Markus Mehr

Markus Mehr Photo by Fraucke Wichmann“… prepare for a shuddering, near chaotic, kaleidoscopic experience as Mehr challenges our and his own preconceptions of what “electronica” is, what it represents and of what his instrumentation can achieve.” – Delusions of Adequacy

Though German experimental ambient artist Markus Mehr often approaches the creation of his albums via a conceptual lens, the results are always immersive, uncannily emotive and deeply musical. Whether recontextualising field recordings of water, the acoustic properties of rooms or the sounds of digital technology, Mehr employs a astute sense of how sounds evoke spaces, memories and feelings.     

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Discography

 

Brief Conversations


May 12 2020

Brief Conversations is Markus Mehr’s ode to the acoustic properties of the spaces we listen within. High-resolution recordings of rooms acted as the source material, which Mehr then alchemically blended into mesmerising ambient environments, rich with reverberant details. As Mehr explains: “Rooms communicate with us, we can listen to them. Their vocabulary includes their interior, their architecture and their surroundings. The material and arrangement of the walls and their volume determine their resonances and the nature of their reverberation. Thus each room has its own articulation, its own acoustic fingerprint.”

As the mediator between the sounds and their spatial containers, Mehr has exposed a level of granularity we so often ignore, re-shaping the raw materials into immersive new experiences. Despite its challenging conceptual nature, the album is undeniably sensuous and hypnotic, giving up its secrets slowly but surely with repeat listens.

 

 

Liquid Empires


October 15 2018

Liquid Empires is a sonic exploration of the centrality of water to life on Earth. As Mehr explains, “We are water. Water is everything. It is life-giving and deadly, it is progress and comfort, it is central to our economy, energy, transport, food, warmth, cooling and manufacturing. At the same time, water means purity, beauty and mysticism. We spend the first nine months in it. We waste it and we contaminate it…”

Over the course of more than two years, Mehr recorded the sound of rivers, lakes and oceans, then set about transforming these sonic source materials in the digital domain using spectral analysis and time manipulation software. The result is some of Mehr’s most mesmerising compositions to date, teasing out harmonic patterns and microscopic textures that are beautiful as they are mystifying.

 

 

Dyschronia


May 2017

Dyschronia is a complex, musically exhilarating exploration of our modern perception of time. As our temporal relationships have become unmoored from natural rhythms, we experience profound disconnection and distortion, leaving us disoriented and disturbed. Mehr crafted the seven pieces over the course of more than five years, resulting in a dizzying collage of sound that both conveys and charts a path through digital consciousness.

Dyschronia simultaneously employs and dissolves electronic markers, creating a heady and at times groundless ride. As with all Mehr’s work, the album is challenging yet incredibly satisfying, shot through with moments of quite staggering beauty, such as the haunting acoustic guitar melody in ‘Dyschronia 4’. At the album’s conclusion, the sample “Why didn’t you destroy the tapes?” speaks to our inability to escape surveillance, our very lives enmeshed in the technology we have created in our attempts at liberation.

 

Re-Directed


April 2016

Re-Directed is a confrontational soundwork of digital surrealism, underpinned by a potent and timely theme: our dependence upon digital technology and communication, and how this dependence renders us vulnerable to exploitation. The project originated as an audiovisual performance with long-time collaborator Stefanie Sixt, for which Markus Mehr recorded hours of sound from servers, hard disks and mobile phones using induction microphones, rendering the inaudible audible and bringing the background noise of digital life into focus. Mehr’s lens is trained on our uncritical reliance upon the invisible systems that infiltrate our everyday lives, silently eating away at our capacity for self-determination.

Perhaps the most confrontational and abstract release in Mehr’s discography thus far, Re-Directed challenges the narrow confines of music, moving towards the realm of musique concrète. It demands active engagement from the listener, alongside acknowledgement of its conceptual nature. As challenging and complex as it may be, Re-Directed is an incredibly powerful and immersive listening experience for those willing to undertake the journey on Mehr’s terms.

 

In The Palm Of Your Hand – The Remix EP


October 2015

In the Palm of Your Hand – The Remix EP brings together four unique remixes of the track ‘In the Palm of Your Hand’, lifted from Mehr’s latest album, Binary Rooms.

The original album mix of ‘In the Palm of Your Hand’ maps out the dichotomy at the heart of Binary Rooms. While plaintive piano chords suggest openness and possibility, they’re perpetually hemmed in by a claustrophobic industrial throb, creating a tension that aches to be resolved. The first remix, by Hamburg duo incite/, ramps up the tension by slicing and dicing the ambient throb into a glitchy tapestry and smothering the piano in sonic gauze. Conga Fever dials back the ambience and juxtaposes the piano against a sun-dappled beatscape. Hidden Shoal labelmate Erik Nilsson makes the piano the focus, bringing in field recordings to create the feeling of a beautiful jazz improvisation taking place on a demolition site. And finally, David Kochs’ remix filters the haze of the original into sharp yet dreamy minimal techno.

Gymnasium​/​Swarms – Live with Orchestra


September 2015

‘Gymnasium/Swarms Live with Orchestra’ is a an amazing re-working of the original track, which appears in its original form on Mehr’s latest album, Binary Rooms. This special performance includes live orchestra and choir along with visuals by Stefanie Sixt.

