This part live/part studio album sees the first CD team up of well-respected musician Wolfram Spyra, who has released CDs on the Fax label in the past and Chris Lang.
"Neunundfunfzig 49" clocks in at a whopping 59 minutes and was recorded, using what is described as 'minimal equipment' live at Manikin Records' first 36 hour non-stop event at the Toska Therme in Bad Sulza, Germany during 2001 where the patrons could experience the music while taking a dip in the heated water if they so chose! The lack of gear does nothing to detract from the sound which is fleshed out expertly, constantly evolving and seemingly based around a central theme that is embellished upon throughout. There's obviously a fair amount of improvisation in this piece but these are mixed with many seemingly planned basics that give the piece more scope.
Spyra's solo works have always had a strong Klaus Schulze influence and this is again the case here, from the use of quantised piano sounds, the occasional choir stabs and some of the sequencing that bares an uncanny resemblance to Schulze's 1977 classic "Mirage". Luckily for all concerned Spyra and Lang use these sounds concisely and sensibly (unlike some of the monotonous snoozathons Schulze has been responsible for!), never allowing the music to become too repetitive or dull but adding plenty of well-thought out melodics and ambient tones that make this ideal music for late night listening. This is an important consideration if interest is going to be maintained throughout the long duration and to their credit the two musicians carry this off admirably. Probably the highlight of the whole set comes at the 38 minute mark as the different motifs intermingle to good effect, along with a memorable melodic focal point.
In comparison the 8 minute "Acht 39" seems like it's been tacked on almost as an afterthought. Recorded during studio rehearsals this is more to the point with a nicely deep sonorous feel that is embellished through the bass chords and understated melodics to give a nicely melodic feel that, like it's longer brethren is both relaxing and energising to listen to.
Artist Link: http://www.manikin.de