- Perhaps answering criticism that he got lazy after Reflections, Martin Stimming seems to be back on track, with his collaboration with Ben Watt earlier this year, and this sublime release. Or more accurately, he's de-mired himself by progressing. It's still (as always) unmistakably Stimming: each track is a textured oil painting with a groove that's almost unbelievably tight considering it's constructed from dry twigs. Reflections, though, was largely thin and light in its flitting, transient ideas, whereas the tracks in Change feel like compositions rather than mosaics; more symphonic.
That's not always because of the emotional depth injected by fuller chords. In the title track, this and his brittle rhythms take a back seat to Lazarusman's soliloquy. Some may see it as preachy, others deep and meaningful; but with advice such as "put yourself in positions where change is favourable, not just circumstantial," I'll plump for the latter. "The Unicorn," meanwhile, has a characteristic melodic line hovering in the background, but the scratchy violins that previously might have been short punctuations build and lift the track, still with understatement and restraint, until a sweet melancholy is reached with pianos near the end.
"Der Schmelz," my personal favourite, is likewise thick and heavy, but more religious than plainly sad, with an undercurrent of spine-tingling tickles and Spanish guitars joined by hymnal chords. It's weird, but gorgeous—late night outdoor festival DJs take note. "For My Girl" is less focused, but I can forgive him on three counts. Firstly, it's a B-side that falls perfectly reasonably into the "something different from the others" category; secondly, it's only slipping, not slipped, and this median point has a dreamlike quality about it; and thirdly, in terms of simple beauty it's among the most tender tracks he's ever done, and when the pads swell around the four or five minute mark, it simply makes my heart ache.
A1 Change (featuring Lazarusman)
A2 The Unicorn
B1 Der Schmelz
B2 For My Girl