As Markus Mehr explains in a new interview with Hidden Shoal’s Matthew Tomich, the live performance of ‘Gymnasium/Swarms’, which opened this year’s Modular Festival in Augsburg, Germany, involved Mehr’s collaboration with conductor Michael Kamm, plus the Modular Orchestra and Chamber Choir of Augsburg University. The live video by Florian Strandl depicts the musicians masterful reinterpretation of the music’s evocative, beatless soundworld via the clever use of clocks and Michael Kamm’s conducting. From rustling paper and shuffling feet, to gorgeous sustained choral tones and vibraphone, ‘Gymnasium/Swarms Live with Orchestra’ is a unique performance of a deeply evocative piece of sound art.

To Set The River On Fire


February 2015

The new EP release To Set The River On Fire opens a window into a new universe of possibilities: Hidden Shoal artists remixing each other’s music. In the first of what we hope will become an ongoing series, English dream-pop artist Chloë March takes on a track from the latest album by German experimentalist Markus Mehr – and vice versa. Listening to ‘Buoy (Chloë March Remix)’ feels like watching Chloë March creep tentatively into Markus Mehr’s shadowy soundworld, casting her radiant voice around the room like torchlight. While on ‘Ember (Markus Mehr Remix)’, the original’s beautifully simple arrangement for voice and piano is trapped within a hall of industrial-sized mirrors, anxiously roving around in search of escape. Each remix complements the other, masterfully re-interpreting the source material while inviting fresh listens to the original.

Binary Rooms


October 2014

Mehr’s work has seen a subtle shift in scale across his five studio albums. From the widescreen cosmic vistas of Lava to some of the more intimate moments of his 42-minute single-track opus Off, Mehr has now come to examine the most challenging space yet – that of our everyday lives and the spatial narratives that surround us. Mehr’s music has always possessed a keen sense of and negotiation with scale, and on Binary Rooms he challenges notions of personal space, juxtaposing the human against the industrial, the gentle and intimate against the jolting and harsh. Mehr acts as a fragment hunter, meshing machine-like tones with the discarded elements of humanity; narrative with anti-narrative. On Binary Rooms he manages to create a spatial remix – a striking re-design of aural reality filled with a living, digital biology. Experimental filmmaker and Markus Mehr collaborator Stefanie Sixt has created a stunning new video work for the track ‘Gymnasium/Swarms’ which can be viewed in full at Vimeo.

Off


January 2013

Off  by German experimental ambient artist Markus Mehr, is the third and final part of a trilogy that includes the critically acclaimed releases In and On. Off  is not only the culmination of Markus Mehr’s trilogy, but it may also be the culmination of his career’s work thus far. The single-track album begins in silence, as a thrumming loop gradually emerges. From there, a beautiful piano refrain is introduced, noise ebbs and flows, threatening to engulf the piece, while field recordings and swooningly transportive synth patterns drift into focus. During its 42-minute runtime, the piece immerses the listener in a dizzyingly beautiful soundworld that’s ever-shifting. Certain passages allude to other sequences and samples in the preceding albums, linking the three albums into a kaleidoscopic mobius strip.

On


July 2012

The new album On by German experimental ambient artist Markus Mehr, forms the second part of a triptych that also includes recent release In and the forthcoming Off. On is a continuation of the experimental direction of Markus Mehr’s previous releases, with eight diverse tracks employing samples, field recordings and slathers of Mehr’s trademark distorted drones. This approach is apparent right from opener ‘Gonna Make You Mine’, as scything slashes of sound leap from the speakers. Single ‘Flaming Youth’ counterbalances fragments of static against a gorgeous sleepy-eyed loop of mangled lounge-jazz. A track as expansive and moving as ‘Duck Became Swan’ is followed by brief rhythmic piece ‘Olympia’. This tightrope walk between dizzying samples and exacting digital manipulation is walked with aplomb throughout On’s adventurous and thrilling 45-minute runtime. On is preceded by In, the first part of the triptych, which comprises two monumental tracks, ‘Komo’ and ‘Ostinato’, each of which clocks in at around 25 minutes, circling around and building upon hypnotic instrumental motifs. The final part of the triptych, Off, released on 24 January 2013, includes the most epic piece yet, ‘Transit’, which clocks in at 49 minutes and will be performed live in collaboration with video artist Stefanie Sixt, who created the video to Mehr’s single ‘Cousteau’.

In


January 2012

Markus Mehr follows up his stunning debut album Lava with three new releases released over a 12 month period. In is the first part of the triptych, comprising two monumental tracks, ‘Komo’ and ‘Ostinato’, each of which clocks in at around 25 minutes, circling around and building upon hypnotic instrumental motifs. ‘Komo’ gradually emerges from silence, its distant, filtered throb reluctantly revealing its source material – a heartbreaking string part whose emotional impact intensifies as the loop clarifies. ‘Ostinato’ is an altogether darker, gnarlier experience, its string loops chewed into distorted knots which are highlighted by treated guitars and crafted electronics. The second part, On, released on 21 June 2012, takes a more experimental direction, with eight diverse tracks employing samples, field recordings and slathers of Mehr’s trademark distorted drones. And finally, Off, released on 24 January 2013, includes the most epic piece yet, ‘Transit’, which clocks in at 49 minutes and will be performed live in collaboration with video artist Stefanie Sixt, who created the video to Mehr’s single ‘Cousteau’.

