Marionette • 2023

Bastian Epple’s music is based on interlocking yet discrete elements. »Räumlichkeit« (»Spatiality«) is the third album he has released under his pseudonym MinaeMinae and the titles of the 15 pieces are esoteric or, more precisely, elliptical. At first inattentive glance they seem to make up a text together, a poem perhaps, but on closer inspection they turn out to be a sample collage of words and (half-)phrases. Spatiality or, more precisely, descriptions of location, nevertheless seem to run through them as a sort of indirect leitmotif. This makes them a reliable, albeit enigmatic key for the music pieces themselves. Already the opener »Schaue dir« (»Look at«) is somewhat reminiscent of Jan Jelinek’s jazz abstractions, intertwining warm sound textures with bright percussive sounds and an underwatery saxophone lick, »insbesondere, wenn« (»especially if«) picks up with mbira rhythms, clacking hi-hat sounds and the modest melodic use of reed instruments.

There is little that concretely relates these two pieces to each other and yet they seem to logically be related to one another. Effects like these permeate throughout the entire album, on which even booming kick drums (»jetzt Einwände kommen«, loosely »now objections are coming«) or funky harmonies (»(genau genommen die Erddrehung)«, »(the Earth’s rotation, to be precise)«) never interfere with the overall sound composition, but only add more and more nuances to it. The individual pieces’ character is defined by the sonico-spatial relationship of the individual elements to each other, and what connects them as a whole is the consistency with which Epple implements this with ever different means, using above all modular synthesis, but also tape echoes, samples and guitar as well as other acoustic instruments. Of course, this makes it comparable to various strains of (post-)minimal music or even the clicks’n’cuts aesthetic, if the latter were given a more organic touch. But more than anything, it is perfectly at home into the catalogue of Epple’s label Marionette, where Benjamin Kilchhofer or Julian Sartorius have proceeded in very similar ways on their respective albums.