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act 225 · ahnst anders · many ways · cd

tracklist:
1. something there
2. crushed
3. dust
4. silent whisper
5. hybrid
6. phonique
7. forrest
8. still here
9. night & day

download the promo-sheet as pdf

though he started as a dj that focused on electronic sounds, ahnst anders wanted to present his own creative output to the public. so in 2003 he replaced record players with musical instruments. he now works as a stage and studio performer who merges collages of noises, organic sounds and electronic music into a inimitable blend of dark ambient and experimental music. his debut album 'dialog' was released in 2007 simultaneously with his first concert at maschinenfest. following this were various remixes, collateral sound work for art exhibitions/installations and a collaborative album with config.sys. now ant-zen presents ahnst anders' second full length album.

'many ways' is based on different field recordings of natural sources (fire, water, wind), found objects (chains, metal breakers) and different daily environments (street sounds, trains). using the inspirations received from these recordings anders transformed the raw sound into tracks that range from ambient to breaks. during the production process he kept his senses and spirit as receptive as possible, treading many paths to achieve this result. this open-mindedness to try 'many ways' named the album.

the music on this release combines ambient soundscapes with a huge variety of rhythmic patterns - from tribal breaks to slow dub-influenced cadences. ruminant keyboard layers with added field samples generate a mixture of soothing and unsettling atmospheres. (dark) ambient, musique concréte and repetitive beats offer a soundtrack for a large number of moods. as anders elaborates: "music is.. the elixir for impetus, joy, emotion.. every day we are exposed to disturbing strong sonic waves; why shouldn't we turn these into something interesting?"

discography 09.2k9:
dialog. cd. pflichtkauf pflicht032. 2007
boiling the ocean (w/ config.sys). cd. pflichtkauf pflicht038. 2008
zeit für wunder. cd-r ep. play33 records play 006. 2008
many ways. cd. ant-zen act225. 2009

ahnst anders official webpages:
www.ahnst-anders.de
www.myspace.com/andersartig

reviews:

vital weekly
a couple of years ago i reviewed the debut album from german sound artist henrik erichsen under his alias "ahnst anders". the album, titled "dialog" and released on the pflichtkauf-label in 2007, was an intense album drifting somewhere in the borderlands between dark ambient and downbeat industrial. now two years later ahnst anders is ready with his fourth release, being the first album released on ant-zen recordings. if the debut album was good (and it definitely was!) this latest album carrying the title "many ways" is nothing short of excellent. the atmospheres of the album is darkly intense. keeping the foot in the dark ambient there are similarities to the earlier albums but the compositions seems more varied but still with a great sonic flow on the album as a whole. generally the composer sticks to the longer pieces with average playing times around 7 minutes per track. this means that the composer has plenty of time to create some musical intensity and atmosphere in pieces that overall use minimalist expressions. the sound of the works are first of all dark and sinister thanks to the slowly moving heavy drones that either lives on their own or sometimes in company with rhythmic patterns that spanning from downbeat to more upbeat technoid expressions. despite its blackness, there are much beauty hidden in the thick fogs of heavy drones. especially pieces like "phonique", "forrest" and "still there" oozes of melodic beauty. excellent new album that will please both ambient listeners and technoid fans. (nm)

enochian apocalypse
when the samples first kicked in i thought i was in for something that could be pretty nasty in the best sense of the word; i was delighted and surprised that opener 'something there' evolved into a beautiful light ambient almost ghostlike apparition that's as haunting as it is almost unnerving. when the samples first kicked in i thought i was in for something that could be pretty nasty in the best sense of the word; i was delighted and surprised that opener 'something there' evolved into a beautiful light ambient almost ghostlike apparition that's as haunting as it is almost unnerving. in contrast track two 'crushed' takes those airy melodies adding pace from electronic subtleties and a flat driving beat that is almost dub in its approach and immediately grabs the attention; yet again another surprise. i am simply not a fan of the art wankery that i deem field recordings in the general sense of the term, but anders knows exactly what he is doing; he manipulates these elements and executes them with precision daring to take them one step further pacing the sounds as an aural compliment to clever electronics and beats that lie underneath the mix and refuse to battle for supremacy. i am however a massive fan of dark ambient music and in many ways (excuse the pun) this album rolls with that a hell of a lot of the time, and when he is not been outright noisy and the thumping heartbeat like work slides in, this has something that resembles a stripped down, reworked and less commercial nod at acts such as 'burial'; and again this is more than welcome. all in all this is an extremely interesting second full length album; daring to mix the more eclectic with elements of something that steers into the commercial, well... just a little anyway. (tony young)