Lava


August 2010

Lava holds true to its title – it is a dense surge of glue-think sound, making new paths as it pushes through the landscape. But, after any destructive force there is new growth. Green shoots of melody arc out of the surface and populate the terrain as new possibilities emerge. A new master of heartbreaking ambient drone has arrived. These tracks evoke time spent transfixed, gazing through a giant looking glass, waiting wide-eyed as new discoveries are revealed in the album’s textured contours. On epic opener ‘Agenda’, layers of gorgeous synth gradually accumulate into a gloriously massive chord. On single ‘Hubble’, a bedrock of fuzzed drone is decorated with glistening counter-melodies, tracing shards of light across the coal-black skies. ‘Softwar’ builds and then falls away, only to return with a spine-tingling theme that crumbles under its own majesty. Lava’s ability to both suspend the listener in its abstracted liquid vapours and at the same time imprint its affecting narrative is a special thing. It is one of those albums whose emotional impact stays with you long after you feel its last touch.

Biography

Based in Augsburg, South Germany, Markus Mehr’s musical journey began with the guitar. After recording and touring with several bands, he struck out on his own with home studio project Aroma. Now working under his own name, Mehr has previously released eight albums, all on Hidden Shoal: Lava (2010), ambitious triptych In (2012), On (2012) and Off (2013), Binary Rooms (2014), Re-Directed (2016), Dyschronia (2017) and Liquid Empires (2018). Mehr’s extensive live performances across Europe include collaborations with visual artist Stefanie Sixt and performances in churches, galleries and large disused gas tanks amongst the more traditional festival shows.

News

  • Brief Conversations: An Interview with Markus Mehr

    Markus Mehr Photo by Fraucke WichmannWith the release of his new album Brief Conversations, Markus Mehr has delivered a stunning marriage of musicality and acoustic experimentalism. Through the capture and transformation of the sounds of the internal spaces we inhabit, Mehr presents a new kind of magical realism. With all those heady ideas in mind we thought it was the perfect time to sit down with him and have a chat.

    How are you managing in the current German lockdown?

    I’m mostly at home. Since my studio is also at home, I spend even a little more time there.  Of course I miss the opportunity to move freely and to meet friends. But in general, the corona crisis does not restrict me too much personally, neither physically nor mentally. My travel and consumer behaviour is generally not particularly extensive, so the quarantine hits me less hard than maybe others. The difficult part for all of us will occur after the lockdown I guess.

    How did you first get into creating experimental music?Markus Mehr Studio

    It was a slow process. I come from a rock background and at a certain point, however, there was a longing to start something new, to refresh things. So I focused my interest on electronic music but soon I noticed that it was not only about changing the field. I was chasing away more instruments than I added and suddenly there were tracks without a beat, without a meter, no melodies, no recognisable structures. That’s it, complete freedom. Our release history also shows very nicely that this development is a process that continues to this day and I hope this kind of naivety will go on as long as I release something.

    Can you tell us what inspired you to create Brief Conversations

    During the preparations for a commissioned work (EDIT 1/0/0/0, Moritzkirche, Augsburg) in September 2019, I had the opportunity to do recordings all alone in this beautiful, pure church. Just listening to this room several nights was a very inspiring experience. This gave rise to the idea of ​​developing this approach, recording different rooms with different shapes, recording the quiet. To listen to what a room has to tell us – the sounds it creates, sounds which can be generated in it by different impulses – fascinated me. Brief Conversations describes these dialogues and summarises it in sonic narratives.

    Can you give an overview of the kinds of processes involved in the recording and production of this album?

    It starts with the recordings. My field recordings are always the basis. They often happen by chance. Some are also planned because I noticed a sound event the day before or because something attracts me, for example an empty parking garage, a stairwell, a tunnel or a synagogue. After capturing sounds I look into the recordings almost microscopically, searching for lively and emotional aspects. These can be rhythmic or harmonic elements. All sounds that have something to tell are considered. In order to create something new, I use tools like most “normal” musicians: pitch shifting, time manipulation, modulation effects, delays, equalisers, distortion. The resulting components, which add something to the dramaturgy and the dynamics of the story, remain in the track; the others get chipped away.

    Can you outline how one of the tracks off Brief Conversations evolved, from the original sourcing of the sounds through to the refinement of the composition?

    Recording in a SynagogeAh yeah … I think of ‘Shelter’. I got permission to take pictures in a huge, disused gas tank. And when I was ready to record, the worst storm that can be imagined broke out. No hope of improvement for the rest of the day. Everything I recorded was covered with this kind of white noise, generated by the wind and the pounding rain. In response, I started stamping my feet and making loud noises to deal with the annoying noise. Fortunately, I also packed my contact microphone and recorded additionally the very deep resonance of the walls and railings. When I got home after hours I was sure that the recordings could not be used. But wrong: the contact microphones – with some support from the Mini Moog – form the foundation of the track. The percussive stamping and hits are almost unprocessed and with a pinch of digital sophistication I was able to elicit a few spherical and even harmonious elements from the room recordings. If one listens superficially, ‘Shelter’ may have a more synthetic appearance. In fact, it is a purely electro-acoustic piece. With field recordings you rarely get exactly what you expect.

    How important is the conceptual aspect of your work?

    Skater BordeauxVery important. In the past few years I have been working conceptually only. Before I start working on something new I think about things and do some research. Collecting and sculpting new music is preceded by a theoretical process… most of the time. And once a concept is conclusive, I try to stick to it as much as possible. I think it’s like writing a book. You have to have in mind the whole story and bit by bit you invent the narrative strands and the characters.

    What are you listening to right now?

     BBC 6 Music.

    Favourite releases of 2020 so far?

