Aukai: Branches Of Sun – Album Review
Branches Of Sun
Markus Sieber is Aukai, returning here with Branches of Sun, a beautiful atmospheric soundscape rooted both in nature and the transcendental.
Created with the Aukai Ensemble, comprising Angelika Baumbach and Alex Nichmann, other contributors such as Anne Muller and Jamshied Sharifi are known for their collaborations with luminaries of instrumental experimentation such as Nils Frahm, Agnes Obel and Laurie Anderson. The whole album is kept moving with the versatile, resilient percussion of Miguel Hiroshi and features the strings of the ronroco, a relative of the Andean charango originating in the 1980s as its questing lead.
Reverberation: echoes – intimate and expansive – the sound of your own heart beating in your throat and the knocking on the tin roof shack, something stirring around the outhouse beneath the starry brilliance of a Colorado sky. There is a wind that blows through this sonic landscape, sweeping and sculpting the textures with invisible hands. We’re out on the trail, maintaining a jaunty momentum, our shoulders, our heads rising and falling with each placing of hoof on the dusty desert floor.
Yet here there is hope, the promise of warm sunshine, glimpses of rivers flowing through the Rockies on this Old Spanish Trail.
Percussion is movement. From one bar to the next, beats like the hands of a ticking clock, overplayed with scenes of circadian rhythms, scenes of life flooding the field of vision, shimmering in the sunlight.
Fragmentary Blue: the water rushes by, bold amongst the rocks and stones – light glistens, sparkles, disappears as we round the bend. The trail, the terrain is different here – we glimpse the Mediterranean between the branches.
On your back, on the grass, the Earth so close yet far beneath you, Distracted By Clouds, The Rorschach’s Test begins. 1. Encapsulate cloud form in visual field. 2. Allow yourself to see. 3. Detach and allow mind to wander. 4. Become shifting shadows across the fields and streets.
Each time a track title urges us towards the literal, the concrete, it slips away through listening, beyond our grasp: fragmentary, mellifluous, abstract. This is music for the present and forever beyond.
Listen to Branches of Sun here: