Phillip Sollmann - Something Is Missing
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Phillip Sollmann
Something Is Missing

Phillip Sollmann started his musical career by releasing a series of 12" records under the name Efdemin that swung between minimal tech and house, but the more that he studied music (in Vienna), the more he became interested in more static music. He re-aquainted himself with the work of artists like La Monte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, and Phil Niblock (among others) and set about making something different. After a couple of sound installations a couple years back, he pushed his sound further and further, and the result is Something Is Missing, a shimmering, minimal album of five tracks that sound something like glitch music slowed down 100 times over and stretched out over five tracks and almost sixty minutes.

It's about as far from house or tech as one could possibly get, and this is a record that only pays off if you have time as a listener to sit and absorb it. It's not something to put on while driving (unless you're for some reason zooming across the barren salt flats) or even doing much of anything else active. Simply titled (Room One - Room Five), the pieces on the disc range from between seven and fifteen minutes, but play out in similar ways, with flickering tones changing ever so slowly and blurring the horizon line as microscopic changes keep things from being repetitive.

"Room One" opens the release and sounds like it was recorded live, as a soft room hiss seems to cover everything as slow, stuttering tones eventually give way to a glimmering bed of electronics and a deep, pulsing hum that pulls the different elements together. The track blooms about halfway through and then falls away towards the latter section, leaving only sustained organ-sounding tones and organic tapes pops. It's easily one of the better tracks on the album, and completely engrossing. "Room Two" isn't quite as active as the first track, as swirling washes wrap around overlapping layers of soft pads that play off one another in unique rhythmic ways.

"Room Three" is much less soothing as a couple layers of somewhat harsh tones slide across one another like two huge metal tectonic plates wheezing away as they scrape off shavings. Considering the organic gurglings that follow on "Room Four," the former track seems somewhat out of place on the disc, breaking the placid surface of sound while not adding much in terms of sound. "Room Five" closes the disc and finds Sollmann adding soft vocals to a hyper-minimal track of sustained tones that are a definite ode to the artists mentioned in the first paragraph. In places outstanding and in others (well, one track) a bit grating, Something Is Missing is a warm headphone album worth sinking into.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-01-26 21:06:50