Bersarin Quartett is the latest release from specialist experimental-electronica label, Lidar Productions. Little is known about the Bersarin Quartett apart from the fact that they hail from Münster and are possibly the creation of one man, named Thomas. This ‘lack of information’ shrouds the Quartett in a dark mysterious shadow and thusly adds an extra dimension to the Quartett’s offering. A further ‘dark and mystifying’ dimension is added via graphics with the album art showcasing a unique picture reminiscent of early 20th century Eastern-European theatre art. Of course the most important dimension is the music and the Quartett certainly live up to the image they have created through non-sonic communication. Across the 10 tracks on this 60 minute album, Bersarin Quartett create a murky, suspense-ridden and gracefully-arranged soundscape to a emotionally-touching movie that has yet to be written. Comparisons to artists like Murcof, Marsen Jules and Fennesz are inevitable but Bersarin Quartett’s vast range of stylistic approaches, disorientating arrangements and orchestral cinemascope aesthetic make them more than just stand in the shadows of their contemporaries.
The album starts off with the lush, sweeping soundscapes of ‘Oktober’, where a cinematic and graceful image is carved buoyantly into the minds of listeners. Each swell and decline of sonic-activity attempts to invoke a stirring sensation within the listeners body which sucks you further and further into the heart and soul of the music, whilst subtle and playfully-arranged, gaseous beats create an aura of enigmatic beauty. The angst-ridden, mournful strings continue on the following track, ‘Geschichten Von Interesse’ and are complimented by luscious keys, ominous aural-skree and glitchy micro-beats to create a soothing yet stirring Murcof-meets-Boards Of Canada style soundscape. Deep, reverberating drones, emotive-strings and thick slabs of dark-ambience fuse together in ‘Inversion’ to create a hypnotic score to a imaginary film. These sonic elements gradually become more intense and more distressing before briefly climaxing in a moment of Pendericki-esque psychosis. The rest of the track picks up where it started from, although the sound is more frail and turbulent.
On ‘St. Petersburg’, Bersarin Quartett unleash a magnificent epic. A real centerpiece of a track and a piece of work that Fernando Corona (Murcof) would be mighty proud of. Utilising a shifty combination of strings, keys and atmospheric drones, Bersarin Quartett craft a magical, micro-orchestral sound which is fizzing and buzzing restlessly. A smattering of thickly produced clicks and cuts then enters the fray and their out-of-sync tempos combine with large swathes of ethereal sonic-dust to create a really stirring and grand finale. ‘Und Die Welt Steht Still’ is the lengthiest track on the album weighing in at 8:51 and fully showcases the magical effect that sound can have on the listener. Ultra thick swathes of atmospheric-drone inset with micro-orchestral melodic motifs, steadily move to-and-fro across an endless astral soundscape. The soundscape starts to become slightly muffled and muted after a couple of minutes but this surprisingly sucks the listener deeper into the uncharted sonic-depths of the track. Magical, reverberating phaser-effects pass by listlessly as the sound starts to swell and by now the listener is totally consumed, lost in a warm and disorientating netherworld with the real world relegated to the depths of one’s imagination. Totally engrossing, this is sonic-ambience at its most powerful!
As the second half of the album approaches, the thick syrupy mélange of engrossing sound does not falter. The deep resonant drones on ‘Die Dinge Sind Nie So Wie Sie Sind’ are complimented by springy, jazzy percussion, the latter of which takes hold of the track halfway through. From obscurity, subtle yet stirring sound effects and a gorgeous melodic motif reminiscent of Bohren Und Der Club of Gore appear and proceed to create a warm and fuzzy, yet melancholy and contemplative soundtrack to a special moment that has long faded. ‘Nachtblind’ explores Bersarin Quartett’s more playful side as unhurried and thinly-veiled orchestral melodies give way to a forceful injection of effervescent beats and fizzing atmospherics. After the dense and shuffling soundscapes of ‘Endlich Am Ziel’ and the slow, creepy and fractured post-rock influenced sounds of ‘Endlich Am Ziel’ the listener is treated to what is possibly the strongest track on the album. Utilising many of the elements explored on previous tracks, Bersarin Quartett use this track to really explore their sound and in doing so manage to create their most full bodied piece of work. A pitching together of the light against dark, this is a mood-ravaged beast that explodes forth into a sublime piece of micro-techno. The sound utilises splintered sub-aqua drag-beats, progressive mutant-micro techno arrangements and purposely delayed heart-tugging strings. These elements are systematically interspersed with sprinklings of audio-turbulence and the whole package is wrapped up in a dark yet fragile, cinemascope aesthetic.
With their self-titled debut release, Bersarin Quartett have proved to be connoisseurs of a brand of electronica that requires much skill and delicacy to create. Developing and arranging intricately-layered soundscapes in a way that sucks the listener in and removes them from their physical location can only be undertaken by specialist producers and in a world that is chock full of fly-by-night, cookie-clutter electronica-lite artists, it is extremely refreshing to have the sounds of Bersarin Quartett seep from the over-worked speakers. With work of such quality, Bersarin Quartett will not be shrouded in mystery for long. Remember, you heard of them here first!
02. Geschichten Von Interesse
04. St. Petersburg
05. Und Die Welt Steht Still
06. Die Dinge Sind Nie So Wie Sie Sind
08. Es Kann Nicht Ewig Winter Sein
09. Endlich Am Ziel
10. Mehr Als Alles Andere