Ulrich Krieger * Olivier Alary



Ulrich Krieger is a German composer and musician ‘not accepting stylistic boundaries’. Apart from his solo work, released on many different labels, he also is connected to many groups – of which Art Zoyd may be the best known.

His new release on the Room40 label shows his fascination for the ”alienness’ of oceanic depths’: Hadal is the deepest of the so-called aphotic (‘lightless’) oceanic zones: 6.000 – 11.000 m.

In an unlikely coincidence, Aphotic I – Hadal was released two days before the Titan submersible was reported missing. It turned out to be imploded at a depth of 3.500 m below sea level: the Bathyal zone. Given the pressure at that depth, it is impossible to imagine what the pressure must be in the Hadal zone.

Scuba divers will know that ‘underwater also has its own, different acoustic that irritates our senses and creates a new, unique experience – sounds seem to come from everywhere, meaning we cannot orientate by sound anymore. Further, there is the filter effect of water, making the underwater soundscape filtered, darker and quieter. And the deeper we go pressure gets stronger, water gets colder, and less animal life can be found.’

This is the exact atmosphere the Ulrich Krieger recreates in these three 20-minute versions of Hadal: Acoustic, Delay, and Electronic. The sonic depth created by UlrichKrieger (bass clarinet, electronics), Ben Richter (accordion), and Alkis Nicolaides (electric guitar) is almost palpable.

The I in the album title suggests that more Aphotic releases may follow in the future. Slowly moving up from Hadal through Abyssal (4.000 – 6.000), Bathyal (1.000-4.000), and Mesopelagic (200-1.000) – until finally, in Epipelagic (0-200), we’ll be able to see the sunlight again.

Apparitions, Vol. 1


Olivier Alary, born in France but now living in Montreal, has released four albums under his own name since 2016 – two on 130701 and two (including this one) on Richard Chartier’s Line Records. Apart from his solo albums, he also released work as Ensemble, whose debut Sketch Proposals caught the attention of Björk who invited him to remix two of her songs. Later, he also collaborated with Johannes Malfatti and Ian William Craig. He composed music for more than 50 feature fiction and documentary films.

Apparitions, Vol. 1 is the first of a series of composed works, ‘instrumental acoustic pieces centered around the idea of a musical representation of the spectrality of memory – a space where time collapses and our past collective memories haunt our minds, like a ghost.’

Coming from an electronic music background, Alary chose to limit himself to acoustic instruments without using any electronic processes. The three tracks are written for (and performed by) 3 violas, 4 vibraphones, and marimba, and 3 bassoons. Each piece takes the time to develop the composition to maximum effect.

The ‘Apparitions’ from the title – referring to ‘hauntology music which relies on the intersections of memories and depicts musically how we are haunted by the past’ – is the result of using similar instruments played together ‘in order to use psychoacoustic effects coming from the closeness of the timbres’.

Someone on the Line BandCamp page commented with the simple statement ‘Contemporary done right’ – and I can heartily agree with that. Even if it’s hard to explain what exactly is ‘right’ and what is not, this is definitely ‘done right’!

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