Moon in Earthlight


Moon in Earthlight describes the phenomenon one can see in the first few days after a new moon, when the slim crescent of the moon is completed into a full circle by a faint light that is not lit by sunlight but by the light reflected from Earth. It is also the apt title for the first album from an artist whose first love was astronomy. After six EPs over the course of five years, Wolfgang Tillmans now releases his first album, Moon in Earthlight, a singularly plural 53-minute piece comprised of 19 tracks. Opening with more that connects us than divides us, "Celloloop / More That Connects Us", a looped cello sets out a discursive path for a bright keyed melody to flirt with while the sounds of the organ and synthesizer build their supporting roles, all along a bouncing four-to-the-floor beat punctuated with bright electronic chimes and the rhythmic tempo of a shaker. Voices and laughter are overheard in the background of another field recording sounding water dripping from a "Rain Gutter" later caught by the soft, warm rhythmic bounce between two synth notes on "Fourth Floor" where chime-like and percussive timbres resonate from the metal tine keys of the kalimba creating a meditative acuity, which Tillmans peppers with arpeggiated synth riffs. A composition of multiplicities, Tillmans' album debut is a collage of sounds, field recordings, words, studio jam sessions and live recordings, voice, soundscapes, and instrumentation scored with audible space to breathe along the way. Keeping pace, the first "Kardio Loop" is a vocal calisthenics contemplating "the possibility of a happy life" and/or the propositional properties of its semantic constructions backed by the recording of a heartbeat from a cardiogram. This movement is gradually accompanied by a set of orchestral synth pads that build to a crescendo before the soft, twirling melody of "Stonerella" carries you along a carousel-like melodic, pop, instrumental timed in the percussive clapping of pebbles. You float through "Don't Kill It by Naming It" before dancing along "Insanely Alive" all the while contemplating the inherent, fragile complexities of language and being. Whether lyrically playful or introspective, Tillmans' voice is always giving: intimately unfolding as in the surprising take on Simon & Garfunkel's "El Condor Pasa" or shapeshifting in "Can't Escape into Space" or fully naked as raw material expression in "Kantine" and "Ocean Walk".