Sunday, 30 September 2018

My favourite music artists of the 10s : #78 - Christoph Berg (Field Rotation)

If nothing seems to match in my heart the initial strike of Field Rotation's second album Acoustic Tales 7 years ago, whose haunting cello harmonies, plucked strings and organ, disrupted by pulsated beats and elegiac drones, carried a profound, almost fateful sense of despair, the Berliner Christoph Berg never disappointed since then, from the hazy daydreams of And Tomorrow I Will Sleep (2011) to the recent suite for strings Conversations recorded last year under his own name, refined masterpiece of grief and regrets, but also hope for dialogue and reconnexion.

In the meantime, critical success really came with Fatalist: The Repetition of History, his third release for the acclaimed german label Denovali, one of the greatest purveyors of atmospheric instrumental music this decade. Eerie chants, mournful piano and ill-fated string arrangements underlying a sentiment of existential mystery and tragedy of destiny make it another pinnacle in Christoph Berg's sparse but essential discography, a nightly soundtrack of gloom and menace that could have been a great fit for Twin Peaks' movie or second season.

However, Day Has Ended along with cellist Aaron Martin (From the Mouth of the Sun) unveiled that same year (2013) a more melancholic and bittersweet aspect of that nocturnal mood, and more recently, Bei, a collaboration with German pianist Henning Schmiedt, showed on Japanese label flau that Berg's music didn't have to carry such weight all the time, with its relatively peaceful - even hopeful on occasions - collection of chamber music compositions.

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