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klimek - Dedications
It's so long since the Anticipate label was just a stray thought in the mind of Brooklynite Ezekiel Honig, but in the last year or so we've seen it grow from that simple idea into a beautiful butterfly, with killer releases from Mark Templeton, Morgan Packard and recently Sawako. Anticipate has aligned itself with fellow New York label 12k, albeit with a wide-reaching organic twist, so it's hardly surprising that more established artists have caught sight of the label, one of which is German ambient pioneer Klimek (aka Sebastian Meissner), who made his name recording for the legendary Mille Plateaux and Kompakt imprints. His sound has always been balanced on the electronic processing of 'real instruments' - guitars primarily, and this philosophy carries into 'Dedications' admirably. Some have called Meissner out before on account of his albums sounding too similar, but 'Dedications' really isn't subject to any such criticism as he takes his patented sound into new areas, with a series of dedications to his many influences. This is a road we saw travelled most notably by Ben Frost on 'Theory of Machines' earlier in the year, itself a paean to the great Michael Gira, and Meissner takes this still further by dedicating each track to two of his favourite artists, of any discipline. For instance the opening piece is entitled 'For Jim Hall & Kurt Kirkwood', the second 'For Ezekiel Honig & Young (pan) Americans' and so on - each holding a personal resonance for Meissner himself. In this it is the artist's most varied album to date, building on relationships, on influences and on the artistry of his career so it's hardly surprising that it has taken four years to piece together. Guitar, piano, strings and percussion are woven together so lightly it's almost impossible to hear where one piece ends and the next begins, while delicate samples emerge and erupt seemingly without warning. 'For Mark Hollis & Giacinto Scelsi' opens with the kind of spacious, smudged piano melodies you might expect to hear on a Talk Talk record, gradually changing through a mire of radio static before being lost in a digital fog. 'For Steven Spielberg and Azza El-Hassan' takes cinematic string parts and overlays echoing percussion resulting in a smoky atmosphere Deaf Center would be in awe of and resulting in one of Meissner's most ineffably beautiful tracks to date. Interestingly, the album is extended in the form of a special bonus cd (initial copies come free with 'Dedications') which takes the concept still further, with four extra tracks adding to the theme, ending on my favourite of all 'For Lia & Jim Corrigan - the smartest kid on earth' which through processed field recordings and delicate piano work sounds something like Harold Budd through a mountainous Middle Eastern mist. So called 'ambient albums' rarely reach the grandeur or expertise of Meissner's expansive productions, and it seems fitting that Anticipate should welcome him to the fold and it should be one of their most haunting releases to date. Highly recommended.