After treading experimental pop music styles, like Off the Trail (follow the link to check it out), ‘Dialog’ surfaces as the second instrumental piece, released consecutively. Mixed with cello performances that have continued kindling Tobias Vethake’s creative fire, Dialog opens communication for a host of fantastic musicians, each having a hand in creating and evolving the album.
Ángela Muñoz Martínez (nunofyrbeeswax)
João Orecchia (Hotel Mari)
Jörg Maria Zeger (Perlonex)
Kiki Bohemia (Slutty Clowns)
Lip Smh (Ex-Krikl-Krakl)
Manuel Klotz (Loft Party)
Each sound is a cylinder, operating harmoniously, cascading into reflections of the life within expression and creation, presenting a dialogue always invigorating. Released March 12, 2021, through blankrecords, this album comes in an orange, 12-inch vinyl, with fantastic writing from Thomas Khurana, expounding the album’s spine.
“dialog with Manuel Klotz” opens into a slight wash of claustrophobic sounds, darting from left to right in the audio passages, then trailing into the opaque realm of silence, leaving us feeling unacquainted but even more intrigued—flares of ambient thunder ablaze in orange hues cascading from delays flickering controlled forms. Reverberations are thunderous, parting the music, and the listener, to manifest the mountain king’s halls. Distorted harmonies prepare us for a new feature within the composition’s activity. We see tiny flickers of hope loom in the pervading ambivalent shadows, but immediately the music curves—avenues of distorted vortexes from distraught cellos and low-static blare under a controlled setting. A wonderful cello from Sicker Man accents the song with a much-needed organic cry. We hear, behind the breath of the cello’s solo, a faint human yell reflect just that through layers, woven in broken, rudimentary shapes. “dialog with Lip Smh” subtly contrasts the previous expressions.
Plucked strings, accompanied by soft, percussive beats, guide the atmosphere, with clouds parting, as a mysterious melody opens. Now, our flight in this enthralling space renders the spell of longevity. Sounds repeat from our introductory phase, with blips of sine-like textures secreting parabolic, low-rumbling, forcing then the track to add something beneficial. Sicker Man focuses the higher strings of the instrument’s neck, moving fluidly, patterns mellifluously gorging upon the starry music, leaving the aesthetic to move as a current. We wash out of this azure river with the low mumblings heard before the solo, as “dialog with Aidan Baker” soothes our minds from a land bathed in delicate poignancy. The slow movements of the cello’s air accommodate the clean-sounding bass strings. It’s within this moment, time, and the infancy in pursuit following, stop, merge, and coalesce into a hidden valley, where the brisk stars of imagination and wisdom reveal the simplicity behind ‘the pursuit of it all.’
With the cello now raising and stirring the moonlight’s breeze, the music becomes as surreal as it is, inductive. Energy pulses and flows as an alluring gift of sound and expertise. Low feedback rumbles, burying the cello’s light—distortion whirs and floods the audio channels. We transport to a destination of isolation. The cello’s tonality vacillates, repeats then dies as swiftly as the meditative practices. “dialog with Ángela Muñoz Martínez,” however, mixes things up. With muted strings resembling the ticking of clocks, we slowly blast into a new stratosphere.
Soft tribal drums force this ticking to rebel against organization, with creative uses of feedback, stirred into sounds trickling, fluctuating as high waves. The music is water, passing from one section to the next, in a flexible expansion towards new dimensions. Shrieks of refined, high-pitched (almost glitchy) textures exit, with “dialog with Jörg Maria Zeger” taking command. And, very commanding it is in both quality and minimalist power. Dark, atmospheric effects befall our ears when the atmospheric blanket departs, into myriad species advancing into position. The music is a relaxed heartbeat, as walking through a meadow, listening to the millions of invisible creatures surrounding. The artists and Sicker Man let the tracks feed into the next, being a great serpent of sound. “dialog with João Orecchia” is an exercise in all sorts of whimsical activity. Blips and electronic frequency form rhythm as a waterfall of soft, electric light fills the background. “dialog with Kiki Bohemia” feels like an immediate reversion back to the album, as “6” was merely an intermission. The sudden dark effects sink you into your seat, deeper, into the flesh of frequency. Deep bass treads low tones, somnolently blasting, unconsciously active, in the most oxymoronic way; its slow movement is riveting. The sky opens as the dark spaces pile below, a cello’s soothing melody forces us to experience the all of form, the pastoral dance of light and darkness. “dialog with Schneider TM” is a special anthem, a conglomeration of the arrangements performed throughout Dialog, but with a crisp feel that seizes the final moments of this album. The dirty cello effects sing with the soundscapes twisting and churning, in metamorphosis, in the evening of life. I enjoyed this activity, at times a feeling of celebration for the beauty that can translate from our excavations in the sound’s body and the duality of destruction. Sicker Man, and all the artists who’ve made this, blend these concepts into a thrill ride.