    Acoustic Shadows by Lea Belucci, The Experience of Repetition as Death by Clarice Jensen and Motus by Thomas Köner are really inspiring records. Radio France broadcast a piece by Jim O’Rourke called Shutting Down Here (still available online). I was there when they performed this piece originally in Paris at the INA-GRM Multiphonies Series. It’s just brilliant. And my friend DOT made an album called Monsters … so good.

    What’s your next creative project?

    Basically I’m concentrating on a sound installation. But just because it feels right at the moment I started playing around with stuff for cello, viola and violin. This is quite the opposite of what I’m doing normally. And because I’m not that much interested in playing live any more, my long-time live visual partner Stefanie Sixt and I will turn towards short films a bit more. We recently released Separate Waves Of One Ocean, and the next one could come out quite soon. And here and there I help recording stuff for Slowvox, the project of my girlfriend. I’m really happy about all this things….

    Some Links:

    Recording in BordeauxMarkus Mehr – Brief Conversations

    EDIT 1/0/0/0

    Gastank Augsburg/Shelter

    Jim O´Rouke – Shutting Down Here

    Sixt/Mehr – Separate Waves Of One Ocean

    DOT – Monsters

    Slowvox

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  • Markus Mehr’s Sublime New Album “Brief Conversations” Out Now

    Brief ConversationsHidden Shoal is proud to announce the release of Brief Conversations, the ninth album by German experimental ambient artist Markus Mehr. The album is available now in digital and cassette formats via Bandcamp and digitally via Spotify, iTunes and most other platforms. Also be sure to check out the new music video for album track ‘Relief’ on YouTube.

    Brief Conversations is Markus Mehr’s ode to the acoustic properties of the spaces we listen within. High-resolution recordings of rooms acted as the source material, which Mehr then alchemically blended into mesmerising ambient environments, rich with reverberant details. As Mehr explains: “Rooms communicate with us, we can listen to them. Their vocabulary includes their interior, their architecture and their surroundings. The material and arrangement of the walls and their volume determine their resonances and the nature of their reverberation. Thus each room has its own articulation, its own acoustic fingerprint.”

    As the mediator between the sounds and their spatial containers, Mehr has exposed a level of granularity we so often ignore, re-shaping the raw materials into immersive new experiences. Despite its challenging conceptual nature, the album is undeniably sensuous and hypnotic, giving up its secrets slowly but surely with repeat listens.

    The music of Markus Mehr is available for licensing for film, tv, web, games and beyond via Hidden Shoal. Check here for more info.

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  • New Markus Mehr Track and Video – ‘Mount Devil’

    Brief ConversationsHidden Shoal is excited to present the first track lifted from Brief Conversations, the forthcoming ninth album by German experimental ambient artist Markus Mehr. ‘Mount Devil’ is available now to stream via SoundCloud with it’s accompanying video available on YouTube. Brief Conversations will see release on the 12th May 2020 in digital and cassette formats.

    Brief Conversations is Markus Mehr’s ode to the acoustic properties of the spaces we listen within. High-resolution recordings of rooms acted as the source material, which Mehr then alchemically blended into mesmerising ambient environments, rich with reverberant details. As Mehr explains: “Rooms communicate with us, we can listen to them. Their vocabulary includes their interior, their architecture and their surroundings. The material and arrangement of the walls and their volume determine their resonances and the nature of their reverberation. Thus each room has its own articulation, its own acoustic fingerprint.”

    As the mediator between the sounds and their spatial containers, Mehr has exposed a level of granularity we so often ignore, re-shaping the raw materials into immersive new experiences. Despite its challenging conceptual nature, the album is undeniably sensuous and hypnotic, giving up its secrets slowly but surely with repeat listens.

    The music of Markus Mehr is available for licensing for film, tv, web, games and beyond via Hidden Shoal. Check here for more info.

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  • Hidden Shoal in Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018 List!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018. Textura is, in our opinion, the premiere new music magazine and favourite of the label team for unearthing and exposing new and exciting new music. This is the second time Hidden Shoal has been selected in Textura’s best labels list and as always we are nestled against some other very special labels, all of who you should check out.

    Now for a very brief and unnecessary acceptance speech – we are nothing without our incredible roster of artists, who continually amaze, inspire and surprise us. Thank you all!

     

     

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  • New REW<< Remix EP Out Now!

    REW (Photo by Joe Wigdahl)We’re excited to present the official release of Cupid’s Empty House (The Remixes), the new EP by REW<<. The EP is now available via Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes and all other good third party stores. Liminal Drifter‘s wonderful re-working of the REW<< original is also available now to stream on SoundCloud.

    Cupid’s Empty House features reworkings by Markus Mehr, Liminal Drifter, Ethan Kavanagh, Twilla and Rachel Harrup, plus the sublime original, taken from REW<<’s 2015 album Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs. There’s plenty to work with in the original’s delicate music box melodies and swooning synth strings, which evoke The Flaming Lips’ masterpiece The Soft Bulletin.

    “REW<<’s Olive Skinned, Silver Tongued Sirens Sing Swan Songs is a fantastically varied, moving, and imaginative opus, and it deserves to be celebrated.” – The Big Takeover

    Hidden Shoal labelmates Markus Mehr and Liminal Drifter reimagine the original as a celestial exhalation and a burbling submarine delight, respectively. Ethan Kavanaugh sends snatches of voice snaking around glimmers of synth and drums, while Twilla juxtaposes pitch-shifted voice and thick bass against a stumbling drum loop. Finally, Rachel Harrup skilfully emphasises the delicious syncopation of the original.

