Austrian Band since 1997, produces mainly instrumental sound somewhere between rock, industrial and electronic – heavy guitar riffs meet broken beats and atmospheric speech samples, combined with harmonic melody-pads.
Martin Baumann, Paul Proll, Chris Hubmann, or simply Microtonner, are back with a new release and they are going to cement themselves in the music community. Coming from Austria, Microtonner produces a mainly instrumental sound we can position between rock, industrial and electronic. I would say that their music genre is whatever you want it to be. Christian Hubmann is also member of the post-rock/ambient band Sea of Disorder but Microtonner’s sound is something completely different.
The power of ignorance
(((O))) : MICROTONNER – NAVIGATION
Out now through Bandcamp
Martin Baumann, Paul Proll, Chris Hubmann, or simply Microtonner, are back with a new release and they are going to cement themselves in the music community. Coming from Austria, Microtonner produces a mainly instrumental sound we can position between rock, industrial and electronic. I would say that their music genre is whatever you want it to be. Christian Hubmann is also member of the post-rock/ambient band Sea of Disorder but Microtonner’s sound is something completely different. 2013 has been a really productive year for Microtonner that, after the release of Observer, is now releasing a new full length album titled Navigation.
This is an album of 9 very distinctive songs that are so easy to get lost in. As soon as you’ll press play you’ll forget everything around you and, since each song of the album is so distinctive, every single one will draw up something different despite they are atmospherically so akin to each other. It could also happen that this song collection draws together memories and feelings from throughout your life and somehow brings them to a whole, as pretentious as that may sound.
There’s no doubt that Navigation is a rewarding listening.
The 40-minutes musical journey of Navigation opens with the stunning ‘Departure’ and it’s immediately noticeable that this album deserves a stream. ‘Departure’ introduces you to a lone guitar echoing soft chords before floating in a flurry of delayed notes.
‘Seawards’ will appeal to fans of the heavier side of instrumental rock, where sludgy bass lines meet a wash of sweeping, distorted guitar along with ambient echoes. The third song ‘Exploration’ has a moving and captivating sound. ‘Exploration’ is a slow and contemplative track. It’s a sound that rewards multiple listens, as there are several things you might miss on first listen.
The following ‘Dark Surface’ has just a soft start before rising into a noisy climax that will please more people who find themselves more on the heavy/post-metal sound. ‘Dark Surface’ builds tension in little guitar phrases and elements stacked throughout. It’s a great track! Let ‘Nowhere’ seduce you and you’ll find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere. The notable use of layers and loops creates a phenomenally dense but remarkably accessible soundscape as the band constantly flow between bombast and introspection. ‘Floating’ is an amazing track that will lead you floating in a ocean of wonderful guitar based sound.
In the following more or less 1o minutes of the record, the three Austrian guys move between heightening swells and building wall of sound into hammering bass tones and layered riffs. ‘Lighten’ and ‘Back Again’ are an explosion of sound and together they seem one song only with several nuances.
The closing track of Navigation, ‘Gone’, is completely different. This track represents the quiet that follows the wall of sounds of the previous songs. Microtonner close the album with a soft track although they never ignore an opportunity to ratchet up the tension.
Navigation arrives as the natural progression and refining of everything the band has done before it and, with this new release, Microtonner has made a bold step forward and confirmed their potential for bringing often disparate audiences together.
Navigation – Microtonner
Featuring a nautical theme that spans the length of 9 tracks, Microtonner offer up their latest post-rock effort ‘Navigation’. Featuring what could be described as a more traditional approach to the post-rock genre, Microtonner manage to display a remarkable understanding of the capabilities of the genre, utilizing their own many strengths as performers to offer what comes across as an incredible post-rock experience. ‘Navigation’ seems to feature the very founding blocks of a strong post-rock albums, with incredibly strong instrumental performances presenting each of the tracks in an incredibly strong way. ‘Navigation’ has the makings of a great album, presenting Microtonner as a very strong post-rock outfit.
Microtonner manage to push a lot of strengths into ‘Navigation’, elevating the band well above the average standard who simply seem to do the bare minimum. There’s an element that Microtonner are really pushing themselves to present a good album on ‘Navigation’, There’s a running theme throughout the whole album, presented through the names of each of the tracks, which suggests that the band have put more thought into their song-compositions. Above all else though is the quality of the actual album itself. Each track features phenomenal and charged instrumentals which feature the very essence of enjoyable post-rock music. There’s a wonderful pumped up element to each song, where crashing and loud instrumentals dominate the majority of the songs.
Where we find fault in Microtonner is in the one or two tracks that seem to similar to each other, featuring either the same structure of instrumentals, or the same ideas of simply building up into big crashing crescendos. Whilst it seems to work well for the presentation of the album itself, it does add an element that one or two of the songs don’t work on a stand-alone basis. It seems that ‘Navigation’ might just be elevated that little bit more if it perhaps showcased one or two more creative ideas. On the whole though, the whole album is presented as a strong effort by Microtonner, with each song being at least enjoyable in terms of the overall album itself, but it seems the individual tracks might be lacking just a little bit.
Overall, Microtonner have managed to present a very strong post-rock album. ‘Navigation’ features the very elements that make up strong post-rock records, which is combined with the fact that Microtonner have utilized these elements to the best of their own strengths. There’s a lot of talent present on the record, as well as some very creative ideas in terms of the presentation of a whole album package. ‘Navigation’ is simply a strong post-rock album that is certainly well above the average standard of albums within this genre, which is pretty much down to the talents of Microtonner as a band.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Dark Surface
Microtonner’s latest album ‘Navigation’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://microtonner.bandcamp.com/album/navigation