Markus Mehr "On" – The Underground of Happiness

Markus Mehr has history with The Underground of Happiness. I interviewed him a couple of years ago, over the phone from his home in Augsburg, at the time of his Lava album, a brilliant, subterranean slow burn of drones, clicks and screeches. His main instrument is guitar, something which is not at all obvious from the sounds he makes. Since Lava, Mehr has embarked on something of a landmark project, a triptych of albums, which are at least semi-conceptual. On is the 2nd in the sequence, following In, with Off still to come later this year. In featured two pieces of over 20 minutes each, while Off will consist of a single track. On is something of a departure in the series, comprising eight tracks over about 45 minutes, but still, you might get the impression that this is music requiring some commitment. However, whatever you give to Markus Mehr, you get back so much in return. The magnificent ‘Flaming Youth’, for example, is like walking through a room full of machine saws, buzzing and flaring (with no little structure and melody, by the way), before progressing on to a club chillout area where a slow-motion jazz group play a beautiful blissed out loop at funeral pace, under a warm umbrella of static. It’s like some twilight netherworld dreamt up by David Lynch, and very much like his creations, even though you may be disorientated, and even a little afraid, you won’t want to leave. And the majestic ‘Duck Became Swan’ continues with the jazz loop theme, gradually submerging the tune under waves of drone and fuzz… Take some time for a wonderful magic carpet ride.

The Underground of Happiness

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