    REW<<‘s music is available for licensing across film, tv, games, web and beyond. Read more about Hidden Shoal licensing here and contact us for more info.

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  • Markus Mehr’s “Liquid Empires” Out Now (Cassette & Digital)

    Liquid EmpiresFinally the day has come for German experimentalist Markus Mehr‘s sublime new work, Liquid Empires, to grace the world with it’s immense presence. The album is available in cassette and digital formats via Bandcamp and digitally via all good 3rd party stores (iTunes, Spotify Amazon etc). Also don’t forget to check out Stefanie Sixt‘s wonderful music video for the album’s first single ‘Rank’.

    Liquid Empires is a sonic exploration of the centrality of water to life on Earth. As Mehr explains, “We are water. Water is everything. It is life-giving and deadly, it is progress and comfort, it is central to our economy, energy, transport, food, warmth, cooling and manufacturing. At the same time, water means purity, beauty and mysticism. We spend the first nine months in it. We waste it and we contaminate it…”

    Over the course of more than two years, Mehr recorded the sound of rivers, lakes and oceans, then set about transforming these sonic source materials in the digital domain using spectral analysis and time manipulation software. The result is some of Mehr’s most mesmerising compositions to date, teasing out harmonic patterns and microscopic textures that are beautiful as they are mystifying.

    Markus Mehr’s music is available for licensing across film, tv, games, web and beyond. Read more about Hidden Shoal licensing here and contact us for more info.

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  • New Markus Mehr Track and Video, Album in October

    Liquid EmpiresWe’re very excited to present ‘Rank‘,  the first taste of Markus Mehr‘s sublime new album Liquid Empires. The track is accompanied by another amazing video work from German artist Stefanie Sixt which can be streamed via YouTube and Vimeo. Liquid Empires will see release on the 15th of October and is now available for pre-order on cassette and digital from Markus Mehr’s Bandcamp.

    Liquid Empires is a sonic exploration of the centrality of water to life on Earth. As Mehr explains, “We are water. Water is everything. It is life-giving and deadly, it is progress and comfort, it is central to our economy, energy, transport, food, warmth, cooling and manufacturing. At the same time, water means purity, beauty and mysticism. We spend the first nine months in it. We waste it and we contaminate it…”

    Over the course of more than two years, Mehr recorded the sound of rivers, lakes and oceans, then set about transforming these sonic source materials in the digital domain using spectral analysis and time manipulation software. The result is some of Mehr’s most mesmerising compositions to date, teasing out harmonic patterns and microscopic textures that are beautiful as they are mystifying.

    Markus Mehr’s music is available for licensing across film, tv, games, web and beyond. Hit us up for more info.

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  • Markus Mehr’s “Dyschronia” in ACL’s Best of 2017

    DyschroniaMarkus Mehr‘s sublime Dyschronia has been selected as one of the ten best experimental releases of 2017 by the always excellent A Closer Listen. The album sits proudly alongside other wonderful works by artists such as Ben Frost, SAICOBAB, Félicia Atkinson and Marcus Fjellström amongst others. It’s a fantastic selection so check it out here and then if you’ve not already had the pleasure check out Dyschronia here.

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  • Markus Mehr Featured on “Mind The Gap” Comp

    Mind the Gap - Markus MehrThe ever wonderful Markus Mehr is featured on the latest “Mind the Gap” compilation as part of the new issue of the excellent Dutch magazine Gonzo Circus. Mehr’s latest masterpiece Dyschronia has been bending ears since it’s release in May this year. Find out more on the artist and listen to the album here if you have not already had the pleasure.

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  • Markus Mehr’s “Dyschronia” Out Now!

    DyschroniaDyschronia, the brilliant seventh album by prolific German experimentalist Markus Mehr is now officially out! The album is available via Bandcamp in digital and limited edition cassette formats and available for streaming and download via the usual 3rd party stores.

    “pushing his emotionally-charged sonic sculptures into much more dangerous and unpredictable territory… Totally mesmerizing and beautiful.”Decoder Magazine on Binary Rooms

    Dyschronia is a complex, musically exhilarating exploration of our modern perception of time. As our temporal relationships have become unmoored from natural rhythms, we experience profound disconnection and distortion, leaving us disoriented and disturbed. Mehr crafted the seven pieces over the course of more than five years, resulting in a dizzying collage of sound that both conveys and charts a path through digital consciousness.

    Dyschronia simultaneously employs and dissolves electronic markers, creating a heady and at times groundless ride. As with all Mehr’s work, the album is challenging yet incredibly satisfying, shot through with moments of quite staggering beauty, such as the haunting acoustic guitar melody in ‘Dyschronia 4’. At the album’s conclusion, the sample “Why didn’t you destroy the tapes?” speaks to our inability to escape surveillance, our very lives enmeshed in the technology we have created in our attempts at liberation.

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All News

Reviews

  • Markus Mehr “Brief Conversations” Reviewed at ambientblog

    “Don’t expect spoken ‘conversations’ on this album: these tracks are reflections of the ‘conversations’ German experimental artist Markus Mehr had exploring different rooms.

    “Rooms communicate with us, we can listen to them”.

    For the inexperienced listener, some of the sounds within a room may be hidden away in the rest of the environmental sounds, while others may be more prominent. Mehr magnifies each of the specific room sounds and creates a richly detailed soundscape with it – which may be quite a lot less ‘ambient’ and ‘environmental’ than you may expect. This is not meant to record the natural ambience of the room: it is meant to amplify otherwise unheard sounds.

