Boomkat Product Review:
Debut album by Wolfgang Tillmans.
"Moon in Earthlight describes the phenomenon one can see in the first few days after a New Moon, when the slim crescent of the moon is completed into a full circle by a faint light that is not lit by sunlight but by the light reflected from Earth. It is also the apt title for the first album from an artist whose first love was astronomy. After 6 EPs over the course of 5 years, Wolfgang Tillmans now releases his first album, Moon in Earthlight, a singularly plural 53-minute piece comprised of 19 tracks.
Opening with more that connects us than divides us, ‘Celloloop / More That Connects Us’, a looped cello sets out a discursive path for a bright keyed melody to flirt with while the sounds of the organ and synthesizer build their supporting roles, all along a bouncing four-to-the-floor beat punctuated with bright electronic chimes and the rhythmic tempo of a shaker. The invitation is hard to resist as a yearning voice opens up to let us know he’s left his “place in security.” And, “you’re shining … All the way down to this glittering place … you’re shining.” Where voices and laughter are then overheard in the background of another field recording sounding water dripping from a ‘Rain Gutter’ later caught by the soft, warm rhythmic bounce between two synth notes on ‘Fourth Floor’ where chime-like and percussive timbres resonate from the metal tine keys of the kalimba creating a meditative acuity, which Tillmans peppers with arpeggiated synth riffs.
A composition of multiplicities, Tillmans’ album debut is a collage of sounds, field recordings, words, studio jam sessions and live recordings, voice, soundscapes, and instrumentation scored with audible space to breathe along the way. Keeping pace, the first ‘Kardio Loop’ is a vocal callisthenics contemplating ‘the possibility of a happy life’ and/or the propositional properties of its semantic constructions backed by the recording of a heartbeat from a cardiogram. This movement is gradually accompanied by a set of orchestral synth pads that build to a crescendo before the soft, twirling melody of ‘Stonerella’ carries us along a carousel-like melodic, pop, instrumental timed in the percussive clapping of pebbles.
Not knowing where one leaves off and the other begins is part of this album’s enigma, as we move in and out of these aural spaces choreographed with the slightest, open hand, where we can float through ‘Don’t Kill It by Naming It’ before dancing along ‘Insanely Alive’ all the while contemplating the inherent, fragile complexities of language and being. This enigma also stems from the raw vulnerability of Tillmans’ voice. Whether lyrically playful or introspective, it is always giving: intimately unfolding as in the surprising take on Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘El Condor Pasa’ or shapeshifting in ‘Can’t Escape into Space’ or fully naked as raw material expression in ‘Kantine’ and ‘Ocean Walk’.
Whether it’s Tillmans voice or voices overheard, a field recording or a pop synth melody, these sounds defy track listings, audibly held together as one of many in an aural space that becomes a reflective cycle that develops over the course of the album."