a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's website:
www.machinistmusic.net

chroniques electroniques
ahnst anders se nomme en réalité henrik erichsen. ce musicien trentenaire s'est rapidement distingué sur la scène alternative et underground de cologne. en quête perpétuelle de nouvelles directions musicales, ahnst anders pourrait se targuer d'être un véritable chercheur sonore. il a réussi lors de nombreux évennements à marier musique et art pictural. après deux disques sortis confidentiellement, c'est sur le label et distributeur avant-gardiste ant-zen que paraît ce premier album, many ways. inspiré par les sonorités environnementales du quotidien, le cerveau d'ahnst anders semble toujours en ébullition. on remarque rapidement un gros travail de sampling avec ces sonorités métalliques et organiques. l'allemand joue aussi avec le feu, l'air et l'eau. conçu comme une errance urbaine, erichsen nous emmène dans des lieux inquiétants. on pense à des égouts, un bunker, une soufflerie ou à une gare presque désaffectée. entre dark-ambient, drone, idm et musique concrète, cette quête introspective au coeur d'un univers crasseux est aussi belle qu'inquiétante. les synthés sont lugubres et pastoraux. le rythme lui, varie entre tribalisme minimaliste et dub downtempo. sans parler d'épuration, on peut dire qu'en ce qui concerne le rythme, ahnst anders va a l'essentiel, et cela même si la texture est taillée par un bijoutier face à un diamant noir et brut. cette musique, qui ne pourrait que profiter d'un support vidéo ou d'une chorégraphie contemporaine, a pour but de nous faire perdre pied. c'est plus que réussi. nul n'a envie de garder la tête hors de l'eau à l'écoute du terrifiant dust, des fusionnants silent whisper et phonique ou de l'envožtant forrest. que dire de still here et de ses magnifiques contrastes ? là où de sévères breakbeats cotoient des enfants en récréation et des oiseaux de mauvaise augure. dans une belle vision apocalyptique et lunaire, night & day, avec ses percussions cristallines et ses beats brouillés et dépouillés, vient clore un voyage dont nul ne peut sortir indemne. entre émotions palpables et imaginaires, ce magistral album est néanmoins conseillé à un public averti et habitué à ce genre de conceptions. (ed loxapac)

premonition
pas si éloigné, mais tout de même un brin plus conceptuel, many ways [ant-zen] d'ahnst anders offre ses lettres de noblesse à un genre bien souvent jugé austère : le field recording. pari risqué que celui de s'inspirer d'enregistrements bruts pour les condenser et les réorganiser sur neuf compositions aussi expérimentales qu'ambient d'un disque qui se termine en apothéose sur night & day. pari gagné, puisque "many ways", de par sa rigueur et sa créativité, offre plusieurs niveaux de lectures qui intriguent de prime abord, puis s'imposent comme évidents et parfaitement maîtrisés, loin des clichés "field recording fourre-tout" auxquels chacun pense par réflexe. (bertrand hamonou)

igloo
with a supernatural touch, this album pierces techno chill out regions and injects something sinister into areas traditionally of a less menacing nature, making it an unusual blend of dark fiction which rests on a nervous edge. "something there" holds a mirror to the blair witch project; with a title that suggests a dramatic crescendo, it's a chilly entrance to a dense wood of thought and fear - quite literally. first you'll notice familiar sounds from the crisp undergrowth underfoot, as something makes its way through the dense vegetation perhaps. next, the haunting spoken word effects reveal yet more unsettled moments; it's a spine tingling introduction into what could easily become the source of a vivid nightmare. "crushed" is more driven by its ambient random sounds and faint heartbeats, travelling to an area that's less charged with those mysterious unexplained energies of the previous track. "hybrid" is an industrial sounding effort that could easily be the stirring of a large tomb, uncovered by the inquisitive, yet still surrounded by those vast historical elements of mystery which remain invisible to the naked eye. almost science fiction in its approach is "silent whisper," with gentle forces edging forth; its mission is electronic self expression of an advanced form which becomes busy and fulfilling. the sound of heavy rain falling onto an deserted veranda prevails with "phonique." pleasing and less creepy, it offers relief as the gentle and almost hypnotic techno beat glides over the atmospheric backdrop, thus introducing reflection and gratification as it merges in and out of the track making for a pleasing to the ear blissful techno inspired expedition. "forest" is a ray of sunshine gleaming through the trees; its serene water feature sound effects give the track a bright day light glow, strings reveal its dramatic side of varying personality. "still here" emits deep haunting frequencies - in the distance the voices of young children can be heard, before it settles into its rhythm, backfilled with setting of deep mystique, before turning the corner to reveal a pathway of deeper dance beats. overall this album blends the automated electronic beats with the production of a dark spirited portrait, heavily laden with rhythmical accents of forceful supernatural control. (jus forrest)

