You know how sometimes you're driving along in the car with the radio on, and you're not really paying attention to what is playing over the airwaves? Well last week I was having one of those moments. It was post-midnight and I found myself driving along to work (don't ask...) in a zombie-like state of nothingness going on in my head. Paying attention to the road just enough not to present myself as a hazard to other drivers, but honestly, my mind had totally gone tabula rasa.
Now, every so often, a song will come on the radio that is so interesting, it touches you strongly enough to rip you right out of your apathetic reverie. It started without warning or announcement; it's gentle pulsing synths warming the speaker reverberations akin to The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights". Suddenly my eyes and ears were awake and I was thinking "ooh, new Postal Service song?" but no, the song quickly shifted in style when a gorgeous compound 6/4 rhythm kicked in over the top, blending trip-hop-esque beats with gorgeous electric-acoustic guitar melodies, piano backing harmonies, and raindrop-like synths that glisten off the ear like snowdrops melting at the touch of skin.
I remained in my car after I had parked for another three minutes, eager to find out what the song that had played was called. It turned out to be called Composure, by an artist I had never heard of: B. Fleischmann.
Quickly noting it in my phone, I rushed up to work, determined that later on I would start a search for this gorgeous song and try and discover more about his other songs, hoping for the same sort of quality.
The following week, I discovered that his album; "The Humbucking Coil"; had recently been released in February of this year. It is the fourth album from Fleischmann since his debut in Germany with "Pop Loops For Breakfast" back in 1999. Interesting titles, I thought, and this further heightened my curiosity to hear what the rest of the album sounded like.
Every song search, for me, starts with file-sharing programs. However, none of B.Fleischmann's stuff was easilly available, let alone his newest release. Individual tracks were virtually impossible to find, so I searched for entire albums, and found 3 sources. Within a matter of days, I was the proud owner of a very mysterious, electronic pirated copy of The Humbucking Coil. Ever so excited, I added it to my iPod immediately and couldn't help but listen through it thrice-over the next day.
Honest to God, never have I been so moved by instrumental music and electro-ambience. For those very few people who have heard of them, it reminds me of the instrumental 4-piece band "Explosions In The Sky" meets the electronic production of Dntell, who is also one-half of slightly better-known The Postal Service. The Humbucking Coil is an amazingly creative production of an album, each track taking on a gorgeously warm flavour of it's own, while still simmering gently within a pool of sombre remeniscence and sometimes depressed undertones.
Powerful in it's subtleness, the song "Static Gate" stretches it's 4 and a half minutes into eternity with lulling beats and piano-riffs, suddenly offset by the sound of oboes kicking in halfway through. "Aldebaran Waltz" is triple-time brilliance in it's creative relaxation, again utilizing compound rhythms from real drums, to achieve both a slow yet fast tempo, while overdrive guitar fuzz lifts the athmosphere around the song to a warmer climate from it's initial lonely cold dwelling. The track "First Times" is worthy of note here too: it begins rather typically with a droning synth, but very quickly transports itself to utter brilliance when the uplifting multiple guitar melodies and keyboards seep in.
The following day, I strode into JB-Hifi and bought the album outright. It is ironic how fired up a lot of the "righteous" get with regard to illegal downloading of music, especially now with the popularity and accessibility of Apple's iTunes. However, a lot of people such as myself, would never buy half the music they now own and cherish, if it weren't for previewing their worthiness in this way beforehand. These days, consumers are becoming a lot fussier with the albums we choose to buy - one or two outstanding tracks simply isn't enough of a reason to purchase an entire album. The record has to prove itself as a whole. The Humbucking Coil certainly achieves that. Every track belongs together, and it doesn't get repetitive. At only eight tracks, it is short, but long. Two of the tracks have thoughtful lyrics, but the real attention is deservingly given to the music itself.
In short, B.Fleischmann is an exceptional find. I may be late to jump on the bandwagon, and admittedly, the bandwagon is probably scarecely boarded here in Australia. But this is great timing for an album only released a few months ago this year. To anyone who appreciates moving music, to the lonely and the happy, the content and the lost, to the visionaries and the dreamers: this album is for you. Essentially, the feel-good album of the winter.