Following M. Ostermeier’s more-than-excellent 2010 release, Chance Reconstruction, Ostermeier returns with another gorgeous album exploring cavernous spaces between minimal electronic compositions and carefully composed piano pieces. While slightly less airy than Chance Reconstruction, The Rules of Another World inhabits the same sonic space as its predecessor, finding itself slipped somewhere between minimal electronic, glitch, drone, classical and alleotoric sound experimentation. I promise that Rules is way less stuffy than the above sentence makes it out to be. Promise.
Rules is quiet music, that is for sure. But, where Chance Reconstruction often relied on heavy counterpoint between sparse piano notes to carry much of its emotional heft, Rules is practically swarming beneath its placid surface with a million tiny organisms embedded waaaay down in your headphones, crawling over each other with their spindly little legs. Sunday afternoon quiet and pillowy, but busy and breeding well below the plunked and picked piano notes.
There is something strangely organic about the clanking, swirling, biting, gnawing and skipping sounds beneath the piano lines. Something akin to the walking through the abandoned Taiwanese San-Zhr Pod Village on the front cover. One of my dreams in life is to be a "Stalker" in the abandoned Russian town of Chernobyl (after seeing the Tarkovsky film). But after seeing this picture, visiting San-Zhr seems like a new personal goal. Ostermeier captures perfectly idealism and decay and a nostalgic futurism that prompted communal living spaces left for nature to reclaim and tourists to walk through in reverent silence. The omnipresent dead flag pole clank could very well could be the sound of a metal spoon against a porcelain cup during afternoon tea or the fluttering of a thousand fireflies at dusk, written and recorded in the walls and left behind furniture of the now condemned buildings. Ostermeier is a collector, a field recorder and a composer more than a musician, collecting and appropriating memories into his quiet, barely there songs.
With only three records deep, Tench Records is proving to be one of the finest purveyors of this line-blurring electroacoustic classical music. Plus, I have always been completely blown away by the physical packaging that this music comes in. Rules of Another Small World is no exception at all.