    “The material and arrangement of the walls and their volume determine their resonances and the nature of their reverberation. Thus each room has its own articulation, its own acoustic fingerprint.”

    This may not be an easy listening session – but if you open up to it you’ll experience a rewarding granular kind of musique concrête.

    Brief Conversations is released on cassette (including a bonus track not in the digital release, ánd a download code for the digital version). The digital version is a double joy: it also includes binaural versions of the original tracks. The album is exquisitely mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.

    - ambientblog

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  • Markus Mehr “Brief Conversations” Reviewed at SoundAndSilence

    Translated from the original French via Google.

    The universe of Markus Mehr is nourished by sounds that are part of our environment, without us really paying attention, these little things that fill the astral void to make our world what it is today, with its areas of complexity and its fields of freedom.

    Brief Conversations is a work with the appearance of focus beneath the earth’s crust of landscapes coated with breaths and rain, drought and light, nocturnal appearances and imaginative depth.

    The atmosphere which pours over the minutes, regularly rocks on the side of walls softened by the gentle hammering of waves blurring our perception, concealing the ghosts of imperceptible shadows.

    The set of Brief Conversations assembles and embodies atmospheres fueled by field recordings, crossed by sizzles disintegrating in spaces that are too small, seeking to flee towards abysses which open up to the detour of new options. The vastness is hidden behind the doors of our own imagination, you just have to let yourself be carried away to access this cosmic reality, the lacerated interstices. Hypnotic.”

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  • Markus Mehr “Liquid Empires” Reviewed at A Closer Listen

    “Markus Mehr may be fascinated by the aural properties of water, but Liquid Empires is no nature album; neither is it placid. The tape surprises from the start: “Kissing” launches with a head-nodding pulse that leads into a senses-scattering drone, then recedes and advances ~ like a kiss, a wave, a shower.

    Liquid recordings are embedded throughout ~ rivers, lakes, seas ~ but they don’t sound like this in person. Mehr has taken the sounds back to his laboratory and tortured – sorry, teased them out. His work has in turn inspired video artist Stefanie Sixt, who amplifies his work through visual images, shooting from above and below liquid surfaces then digitally altering the results, as seen below in the video for lead single “Rank.”

    Those pulses are simply a reminder that water creates its own rhythms, most apparent in ocean waves but evident in the flow of streams and the arc of storms. The sudden splatterings of “Bleed” may catch listeners off guard, but so do rogue waves and thunderclaps. There’s a whole world of music available in water, ultimately untamable, an angle Mehr captures better than most. Veteran swimmers know “never to turn their back on the ocean,” while those familiar with lightning know that it can strike when all seems clear. As such, there is comfort here, embedded in the ebb and flow of undulating sines; just don’t relax. As “Bleed” becomes suffused with dark bass and crisp field recordings, the clouds darken overhead.

    By “Clouds For Sale,” percussion has turned the sonic field into a minefield, sounding more like TriAngle than Hidden Shoal. The opening of “Voyage” is like an alarm, the midsection intensely melodic, the finale foreboding. Mehr reminds us that for all of water’s worth, “we waste it and we contaminate it.” A hawk sounds a tired warning, to no avail. By combining the sounds of industry with those of nature, he creates a cautious contrast, making one yearn for the power of untreated sound while simultaneously embracing the manipulations: a stark echo of the political point.

    But not everything here is bleak. In the finale, Mehr reminds us of the soothing properties of water, offering a tribute to the womb. To keep the proceedings from getting too dark, Hidden Shoal offers a cheery tote bag (available separately), where one might protect personal items in a sudden shower. Liquid Empires turns out to be celebration and warning, a fascinating document that could not have been made without the use of a natural resource that may one day be in short supply. Ironically, the act of aural and visual manipulation is a heartfelt cry to leave the water alone.”

    A Closer Listen

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  • Markus Mehr “Dyschronia” Reviewed at Rockerilla

    [Translated from the Italian via Google.]

    In his search for digital reality, which has already been the subject of the former ” Re-Directed ” (2016), Markus Mehr has collected a long series of sound fragments, natural noises and machine disinformation in the last five years.

    Reprocessed, synthetically filtered and coupled to electro-acoustic sequences, it is not alien to harmonic passages, that material has become the basis of the seven tracks of “Dyschronia”, in which the German artist projects his environmental research into an unbroken deconstruction work and reassembling the sound. Ambitious and not always easy to operate, but fully respectful of the concept of a multiform digital representation.”

    Rockerilla (also published in Music Won’t Save You)

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  • Markus Mehr “Dyschronia” Reviewed at A Closer Listen

    “Dyschronia is an album eerily aligned with its time, as it addresses technology, surveillance, wiretapping and the disconnected plight of the modern era, while exuding an aesthetic appeal.

    Today’s industrial societies are approaching total technological immersion. Our words are recoverable even after they have been wiped from hard drives. Phone conversations are prone to becoming public record. Servers are subpoenaed. Burner phones are used by the guilty and the innocent alike. The words of Luke 12:3 seem prescient: “What you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” The final track contains a dialogue that begins and ends with the question, why didn’t you burn the tapes? Older listeners may remember Watergate. Younger listeners may think of Donald Trump’s warning to James B. Comey, tweeted earlier today: “You better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations.” In defense of his decision, a defendant protests, There was never a thought that one word of those tapes would be played in public.