dside
sinuoso, oscuro, misterioso. un distillato di finezze elettroniche ed impalpabili configurazioni sonore da laboratorio: è ci˜ che si rileva durante l'ascolto di questa quarta realizzazione dal 2007 a cura del tedesco aa, protagonista nell'anno successivo di un bell'album creato in collaborazione con i conterranei config.sys, "boiling the ocean", a suo tempo da me recensito in queste pagine. la geniale ant zen recluta quindi l'artista licenziando per la prima volta sotto il proprio marchio questo "many ways", così attiguo al sound cerebrale, cartesiano, pianificato e tipico della label, un melange di dark-ambient composto da tocchi cristallini di laptop, sussurri, espansioni di acustiche sintetizzate tra atmosfere catartiche e visionarie. nove tracce in toto delle quali "something there" funge da opener impiegando stridule emissioni tastieristiche, gocce di synth ed algidi aliti vocali in un immobilismo sonico che induce alla meditazione. "crushed", non da meno, concatena mute intermi ttenze computerizzate a percussività dalla timbrica attenuata, mentre "dust" fa sgorgare rombanti flussi di materia inorganica dalla temperatura antartica. il lungo, inespressivo accordo presente in "silent whisper" si interseca a scricchiolanti procedure ritmiche ed al sottile gioco di programming, così come la tenebrosa sperimentazione che transita in "hybrid" crea un incorporeo, estatico insieme di diffusioni di laptop e rumoreggi sotterranei. "phonique" intesse un fine drumming idm, leggere intersezioni di tastiera ed acquosi loops di sottofondo, anticipando "forrest" ed il suo scrosciante background disseminato di synthetici interventi di origine silvestre. "still here" è una esangue, pallida creatura sonora che nell'intro emette solo spettrali respiri di tastiera al cui successivo sviluppo si addizionano le piene pulsazioni di una percussività intelligente ed evoluta giungendo infine alle echeggiate cyber-risonanze di "night & day", delicata e progredita costruzione elettronica che ripartisce glaciali filamenti di synth ed una asciutta texture di drum-programming. album impossibile da valutare in termini superficiali proveniendo esso da una corrente di natura fortemente specifica, dove la sperimentalità e le complesse alchimie costituiscono gli elementi base del corpus insito nelle tracce, rendendo questo particolare ascolto un'esperienza unica, riservata ad un pubblico radicamente intransigente nei confronti delle ovvietà dei suoni convenzionali. tutto ci˜ che sfiora la ant zen si tramuta sistematicamente in diamante. un artista ed una label che continuano a tenere attivo e ben visibile il vessillo elettronico, offrendo vitale nutrimento alle menti più tecnologicamente avanzate. l'orgoglio e la capacità di differenziarsi.

chain d.l.k.
maybe again a review far away from a near-to-the-release-date destination, but again a goody, which deserves some recognition. ahnst anders is a german ambient-/electronica musician, who provides with 'many ways' his fourth release after two albums released by pflichtkauf in 2007 and 2008, and an ep under the play33-records label. a release now signed to ant-zen may suggest a harsh and rhythmically disturbing outfit, but the crafty sound-environment of ahnst is differently formulated. by focusing to combine natural field recordings like rain, wind, and water, found metallic objects and environmental noises (street sounds, trains) with a dark and creepy electronica sound outfit, he's able to create his very own world of true dark ambient music, which quite seldom turns out that rhythmically supported like under the track 'phonique' ' which is nevertheless my favorite tune on here. mostly the tracks offer the expected form of downtempo and true ambience caused through monotonous phrases ('something there', 'hybrid'). 'many ways' offers many ways to express his musically vision, and the often quoted difference between natural field recordings to a cold, synthetic sound outfit isn't seemingly that different ' on 'many ways' you'll find several examples to unite these contrary elements. (marc tater)

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