Boomkat Product Review:
Moritz Von Oswald is a name that needs little introduction to anyone who has followed Techno, Dub or any kind of electronic music over the last 15 years. Since the early 90's he's tirelessly applied his discipline to a range of styles and genres with seminal work as part of Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound and his own name besides a mind blowing number of side projects, mastering jobs and engineering work.
His most recent project has attempted to consolidate the studio processes which have defined the majority of his output with a live or improvisational element as part of his "trio" including the capable skills of sound designers Vladislav Delay aka Sasu Ripatti and Max Loderbauer of Sun electric and more recently NSI fame. The trio have performed some dozen live shows over the last two years, featuring Ripatti at the drummers stool, Loderbauer contributing synths and live electronics, and Moritz in control of live mixing effects and organ.
'Vertical Ascent' is essentially the best parts of these live improv sessions, edited, tweaked and mixed to perfection by mixmaster Moritz (we hope this name doesn't catch on!) and the result is at once a clean departure from and a reinforcement of the sound you'd normally associate with each of the performers. Live performance and in-the-moment moods lend the set a fluid quality and the lengthy track times, between eight and fourteen minutes, allow the group to develop their ideas around groove based structures definitely informd by African percussive styles. It's no coincidence that Moritz is heavily involved with the ressiue schemes of African music from Honest Jon's. 'Pattern 1' initiates the ceremony with a slow heave of bass and tangled polyrhythms from Ripatti before blooming to reveal a menagerie of strange and unusual synth sounds with one ear on their Krautrock forefathers. 'Pattern 2' bobs into motion on a rich bed of subbass, providing a cushion for scratchy strings and metallic synth scrapes lending an uneasy and ominous feel, but also exploring the spaces in between with ultra-subtle mixing techniques and cleansing the space ready for elevation to the next level. 'Pattern 3' reintroduces more discernable and tangible rhythmic patterns, like the gaseous forms of '2' have coalesced into a gentle tropical downpour, with steel drums panned to the peripheries of auditory perception before a current of slow and delicate chords wash into view. The effect is sublimely lush and truly psychedelic.
The final 'Pattern 4' is the closest you'll come to any Reggae influences (bar the dub mixing techniques), resting upon a bulbous swell of subliminal bass shapes the group delve deep into their machines to eak out atonal organ motifs and head-swimming reverberations designed to resonate in your mind long after the CD has finished. Much like any project Moritz is involved in, the sounds will live up to intense scrutiny for years to come, with each listen revealing layers of minutiae created by his intricate mixing desk manipulations. I'm on my 10th listen and i'm still coming back for more.