Sphäre Sechs – Extradimension
Martin Stürtzer and Christian Stritzel return once more with their ambient project Sphäre Sechs. I first heard these guys performing Tiefschlaf, and I was hooked with the massive, brooding sound design of that album. It’s been too long, and barely had the new year rung out we were blessed to have a new album from them. From the notes:
Sphäre Sechs (Martin Stürtzer & Christian Stritzel) returns with Extradimension, an evocative journey through dark space and otherworldly soundscapes. Recorded live using a Theremin alongside a collection of analog and digital instruments, Extradimension captures a raw and expressive energy, invoking the spirit of performance and creativity of these two musicians, who have been working together since 2001.
Wait what? There’s a theremin in here. Upon (yet another) listen through this album, I can hear it. But it’s a supremely far cry from the 50’s style warbling. Instead it’s a gentle, melancholic sound that provides an element of emotion to the cold darkness of the drones and pads.
- Dimensional Rift (6:02)
- Continuum (8:30)
- Shiftspace (7:00)
- Infinite Permutations (7:42)
- High Energy Collision (8:06)
- Protostar Evolution (8:28)
The opening track is grand, majestic at times, but not overly so. One of the things I loved about Tiefschlaf was that it created this grand huge sonic space, but wasn’t flashy. It was hugely restrained in it’s palette of sound and melody, and Dimensional Rift really captures that very first time I heard this group.
The haunting melodies really come into force in Continuum, a layered track of deep sub bass, dark synth string pads and almost vocal tune. The effects work really give the sound design a sense of huge, cavernous space. Shiftspace, however, narrows down and focuses on a specific sound, creating almost a sonic tunnel. At least I imagine it like travelling hyperspace.
Infinite Permutations once again opens up, lighter in tone. This is more classic space ambient drone music and it’s great to have this kind of variation throughout the album. You feel as if you’re going somewhere with this album as a whole, and yet each track stands out in it’s own right.
Then we get to High Energy Collision, bringing in some more abstract sounds, creating a more industrial feel to the drones. However, given the beautiful reverb and effects work, it’s on a massive, almost alien scale.
Finally we get to Protostar Evolution, returning to a more majestic theme like the opening track, and very much seemingly in awe of the birth of a new star, we have a sound palette that matches this. It’s a shame this album ends on this track, I really feel there could have been one more track to really bring it all together.
It’s shorter than I would have liked. That’s my only criticism. At around 46 minutes runtime, not even a full CD worth of music.. Of course, this is down in part I guess to time constraints of the artists, and probably other factors. But what there is really does not disappoint me at all.
If I were to choose one track, it would be Shiftspace. I just love it. It reminded me so much of Alphaxone & protoU’s ‘Planemo Dreams’ in a way – the sonic journey you’re taken on. Obviously the sound design and textures are different, but listening to music is as much about where you go with it. Both of these tracks work in similar ways to my mind.
Overall, it’s superb to hear more output from this duo, I just wish there was more of it.
Extradimension is available on Bandcamp