Dominik Eulberg - Diorama

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  • Dominik Eulberg's productions have always been intricately linked to the sounds of the natural world. Since his debut in 2003, he's made a name for creating tiny techno nocturnes that often break into airy, sparse tonal patterns that mimic the sylvan sounds to which he's drawn—what a friend once referred to as "Messiaen-ish natural ambiance." Noted as a part-time forest ranger, Eulberg took this affinity so far as to bridge his 2007 album, Heimische Gefilde, with spoken word descriptions about birds and samples of birdcalls. Now, for his fourth album—crafted over almost a year—and third for Cologne mainstay Traum, Eulberg's cooperated with the German magazine NABU to dedicate eleven songs to various exotica, from plants like the Bee Orchid to animals like the Icelandic Cyperine and even natural elements like water. Lest this lead into too literal a read about the sounds Eulberg's created here though, it's notable that this background means much more to the creator than the listener. One need know nothing about these allusions to appreciate Diorama as another lush, hyper-melodic entry in his catalogue. Though it's always been an element of his sound, Eulberg strips back the energy and heavy pulse of works like Flora & Fauna or Bionik and delves into the choppy IDM rhythms and overtly song-oriented craftsmanship of artists like Nathan Fake, Jesse Somfay and Apparat. Diorama feels like much more of a home-listening experience than anything he's produced to date. "Islandmuschel 400," for example, circles within a gorgeous whirlpooling synthesizer melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Vangelis record, while "Die 3 Millionen Musketiere" twinkles and sparks across the kind of twilit bell pattern Pantha du Prince might create. With its hip-hop beat and sputtering samples, "Tauschungs-Blume" is similarly wistful and withdrawn, founded around another choral synthesizer wash. For all of these silken moodpieces though, it's a sequence of tracks near Diorama's end that sets the album apart from anything Eulberg's produced to date. "Der Tanz der Gluhwurmchen," which translates as "dance of the fireflies," lives up to its namesake; elegant tonal patterns flutter in and out of the mix, drifting out of hearing just as the track's central melody pushes into the fore. Follower "Aeronaut" begins with stately piano before wind-ticked bells start to clatter around the track's soft, sticky beat; as with much of the album's second-half, it's pitched somewhere between ambient and down-tempo without declining into rote wallpapering. "Wenn es Perlen Regnet," meanwhile, recalls the swift bell peals and jumpy rhythm of 2008's Herbarium 12-inch with an interwoven series of patterns that sound almost like ice melting in the spring sun. It's an inspiring run with enough sharp emotionality and escapist appeal to close Diorama in a mood of reverie and contemplation. It's just a shame that in 2011, Eulberg's likely to attract mainly those who've been following from the beginning. Diorama's both his most thoroughly realized full-length to date and one of the best of the year; it deserves to stir a new wave of intrigue in the man.
  • Tracklist
      01. Täuschungs-Blume 02. Echomaus 03. Das Neunauge 04. Teddy Tausendentod 05. Islandmuschel 400 06. Die 3 Millionen Musketiere 07. H2O 08. Der Tanz der Glühwürmchen 09. Aeronaut 10. Wenn Es Perlen Regnet 11. Metamorphose
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