Bersarin Quartett
II


5.0
classic

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
April 20th, 2012 | 100 replies | 13,742 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A single German composer shows the world how it's done... again.

What does it say about our lives when music critics repeatedly reward albums with a more-than-slightly dark edge? Are we really all modern day hermits: scared to leave the house and even more so of other people; or simply eager to sink into a sea of self pity and emotional immolation? The question of “why” withstands; the question of “how” does not. Nothing moves us more than tragedy. A brief glance at the most influential musicians of the past few decades will greet you with a recurring scene of loneliness, drugs and suicide; tell-tale signs of people who occupy their own space instead of the world around them. Sometimes the music itself seems irrelevant in all the context: it doesn’t take much to grab us when we’re in the mood. Walk into the past of Bersarin Quartett and you will find no such tragedy, or at least none so openly displayed. Despite the title, Bersarin Quartett is comprised solely of one Thomas Bucker and, despite the lack of emotional context, II might just be one of the most heart-stoppingly sorrowful records of this millennia.

Arriving in the midst of the recent neo-classical/ambient movement, Bersarin Quartett’s self titled debut rose to the top of the pile with its broad array of complementary styles, lush depth of warm strings and relative complexity amongst its competition. It was an extremely successful introduction to his treatment of music, if only a little bit eager to please. II takes what made the self-titled so brilliant and perfects it: it’s more beautiful, more experimental, and progresses in a much more restrained and considered manner. Music that manages to be startlingly graceful without pandering to the cliche styles of beauty. It has class, you could say, though not so much that it is impenetrable and certainly not to the extent that it hides its emotion entirely. From the opener, we’re greeted with different sides of the same coin: the more traditional, lamenting strings in “Im Glanze des Kometen” and the modern, relaxed retrospectiveness of “Jedem Zauber wohnt eine Ende inne” both convey a similar strain of despair. The variation here not being produced by a variety of moods, rather a continuous shift in style. As a result the overall tone is inescapable without being exhaustive; a singular entity that is continuously developed by the next track instead of repeatedly fractured.

Despite the variation present in II, Bucker certainly leaves his mark on each angle he portrays. Even in the more ambient pieces, large, swelling banks of strings are used to great effect. In the finale, “Nichts Ist Wie Vorher”, they’re used almost like a victory cry: rising above the subdued piano and hum of ambience in a brash display of joy and triumph after almost a full hour of morose contemplation. Likewise, the interwoven wealth of strings is often treated much like a staple sound whilst Bucker experiments in the background. Such is the case with “Heir und Jetzt”, which begins much like a rather standard, though stunning, neo-classical piece before introducing heavily distorted keyboards and the kind of pop-and-crackle percussion now associated with more urban styles of music. In its quite sophisticated air, II also remains inward looking. Tracks are never rushed - with the opener taking over a minute to even start - with motifs and patterns given room to grow into their full effect. In the same way the album never jumps at the chance to be instantly mesmerising, instead taking the more long lasting stance of subtlety. This is a decision best reflected in the latter parts of II, and indeed the album’s sure to sink you into the mood softly - as a result your preference for individual tracks will inevitably shift from the beginning to end. Sharpening not only your mood but taste as well.

Regrettably, albums such as this don’t come around too often; the world is far too full of cynics to fall for every emotional tirade that comes our way (at a rate of about three a day, by my count). However, none of these contain the intelligence, expertise or charm that II does. In every sense of the word it’s an album that is beautiful, but at the same time it is not a happy one. In the face of such brilliance, description alone seems as pointless as explaining the Mona Lisa to a blind man; you have to experience it in order to really appreciate it. Mesmerising from every perspective, II just might be Bucker’s masterpiece. We can only hope that it doesn’t slip by unnoticed.



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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Out today, so go and listen to it for god's sake.

Originally posted here: http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Neimals Zuruck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ivImXRpMQ0
Jedem Zauber... : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB1kefNXU-Y
Im Lichter des Anderen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5y0nej7_so&feature=related

Oathbreaker
April 20th 2012



1649 Comments


Had no idea this came out. I'm very hyped, debut was stunning.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2012



30863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Managed to spin this in the background today. And granted that certainly isn't the best way to listen to this kind of stuff but I think the debut is still the better album

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If I find the time, I'll check this out for sure!
Good review

Digging: Sully - Blue

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The only bad thing I can think of is that the track names, when translated, are a bit run of the mill: "Everything is a Wonder", "Here and Now" etc.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Why thank you. It's now speeding onto my hard-drive at blistering speeds of 10kb/s so I'll tell you how I think of it once I give it a listen - which at this rate might not be till next year.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2012



30863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Maybe its time you hire a new kid to stand on your roof and hold the two wires together

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

There are meant to be two wires? Oooo... I always thought it was just the Kiwi labourer I was using being typically lazy.

fulgrim
April 20th 2012



1542 Comments


sounds interesting, gonna check this out.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2012



30863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I always thought it was just the Kiwi labourer I was using being typically lazy.


