As the end of the year closes in Peter Prautzsch returns to the surface with a soothing and somewhat picturesque new EP featuring 7 tracks each recently recorded in September 2012. ‘Altes Land’ (Old Country) again takes the quiet path laid down by the early 2012 album release Schwere See. All arrangements wander through rich organic textures, meandering in and out of the carefully shaped musical scope. You wouldn‘t record this sort of music in spring as these nostalgic drones, intimate loops and dusty field-recordings illustrate the beauty of late autumn field walks. ‘Altes Land’ is a dense soundtrack made for the last sun-drenched october mornings and the first snow of the year and it will help you kick your way through the leaves.
As a youngster, I went on a school trip to Switzerland. I had Superunknown and the Blue Album on a constant loop in between frivolities and finger banging. The view from my balcony was really something. Down the slope nestled between steep, sharply rising hills was a rural village. Even from way up there, you could see a huge white dog that sat all day on the front porch of his owner’s shop. Those hills, the valley, the morning mist, all of it was breathtaking. Listening to this took me right back to that balcony. I imagine it’ll have a similar nostalgic effect on you too. I’ll always remember the dog too, because it ended up biting a finger off some cunt on holiday with us.
Tones fade in and out, drones throb on and on. It could be almost industrial given the raw materials used, but it is served well by a smooth gentle production that gives it a very natural feel. Whether the samples he’s using are organic or artificial in origin doesn’t matter, as they all have this dreamlike characteristic. Often, ‘Altes Land’ feels like a record that’s been in a car crash, put back together the wrong way then transmitted over the airwaves, picked up on ham radio and then recorded on a Mac Book by a dude with a passion for VHS tapes, falafels and Genki. If anything separates the identity of these songs, it’s their mood: some are erratic, others sleepy. ‘Alter Sommer’ drips into our subconscious chaotically, then finds its balance and evolves into a grand orchestration of fuzzy noise. ‘Feutche Lichtung’ is different. Goliath sounds come at you. It feels more structured and controlled, domineering and unrelenting. ‘Dammernde Wiese’ cuts in like an Angelo Badalamenti sonnet on Clarky Cat. The prolonged drones and waves of static articulate some dread.
At times, buried under it all, you hear a recognisable beat; then, as if it noticed you hearing it, it vanishes. ‘Unter Laub’ is short, sounds like a stoned xylophone masturbating, and leaves us feeling slightly puzzled yet glad for the experience. ‘Letze Sonne’ is one of the EP’s highlights. It flies along, with what feels like a flock of four archaic tones, the different notes dancing around each other in an air of hope for eight minutes. ‘Uberwintern’ describes what some of you might be going through right now in terms of this fucking snow. It marks a wonderful end to a more than decent drone/ ambient noise EP. The gentle sound comes in as if guided to watch over you you while you relax, hidden away from all of life’s cunty things. As ‘Altes Lands’ ends, you want this benevolent apparition of sound to stay a while longer, and I felt slightly bereft when it departed.