Category: Ambient / IDM / Experimental
Album: Second Life
Blurb: Reworking of Geiger’s seminal Autumn Fields might appeal to his fans but will have tough time winning him new ones.
Dirk Geiger’s second album was released to enthusiastic reviews and Second Life offers, quite literally, a chance to extend its lifetime. As usual, however, when it comes to remix albums, there is a strong dissonance at the heart of this compilation that at once strives to preserve Autumn Fields’ gentle mood and add a distinct flavor of its own; or, as in this case, a flavor manufactured by no less than 14 different artists. The resulting release is consistently solid if limited by a strong identity of its prior.
Autumn Fields defined itself as an album carefully crafted from an array of overlapping sounds that somehow managed to avoid becoming overwhelming. The remix of “Night in Haskovo” by Almaach, which opens Second Life, dismisses the faint melodic line that was present in Geiger’s version and instead seems fascinated with its ambient attributes. What becomes apparent as the record unfolds is that, just like Almaach’s effort, most of the tracks focus only on one of the aspects of the rich musical tapestry created by Geiger and fail to sustain the careful balance between music and environmental noise. Pleq’s “Autumn Life” is layered with distortions but is monotonous while Anhst Anders’ remix of the same song is more rhythmical but lacks necessary depth and complexity.
Ultimately it’s the pursuit of separate qualities, all of which on Autumn Fields played out organically, that leads Second Life astray. With conflicting interests of contributing musicians defining each individual track rather than shaping the entire album, it fails to recapture the grace of Geiger’s music that sweeps effortlessly from the gentle hum of a busy street through paces of pure electro to bedlam of glitches and beeps. All of these elements are still present but disjointed and fragmented, failing to resonate with any coherence. Hotaru Bay’s “Winter Senses” with its new, grittier, raw sound emerges as one of the most interesting tracks, replacing the considerately paced, relaxing beat of the original with a vibe that is simultaneously more aggressive and delicate. Unfortunately, not all of the songs received similarly effective, idiosyncratic treatment that would help to elevate the album beyond forgettable craftsmanship.
Overall, Second Life sounds too familiar and attempts neither to reengineer nor excel upon the templates provided by Autumn Fields and will therefore gain little audience outside of its established admirers or fans of IDM in general. Simply put, these new renditions not only hesitate to boldly distinguish themselves from Geiger’s original tracks but strip them of their intricacy. It’s still a soothing and altogether competent bag of remixes that tries to make Autumn Fields just a tad more accessible but essentially not at all different or better.
Dirk Geiger Website http://www.dirkgeiger.com
Dirk Geiger MySpace http://www.myspace.com/dirkgeiger
Dirk Geiger Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dirkgeigermusic
Dirk Geiger ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/dirkgeiger
Dirk Geiger SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/dirkgeiger
Tympanic Audio Website http://tympanikaudio.com
Tympanik Audio MySpace http://myspace.com/tympanik
Tympanik Audio Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tympanik-Audio/137795642739
Tympanik Audio Twitter http://twitter.com/tympanik
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)