Somewhere in my musical journeys on Soundcloud and Instagram I stumbled upon a composer and sound designer from Portland, Oregon named Marcus Fischer. As I grew and my taste in music changed Fischer became one of the guys I turned to the most. When I read he would be releasing a new album through 12k I was beyond excited.
If you enjoy field recordings and minimal characteristics in your music then you’ll find plenty to glean from this release. The blurb on Bandcamp describes this record as “a particularly emotional work as Fischer explored what loss means to him and how to cope with the permanence of absence.” One of the challenges of being a musician is trying to figure out how to deliver a message through sound and Fischer took the route of generation loss and tape degradation to try to convey the feeling of loss. Sounds were recorded and re-recorded through various speaker setups, sounds were isolated and pulled from other recordings and put into something different, and I’m sure there are various other ways Fischer went about putting together this album.
While I love the album from start to finish there are things that stood out to me along the way that I want to point out. The track “Strand” has a very different sound compared to the rest of the pieces on the album, and I love that those sounds were included. I kept expecting those sounds to come up again at some point and when they didn’t I definitely felt like that was the intention – to anticipate something that wouldn’t come again, to experience loss.
“Home” is the sixth track on the album, the longest, and easily my favorite. The track almost has movements to it as different textures and sounds are introduced and slowly replaced, but yet it retains a sense of wholeness. There are many layers to this song, both emotionally and sonically. Drones, field recordings, pads, pianos, guitars, and other sounds are carefully stacked on top of each other, buried together, and have to be picked out. Like a treasure hunt. At nearly eleven and a half minutes long it definitely takes some intentional listening to get through it, but the end product is so rewarding just like the album itself.
This work by Fischer is certainly memorable and I will be returning to it many times. A must-listen if you enjoy minimal ambient music.