    Dyschronia means “a lack of comprehension of concepts of time.” By unmooring samples from time and blasting them with electronic waves, Markus Mehr underlines the concept, presenting a world in which all things happen at once, sans guidepost. He captures not only the sense of digital surfeit, but of digital edit and re-edit. The world gives us sound, but we prefer sound bytes. Mehr turns the idea on its head, intercepting fragments of beauty from the ether: organs and orchestras, engines and choirs. In “Dyschronia 2”, a hardhat blast stutters like a machine that won’t start or an industrial track that won’t begin, demonstrating the limitations of interrupted signals. In like fashion, the music samples hint at larger, more intriguing works. In their revised context, they are slaves rather than partners: tamed, corralled, assigned. Mehr’s only (intentional) derailment is to make his soundscapes seem so appealing as electronic-organic blends that the listener fails to question what may have been lost in translation. Perhaps this is the artist’s hidden point: that we have replaced one type of beauty with another, the soulful with the soulless, and have fooled ourselves into thinking that the two are equal. Our memories, preserved in sample and sound byte, promote a secondary nostalgia, not for time itself, but for the time when we attempted to capture time on cassette, videotape or phone. To paraphrase, our memories have become polluted by the technological medium of “preserving” our memories.

    Mehr makes his point so smoothly that we may receive it blithely. Such a reaction supports his central argument, that we have been lulled into a blind and dangerous trust. If the first six tracks are sirens on an island, the seventh is the warning blast. Given what we now know, and what’s now happened, it was a disastrous thing to have done.”

    A Closer Listen

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  • Markus Mehr Reviewed at ATTN:Magazine

    “I couldn’t have picked a better time to write about this record. I’m currently working nightshifts. 7pm until 7am. They don’t come up often, but given the amount of effort I’ve exerted in trying to whip my circadian clock into obedience over the past couple of years (earlier bedtime, no caffeine after midday, no screens at night etc), they’re becoming increasingly difficult to endure. I tend to awake at about 2pm after five hours of intermittent sleep, and then step outside and pretend that I’m a diurnal creature just like everyone else, shuffling through the food hall of Marks & Spencer and squinting at the lights and white surfaces of the freezer aisle. Dyschronia opens on a collage of imagined musical fragments, detuned radios and the bustle of morning commute, and I float from one space to another without even a moment of stillness, each sound slipping off the rim of the stereo image before I have the opportunity to properly engage with it.

    There’s also a low, buzzing drone at the centre, which perfectly captures that sleepless headache, that pressure on my temples that gently urges my eyes to close, that harsh artificial light that renders every hallway and room as a sterile, synthetic render of the daytime. This thick electronic hum is the sound of the body in nauseated complaint. I shouldn’t be awake. Of course, this sensation isn’t exclusive to my night shifts. It also rings true to those days when I let my daily routine slip. Instead of allowing the daytime to trail off elegantly through evening ritual, reducing my activity to a book read by warm light before lowering me toward sleep, I hold myself within a state of transient consumption until I pass out. With restless sleep comes an ever-fainter distinction between one day and another, and a gradual blurring at the edges of sensory experience. Dyschronia carries this scenario to its very extreme, disconnecting me entirely from the passing of time.

    As well as enacting collage in a manner that feels thoroughly drowsy, swerving into incomplete extracts of conversation and rolling instrumental loops around the frame like kneaded dough under palm, Mehr manages to evoke that tangling of present tense experience and retrospect. Synthesisers trade places with the clatter of public spaces, which in turn melt into a tentative whimper of violins or the crack of ice in a glass, which then sink into electronc chords that slosh from left to right, which then curdle into the falsetto vowels of church choir. Everything is vague and only part-received, which makes it difficult to distinguish between the “just heard” and “hearing now”; I sleepwalk between sounds while daydreaming about the one before and fantasising about the potential sound to come, splaying my sensory engagement all across the axis of time. It’s clearly a beautifully made record, and part of me wishes I could be more awake to vividly appreciate that.”

    ATTN:Magazine

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  • “Eat Your Friends” Compilation Reviewed at DOA

    “Over almost a decade, Hidden Shoal records developed a reputation as a consistently innovative and experimental music label, giving to us music of remarkable qualities whether it was the instrumental excursions of Gilded, the blissed-out indie of My Majestic Star, the electronica of Marcus Mehr, the alt.folk stylings of Kramies – the HSR list of significant talents was a lengthy one. I say was, as in 2014 or thereabouts, the Hidden Shoal label underwent a reorganisation of sorts, and it began to seem that one of the more influential Australian record labels of the recent past was itself going into hiding. Perhaps so, although only to return refreshed, renewed, invigorated and with its varying artistic visions intact – the Eat Your Friends compilation proves that the Hidden Shoal label is properly with us again.

    One thing I’ve found when reviewing compilations is that not infrequently, when I put them into my music players, the tracks separate instead of remaining in their album folder, and that has happened with my copy of Eat Your Friends, encouraging me to view each of the tracks as a single release rather than view the album itself as a cohesive whole. Then there’s the fact that only some of its contributors are already known to me and so, ditching some of my preconceptions about what it’s going to sound like, I began listening to the 11 tracks in a random sequence, and prepared for the unexpected.