Well there's your first problem

liledman
April 20th 2012



3826 Comments


What does it say about our lives when music critics repeatedly reward albums with a more-than-slightly dark edge? Are we really all modern day hermits: scared to leave the house and even more so of other people; or simply eager to sink into a sea of self pity and emotional immolation? The question of “why” withstands; the question of “how” does not. Nothing moves us more than tragedy. A brief glance at the most influential musicians of the past few decades will greet you with a recurring scene of loneliness, drugs and suicide; tell-tale signs of people who occupy their own space instead of the world around them.


definitely not just a recent cultural phenomenon

a rather standard, though stunning, neo-classical piece


what is this standard or benchmark you speak of? is it late penderecki? hans zimmer? orchestral? chamber?

Tracks are never rushed - with the opener taking over a minute to even start - with motifs and patterns given room to grow into their full effect. In the same way the album never jumps at the chance to be instantly mesmerising, instead taking the more long lasting stance of subtlety.


goes with the territory... i am actually impressed, and somewhat confounded, that you did not mention minimalism at all throughout the review.

This is a decision best reflected in the latter parts of II, and indeed the album’s sure to sink you into the mood softly - as a result your preference for individual tracks will inevitably shift from the beginning to end. Sharpening not only your mood but taste as well.


watch your punctuation there, and can you explain what you mean by sharpening ones mood and taste?

liledman
April 20th 2012



3826 Comments


the more traditional, lamenting strings in “Im Glanze des Kometen” and the modern, relaxed retrospectiveness of “Jedem Zauber wohnt eine Ende inne”


i find the use of traditional and modern here quite vague, and i would change 'retrospectiveness' to retrospection at the very least. also, this modern retrospection is apparently all about tragedy and despair, as you highlighted, surely it would not be entirely relaxed?


sorry but i find it better to critique the niggling problems in reviews of some substance than to just neg or tear apart the hopeless.

as for this album, i listened to a handful of tracks on youtube while writing this up and i wish i could share your enthusiasm for it. this whole trend doesnt excite me too much, though i dont want to write it off entirely. maybe next time.

Paracletus96
April 20th 2012



306 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Inactive album, but nice background musique!

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@liledman *breathes in*

I would argue that it is a fairly recent phenomenon, in popular cultural terms at least. Artists of a similar nature, be it Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter and the like, have really only popped up this side of 2000. So while the ideas have certainly been circulating for a while, I'm not sure that I'd say they actually surfaced until recently.

Minimalism was at the tip of my tongue for the whole review, I just tend to get very nervous about talking about things from a classical perspective. I guess I hoped that by dropping in the "ambient" tag right near the beginning it would do the job well enough.

Sharpening your mood is synonymous with polarising it. The connotation being that the album increasingly directs your mood. As far as sharpening taste, that just means it's something you increasingly appreciate.

Maybe not so much "relaxed" more acceptive. If that makes sense.

Thank you for the criticism. I try to tell people I enjoy receiving it but for some reason no one believes me. I do.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

and I went in to change some grammar things, but the edit function seems to be temporarily buggered.

Thane
April 20th 2012



2148 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dieses album ist super

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2012



30863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Minimalism was at the tip of my tongue for the whole review, I just tend to get very nervous about talking about things from a classical perspective. I guess I hoped that by dropping in the "ambient" tag right near the beginning it would do the job well enough.


Minimalism and ambience are two completely different things

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2012



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh, alone they are, sure. Mix ambient and classical in the same sentence and I would have thought that the implication is quite obvious.

MO
April 20th 2012



18181 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea this is really damn good, fucking awesome

liledman
April 20th 2012



3826 Comments


im glad you can accept disagreement haha.

my contention is that tragedy has been a staple of all arts for a hell of a long time, whether its mythological, theological or everyday fiction. a perfect example is the 19th century, with romanticism. music, drama and literature were all obsessed with despair and tragedy, though i will concede it was all much more fantasy-inspired, and not quite gritty. moving into the 20th century, art definitely went in that grittier direction though (a couple of world wars probably would have that effect). look at the life and work of the schumanns, or of schoenberg, and you will find intense testaments to tragedy. also liszt basically set the standard for being a rock star, believe it or not.

as for the neo-classical complaint, you probably would have done better to say it is more standard-fare minimalism than neo-classical. many people bandy the term neo-classical about without really understanding what it refers to, and think it is just a blanket term for any relatively recent western classical music. my main gripe is that the statement needs elaboration, if you contend that it fits a genre mould for a vague and diverse genre, especially as this album is apparently a product of such diversity and proof of it.

im not sure i would say sharpening you 'taste' in that regard, as 'appreciation' would make much more sense; it wouldnt sharpen my taste in music as a whole, it is specific to the appreciation of this particular album. for mood i guess it works (though i wouldnt say its synonymous with polarising), but seems an odd choice after mentioning the softness in which you sink into the mood, and the overall feeling that this is not a pointed or harsh album. nit-picky, but worth the thought.

Mix ambient and classical in the same sentence and I would have thought that the implication is quite obvious.


unfortunately its kind of typical of those who review this kind of music around these parts, so i do get what you mean, though it is vague and uninformative. most of these points about genre, style and terminology come from a misunderstanding of various classical periods and conventions, which is fine, but not when the reviewers learn others mistakes instead of from them.



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