All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

3

Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space

Geno Thackara By

Sign in to view read count
There are guitarists, and then there are sound sculptors who use the guitar as one tool among many (and of course there's no small overlap between the two). Tim Motzer happily resides in both camps but tends to lean toward the latter description most—when running a single axe through a continually changing array of jerry-rigged technology, it's not unusual for him to spend as much time twiddling knobs as he does fingering frets. With such a range of sonics to explore, he certainly finds those possibilities more intriguing than petty distractions like style or genre. This pair of from-the-vault soundscapes on his 1k Recordings label shows him wandering through outer and inner space in a decidedly dreamy frame of mind.

Tim Motzer
Unseen Universe
1k Recordings
2017

Motzer's guitar gets put through the sonic wringer in a meditative and sometimes unsettled fashion here. Like its closest reference point Live from Stars End (1k, 2014), this is a sprawling suite improvised for a live late-night radio broadcast. At first he spends a good several minutes weaving a low drone and funny twanging noises, which most likely come from metal clips attached to the guitar rather than the strings themselves. Once he starts actually plucking, it's for a series of ringing chimes that linger in the background while some steady rhythms (taps on the guitar and some later-overdubbed drums) take prominence. An actual melody line would only be disruptive at this point; instead the air gradually fills with layers of processed haze shifting and ebbing like swirls of smoke.

Once some more twanging notes start appearing about halfway through, it's in a repetitive loop that takes things from ambient drift to light eerie rhythm. The extended title track gradually builds until a steady pulsing pattern takes shape from the ether, coasting underneath some higher squeals like a Steve Roach trance gone feral. It stays spacey and strange from there on out, going through wonky radio static and airy wails before fading out with another gamelan-like echo loop. The universe he's beaming in from may be unseen, but there's certainly no shortage of things to hear.

Tim Motzer & Bernhard Wöstheinrich
Hypnosis
1k Recordings
2017

Things naturally get a further jolt when Motzer can bounce off a partner rather than looping himself. Electronics wizard Bernhard Wöstheinrich complements the organic guitar tones with a bed of robotic synths and light frisky beats. This installment is in a much more alien and often chilly head-space, borrowing from the more ambient psychedelic leanings of Brian Eno or Tangerine Dream with only an occasional abrasive edge.

Appropriately for the music and unsurprisingly for these musicians, there isn't any back/front setup where one person is more prominent. The techno-loops often make the busiest element here—while those beats skitter along like the pattering of dense water drops, steady without becoming static, the players tend to hang back and let minimal notes or hovering drones fill in the rest of the shadings. It makes a vivid sonic re-creation of the odd mental states described in track titles like "Hypnagogia" (the transition from waking to sleeping). The form follows the abstract logic of dreams; everything flows randomly while somehow making its own odd kind of sense underneath it all. The experience makes for a compelling kind of altered consciousness, always mysterious and indefinably alluring.

Tracks and Personnel

Unseen Universe

Tracks: Ring; Unseen Universe; Magnetic Fields; Cycle.

Personnel: Tim Motzer: guitar and electronics; Doug Hirlinger: drums.

Hypnosis

Tracks: Invisible Energy; Mesmerismia; Hypnagogia; Psychonauts.

Personnel: Bernhard Wöstheinrich: keyboards, sequencer, electronics; Tim Motzer: baritone guitar, electronics.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Song Poetry of William Parker Multiple Reviews
The Song Poetry of William Parker
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 19, 2018
Read A Six-String Travelogue Multiple Reviews
A Six-String Travelogue
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Dot Time Legends Series: Is Every Night New Year's Eve Around Here? Multiple Reviews
Dot Time Legends Series: Is Every Night New Year's Eve...
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: June 16, 2018
Read Kasper Staub: Slow Music for Fast Times Multiple Reviews
Kasper Staub: Slow Music for Fast Times
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 13, 2018
Read The Rarest of Ivories: Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane Elias and Renee Rosnes Multiple Reviews
The Rarest of Ivories: Fred Hersch, Joey Alexander, Eliane...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Basic Beauty: Arthur Blythe on Columbia Multiple Reviews
Basic Beauty: Arthur Blythe on Columbia
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 23, 2018
Read "Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez Abbasi’s Invocation" Multiple Reviews Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition & Rez...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "David Murray Octets on Black Saint" Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues" Multiple Reviews Real World Records' Vinyl Reissues
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser" Multiple Reviews Latest From Eva-Maria Houben On Edition Wandelweiser
by John Eyles
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Holiday Roundup 2017" Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017