    Firstly, there’s singer/songwriter Erik Nilsson’s “Moksha Can Wait”, a song which electronic composer Marcus Mehr has taken and adapted to his subtly developed production sound, a track that begins almost inaudibly and builds to a staggering crescendo of soaring, roaring electronic sound and with Nilsson’s guitar and piano providing a counterpoint to Mehr’s swirling atmospherics. The ambient chill of City Of Satellites is given an added gloss by Tim Manzano, although I’m not so sure what he’s actually done with the track – it does sound a lot like the City Of Satellites I know from their Machine Is My Animal album, although as the track progresses and the rhythm and bass begin to disintegrate into a dubby conclusion it seems more apparent where Manzano has left his mark. Arc Lab’s “Through The Burning Glass” is remixed by Glanko, beginning with a club-level bassline before levelling into a noir tinged synth epic. And just when you thought the tracks on Eat Your Friends were entirely instrumentals, Rew perform a cover version of Umpire’s “Green Light District” and they do it with a vocal, alongside the strings and crashing cymbals and haltingly uncertain rhythms, a highlight of an album each of whose tracks is in one or another way remarkable.”

    DOA

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  • Markus Mehr “Re-Directed” Reviewed at Music Won’t Save You

    [Translated via Google. Read the original here.]

    “Four long sections separated by three interludes are the result of the search for Markus Mehr around the theme of digital addiction. Not without a certain taste for paradox, to achieve his sixth album “Re-Directed” the German artist has employed a large catalog of sounds derived from servers, hard drives and mobile phones, capturing pulses, noise and vibrations often on the border of ‘inaudible.

    The currents of static electricity and concrete dissonances prominent captured by Mehr microphones have thus become part of an audiovisual performance created together with Stefanie Sixt, whose alienating sound component is very noisy complexity of the digital age.”

    Music Won’t Save You

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  • Markus Mehr “Re-Directed” Reviewed at A Closer Listen

    “What’s going on inside all those disc drives, cellphones and computers?  We’ve grown accustomed to obvious sounds: the whirr of a burning disc, the start-ups and shut-downs, the overheating hum of internal fans.  But what about all the data stored, trashed and seemingly lost?  Detectives are able to recover data from hard drives, and even the Internet seems to keep a copy, as those who have tried to delete incriminating emails have discovered.  Digital footprints are nearly impervious to destruction, as Markus Mehr demonstrates via sharp amplification.  His induction microphones ferret out the hidden and over-written, exposing – and perhaps indicting – humanity’s newest enduring mark.

    What is the sum of all these Netflix binges, G.P.S. searches and impulsive texts, these memos and photos and hacks?  A big, unsorted tangle of sonic debris, not the Cloud but the precipitation from the Cloud.  And that’s what this release sounds like: the malfunctioning of fax machines, connective failures, and spinning color wheels, but also regret, shame, and a creeping soullessness.  If a nuclear bomb seems to explode in “Re-Directed 2,” the ensuing sound of a Xerox machine destroys all context.  Then a digital swarm descends, followed by a mangled church bell.  It’s beautiful, it’s ugly, it’s all in the ear of the beholder.  Re-Directed is the strangest sort of soundscape, a field recording for the digital generation.  As screens become our dominant visual attraction, mechanized noises – audible and inaudible – become our dominant aural input.

    There are sociopolitical implication to this release, underlined by the video work of Stefanie Sixt.  Might patterns become our new preference, displacing images of flora and fauna?  Is the random hypnotic preferable to the messy unpredictability of human life?  By embedding “real” snippets of music (stuttered piano and occasional beats), Mehr makes “Re-Directed 4” a choice between two worlds, one of which can be obliterated with an electromagnetic pulse.  Yet he undercuts his dire message – perhaps deliberately – by making his music so alluring.  It’s not until the orchestration breaks through the static in the final piece, echoing a Hawai’ian luau, that a sense of awakening develops.  Here at last is the soul we once lost, strangled in the brambles.”

    A Closer Listen

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  • Markus Mehr “Live In Bari” Reviewed at EtherReal

    [Translated from the original French via Google]

    We discover Markus Mehr with this live album, a live transcription of the Off album which concluded the trilogy In / On / Off published between January 2012 and January 2013 through Hidden Shoal Recordings. The concert was recorded in November 2012 as part of the festival Time Zones Bari (Italy) that will have its 30th anniversary this year. In the image of the album, this live is in the form of a single piece of about 45 minutes, a long dive between mechanical loops, drones and arid textures.

    The introduction is rather misleading since the rest of the concert has little to do with these loops generated by a pedal effect samplant agreement and attack the strings of a guitar. An early set particularly arid, disturbing, whose sounds make us think more industrial music as a peaceful atmosphere. But gradually the sound is more diffuse, loops blur, evolving into a mechanical drone. The tempo is just suggested by low residues while some try to escape vocalizations sound magma. Gradually fades the relative hardness and after about ten minutes, after some wavering voice, ambient layers of both muffled and crackling take over, particularly assertive. It then approaches a melancholy ambient glitch clearly recalling the work of Fennesz.

    Over this long piece vocabulary changes quite regularly, avoiding fatigue. To remain consistent, the atmosphere is a certain melancholy sweetness, using initially slicks cinematographic allusions before integrating more twisted sounds and other snaps, allowing the same time to restart the machine that could falter on this transition. We then noticed a phase that suspends tablecloths and drones turn loop at the rate of a cardiac monitor beeps reminiscent. Later, low saturated, announce a return to dry sound, a kind of drone to techno beats until the fateful break.
    The last fifteen minutes like a concentrate of the recipe used previously by the musician. arid melodic tablecloths, minimal and hypnotic ambient stasis while a certain darkness intrudes and come and give you goosebumps.

    Live recording, so applause at the end of a concert set that we will live that through this album but was certainly one of the highlights of this festival.”

    EtherReal

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Licensing

Markus Mehr’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.

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