Oliver Doerell (guitar, bass, and electronics) and Stephan Wöhrmann (piano, drums) comprise the duo of Swod, and Sekunden is their second full-length album, following three years after the release of Gehen. Comprised of similar musical ingredients as their debut, the release finds the two again combining organic instrumentation with electronic music for a warm release that has a woozy weekend morning feel, while dipping into near neo-classical at times.
Like a lot of groups making music that's somewhat similar, Swod doesn't really do anything flashy to pull in listeners. Instead, they're just incredibly consistent and steady in their approach, creating track after track of soft, but lush music that draws you in and sustains you. Opener "Montauk" is all those things, with layers of piano loops that slowly intertwine as a simple bass structure shifts and hissy synth washes threaten to derail things before all the pieces fall back into place again. "Deer" brings more of a rhythmic element into the mix with some pitter-pat hi-hats and rich bass lines, but despite building some tension the song never quite takes off like it feels like it might as it coils more tightly.
And really, that's the trick with albums like Sekunden. It's ambient music certainly, but it also has enough of a pulse in places that it makes you think that it might burst forth at any moment. When it never really does, the tightrope act is sustained, and despite a few places where it gets a bit louder (the soft piano-driven ambient rock of "Exit"), the group never really amps things up too much. They're at their best on the slightly noisy "Insects," where the piano work of Wöhrmann (which sometimes veers a little too close to overly-sentimental) is challenged by some harsher sounds, and on other tracks this same style simply gets a bit overbearing and syrupy. Beautiful in places and overly-dramatic and somewhat telegraphed in others, Sekunden is a nice, but ultimately fairly middle-of-the-road ambient album.