Indistinct Borders: detailed background notes to the compositions

Introduction

Release date: 31 May 2003

Format: CDR album in a Super Jewel Case. Cover, disc artwork and typography by Landschaft; avalable to listen to and buy the download on Bandcamp.

Each piece explained

After a break of 15 or so years I started composing again in 2003, and I made this album. It remains my favourite. And Indistinct Borders, of the pieces I have written is I think my best. I will leave the reader to de-construct the song titles. All of the clues are on this page. Put the pieces together, and make your own mystery.

01 Frozen

02 Indistinct Borders

03 Tone chimes sink slowly to the lake floor

04 Static

05 Landschaft

06 Ether

07 Dhuki

08 A demolished city where wildflowers silently grow

09 The joining

10 My secret place

11 cascades

12 Frozen (return)

My poem "Indistinct Borders" gives a clue to the mystery...

At indistinct borders past histories are forgotten and maps are burned. Bones, ghosts and fragments of barbed wire are the only reminders of conflicts past. The flatlands of Northern Europe, scorched by conflict, destroyed, reborn, and destroyed again. A demolished City where wildflowers silently grow, cities renamed, reborn and renamed again. In the Landschaft, unbroken miles of conifer, 10,000 lakes where voices and music sink slowly to the lake floor. Legends born of optimism and fear promise rescue and a reversal of misfortune. But in the borders, no one remembers and all that remains is dust.

The album draws inspiration from passages in a long out of print autobiographical travelogue "Chronicles of Lake Narocz" by Polish author Mieczyslaw Lisiewicz. I have placed a full transcript of the book to read in my History section. Lisiewicz's daughter found this website and her father's book, and I have added her story to the History.

Review by Mark Tamea

Respected Electronica artist, Mark Tamea provides this review on 25 September 2007. Explore Mark Tamea's work at www.virb.com/marktamea and www.tamea.org I am indebted to Mark for this review.

Landschaft points out that this album was inspired by "recollections of the lost and waning cultures of central and northern Europe, and by a collection of pre-WWII contemporary photographic travelogues". This synopses serves as an open introduction to the themes presented in this work, and a description which is open to the interpretation of imagined places.

Indeed, it it a sense of place which strikes me as the most powerful aspect of this record. On his website Landschaft makes a descriptive musical analogy siting Eric Satie as an influence, however, I would beg to differ, as the closest influence to my ears would be Hans-Joachim Roedelius of Cluster.

This comparison merely serves to illustrate a stylistic similarity, because in my mind Landschaft achieves something quite uniquely his own with this recording. When Cluster collaborated with Brian Eno back in the late seventies they produced two albums which for me defined the idea that music could evoke 'other worlds'. The microphone pointing at the lonely twilight sky on the cover of 'Cluster and Eno' was a visually enticing graphic illustrating this idea perfectly. However, this invocation remained entirely cerebral, and somewhat aloof.

In comparison, what Landschaft brings to the table with 'Indistinct Borders' is not only a sense of musical intellectualism (which always strongly appeals), but also an umbilical connection to landscapes and places which, since listening carefully to this work, have begun to manifest in my mind. As far as I know, I have never physically visited these places, but they are deeply rich in color, form and texture, and they pervade my imagination like dreams.

Here the albums concept falls beautifully into place. The artists description of his intention becomes vividly illustrated by the music. Of course the interpretation is subjective, but nevertheless a world is forming. It is sometimes said that a landscape or location has a memory, and can hold within it a record of events that took place there through history. 'Indistinct Borders' seems to evoke the sense of melancholy which permeates these imagined places.

The sound palette throughout is delicate and contained. The opening track, 'Frozen' sounds like a descent to earth through cold space, with layered synthesizers merging with what sound like treated oboes. From there on, and through the subsequent pieces, a minimal, metered piano is introduced, providing the wistful melodic themes which reoccur throughout the album, and which guide the sense of place. What sounds like a Farista organ borrowed from Connie Planks studio takes the lead on 'Tone Chimes Sink Slowly to the Lake Floor', while the following track 'Static' takes pleasure in the interplay of said piano motifs and acoustic guitar, and is strikingly lovely.

'A Demolished City Where Wildflowers Silently Grow' strips down the format even further. Electronically treated violas are pulled shimmeringly taught across time and sound as if they could disappear within an instant. The mood becomes startlingly desperate, only to be awakened into familiarity again by the warm piano tones of 'The Joining' - the juxtaposition of these two very different pieces making the latters 2 minutes and 24 seconds seem like an indefinite period of sunshine. Beautifully realized.

The album ends with 'Frozen (Return)' which brings a strong impression of completion. Now the sense of being drawn away again from the ground, from the earth, leaving this diary of visitations behind, and returning to the starting point of this remote viewing is gently enforced.

'Indistinct Borders' is morphic resonance in musical form. Meditate on that, today...