esmark, after a glacier at Spitzbergen.
So Alsen Rau and Nikolai von Sallwitz (for Esmark is they) produce icebergs out of their machines. This collection of icebergs they’ve dubbed ‘Mara II’ (I’ve not been supplied with Mara I but these guys, at least, are nothing if not consistent).
The sounds glower and pulse ominously and they rumble on and relentlessly on. Sometimes the icebergs catch glimpses of weak sunshine and refract tiny shafts of light, glistening back at you. These moments are rare however; it’s more often notable how much darkness emanates from these analog boxes. The majority of the ice is under the water after all; very dark and very icy indeed. The duo recorded this record in Scandinavian solitude, and I must say the results are bringing out my agoraphobic tendencies nicely. Pulses of minimal sound punish through repetition. It’s a surprisingly addictive form of punishment, in fact... I may stay in tonight.
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- Mara II by Esmark
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