It wasn't until the advent of time-lapse photography that humans were able to perceive slow and subtle processes on a comprehensible scale. New wisdom can be found in being able to perceive clouds flowing like a river, or the way heavy traffic on a city street begins to resemble the circulation of blood vessels through an artery. In many ways, "Shadows of the City," Markus Guentner's latest release captures this fleeting sensation of experiencing time and space on a novel but disarmingly-familiar scale, enthralling listeners with deftly-constructed soundscapes that tell a story widely-open to individual interpretation.
Opening with the track "Chromatic Fields," Guentner envelopes the user in a warm, resonant sphere of energy, gliding over the shimmering surface of a moonlit pond. Continuing with "Ashes," a stark but uplifting and meditative movement, the listener is prepared for the first of two longer pieces as the sense of anticipation grows. The title track emerges from the shadowy silence before a Voigt-like four-to-the-floor beat takes hold of the listener and carries them through canyon-like resonance separating monolithic structures of percussion, snaps of air and cracks of sunlight flashing through to illuminate the dust. With the following track, "The Run," Guentner releases the built-up energy, returning the listener to the center, preparing them for what comes next. "The Coral Crowd" is ushered in much like it's long-playing counterpart (or counterpoint, to some), graceful yet grounded, organic, but orderly. Ending symmetrically with "Eternal," listeners are gently returned to consciousness, new insights revealed and ready for the next play-through. A wholly satisfying low-levels listening experience from beginning to end, "Shadows of the City" may represent some of Markus Guentner's finest and most mature work to-date.