The Immersive Project – The Immersive Project

Posted: 7 May 2017 in Albums
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Spezialmaterial / Staubgold – SM052 – 6th June 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

You’d expect an act as boldly named as The Immersive Project to make music which is nothing short of completely immersive and engaging from the outset. Even if you wouldn’t, I certainly would, and did, and so was a shade perplexed when my initial reaction wasn’t ‘wow’, but ‘what?’ Snaking bossa nova beats and strutting strings conjure an exotic vibe on the album’s first track, ‘Middle Class Massage’. Is the medium the massage? Am I missing something?

The Immersive Project is a collaborative work, the product of the shared endeavours of musical percussionist Holger Mertin based in Cologne, and electro musician Michael ‘Koko’ Eberli from Zurich. As such, it’s one of those works which could only exist in the modern age, in which distance is no object and geography is a state of mind. The pieces contained herein are what can emerge when collaborators bounce ideas off one another’s ideas, rather than one another, with producer Marco Riedener’s contribution being such that he is named on the cover as the Project’s third member.

‘Pizzifikato’ begins with soft, finger percussion and trilling strings before a trudging march and swampy bassline stroll in to create a dense atmosphere oozing with a sense of esoteric mysticism. Elsewhere, ‘Hilo’ (which features Eberhardt Kraneman of Kraftwerk / Neu renown) hurls a whole heap of stuff together, with bits and pieces of post-punk disco, wibbly synthtronica, bulbous bass and jittery grooves criss-crossing one another all over the shop. What indeed?

It’s certainly varied in its scope, with ambient and semi-ambient explorations interspersing the various forays into experimental dance. At times eerie, often playful, this is a work that defies ready categorisation. It’s not mood music, it’s not dance music: as on ‘Zwerchfell Schwingt’, the clattering, booming thuds are distant and contribute more to the creation of atmosphere than groove. And while the majority of the compositions are strongly orientated toward the rhythmic aspect, it’s by no means a beat-driven album.

‘Regenmann’ brings some chilled, swampy, vibes, and the attention to detail, both within each piece and the overall flow of the album becomes increasingly apparent with each listen. Textures and tones compliment and juxtapose alternately, often confounding expectations from one moment to the next. Such focus on variance and nuance requires a huge create commitment: an immersion on behalf of the creators. It does take a little bit more effort on the listener’s part to fully engage and to appreciate this, but ultimately, the rewards are there for the taking.



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