REVIEW: MinaeMinae – Gestrüpp

Artist: MinaeMinae

Title: Gestrüpp

Label: Marionette

Release Date: March 17, 2020

With MinaeMinae’s “Gestrüpp,” the latest offering from Marionette, the label continues to champion percussive experimental sounds that can be both unassuming and surprisingly dense, depending on how deep the listener is willing to go.

MinaeMinae is the musical outlet of German film editor Bastian Epple, who was encouraged by former roommate Don’t DJ to begin releasing the music that had been a lifelong hobby for Epple. Translating roughly to undergrowth or bramble, the title “Gestrüpp” evokes the record’s complex, asymmetrical patterns and interwoven strands of melody.

On “Flossensäume,” the album’s opener, synthesized phrases set an ominous tone while churning bass and drums provide a loose foundation. Building on that foreboding energy is “Luftschöpfen,” which incorporates its own unconventional polyrhythms and vivid atmosphere.

While much of “Gestrüpp” carries a sense of tension that is established early on, the album works its way through many moods. “Vertilger,” for instance, is dreamier, beginning with foggy chords that eventually give way to plucked strings rising through clouds of delay. “Urmünder” draws from a similar sonic pallet, sounding like a conversation between different drums amid a backdrop of hazy chords.

On other songs, “Gestrüpp” explores whimsical dreamworlds. As the warbling leads of “Flügelhüllen” snake though hand drum flurries, there are voices of exaltation that somehow sound human, animal and electronic all at once. However, the the most magical moments happen on the album’s final track, “Algenüberzug,” which sounds like a psychedelic music box. Here, the line between rhythm and melody has finally dissolved, leaving only ringing circular sequences that could happily stretch on forever.

-Joe Rihn

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