F.S. Blumm
Lichten
Audio Dregs
2003
B+



one of the interesting details about this album is the fact that the music has no discernible ethnic identity. This music could have come from anywhere in the world, in essence making it “placeless”. Each piece is instrumental, revolving around an acoustic guitar base with the accompaniment of drums, flute, piano, trumpet and harmonium. It is this latter instrument that levitates over the others and lends a sumptuous atmosphere to much of the album. In so doing, Blumm’s music takes on an abstract folk quality, while still maintaining a strong emotional effect that hits as hard, if not harder, than a conventional pop song. But unlike a conventional pop song, these instruments require patience and an open mind. Blumm has attempted to create a pared-down recording free of studio manipulation and has indeed achieved an uncluttered album.

In fact, Lichten is harmonious and beautiful, like all of Blumm’s recordings to date (Ankern and Mondkuchen). But, unlike others the overall mood of Lichten tends to be upbeat with digressions into the pensive, brooding and sentimental. Indeed, one of Blumm’s great strengths is his capacity to be emotionally evocative from even the simplest of compositions or sounds. “Tulips”, the opening track sets a dreamy tone for the record with its gentle guitar notes followed by “Anchor” which is a faster piece, has an upbeat mood and builds momentum for the album. Apparently “Anchor” is in reference to when Blumm, a German native, set sail and literally anchored himself and lived in Italy for a time. “Blank” begins in a somewhat psychedelic manner, with the introduction featuring saxophone and electronic manipulations; goes silent for a few seconds then returns with a pensive piano and guitar melody.

“Placeless” starts off fairly grey and brooding, then light and pensive which in turn gives way to form a gorgeous sunrise of a tune. “Ten Days” is a wholesome Denver-esque piece that starts off with trumpet and guitar, then concluding with drums that create a feeling of exuberance. Works like “First Bean”, “Second Bean” and “Lighten” are the painfully sentimental sucker punch tunes where Blumm impacts the hardest emotionally. The songs are delicate, walking the line between beauty and the possibility of failure expertly. For Blumm, these tracks express philosophical and emotional realizations, also working as a discourse on life. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by: I. Khider
Reviewed on: 2004-01-05
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