Field Rotation: Fatalist – The Repetition Of History (Denovali)
CD / DL / LP
Field Rotation A.K.A Christoph Berg has, through various EPs and his last album ‘Acoustic Tales’, garnered praise and fans through his mix of classical and electronica. This album will seem him gain a whole lot more.
Fatalist is one of the most beautiful and rewarding listens I have had in a long time. Full of repeated musical motifs (clue in the title), twists and turns, this is ‘ambient’ at its finest. Where Enos’ LUX was so ambient it was almost asleep, this record rewards engagement and repeated listens.
Opener The Uncanny is a beautifully melancholic opener. Threatening to build into chaos, it reigns itself in each time and instantly puts the listener into the world that the album resides in. Like a modern day Shine On You Crazy Diamond, or Everything In It’s Right Place, The Uncanny sits you down and forces you to engage with what is to come.
Another of this albums strong points, is its deep undercurrent of darkness. On top the music seems lush and ethereal but there is always something lurking in the shadows that threatens to burst free at any moment. The best examples of this are on the tracks Fatalist and The Repetition Of History. On the latter, waves roll and crash as a lonely violin plays a mournful melody. This is pure folk music and one would be hard to place this piece in any point of history. An ode to those lost at sea? A melody for a love now gone? That is for the listener to interpret.
Fatalist on the other hand is pure horror. Not horror in a ‘teens-get-slaughtered, lots-of-blood’, kind of way, but horror in an ‘old-house-on-your-own’ kind of way. The static skip of a record plays continually through the track and a quarter of the way through the track drops into near silence. All that can be heard is the aforementioned static, some distant breathing and the sounds of gates closing. The track invokes the sensation a young person can get when visiting a beautiful church. Yes, there is beauty all around but there is also a deep unease and a sense of foreboding lurking in the shadows. A highlight!
Many of the other tracks follow in this vein, containing random bursts of choirgirl singing and discordant violins, and just because I have not gone into them in detail does not mean they are less worthy.
This is as a complete work as you will find. An album that must be listened to from beginning to end (and at least a couple of times) before the true riches emerge.
We don’t do the ‘star ratings’ system here at Louder Than War (rightly so) but if we did I would have to give this as many stars as I could.
A modern ambient masterpiece!
Now leave me alone while I dive back in……
Words by Simon Tucker. More writing by Simon on Louder Than War can be found here.