With the death of Traumprinz’s Prince of Denmark project last year – a happening unceremoniously told by the release of a short ambient mix titled “Prince of Denmark is Dead” – an era ended. At the time, it made sense – 8
, his final album under that name, was a sprawling wonder, a story that evoked what seemed like a lifetime of fear and hope and mystery and discovery, all churned and mixed together systematically, all building up to towering heights only to begin collapsing inwards, slowly, surely stretching itself further and further along an endless path. Following it up would have been a tall order, or at least that’s how I justified the dissolution. 8
felt like closure unto itself. But the more I listen to Mudshadow Propaganda
and its intrinsic counterpart, Nothing 2 Loose
, Traumprinz’s newest pair of releases under two fresh monikers, the more I realize how incomplete my reconciled portrait of his work actually was. Prince of Denmark is dead, and from its ashes are two beings reborn – two perfect halves of a former whole, two separate representations of its prior purpose. And If Nothing 2 Loose
takes its meditations on peace, spirituality and the ineffable from the subtlest elements of 8
is what remains: it’s primal, propulsive, relentless even; it’s stripped back and surprisingly palatable. It’s pure rhythm. We’re left with the groove, and the groove is good.
Traumprinz wastes no time imparting that takeaway, as “Getting Things Started” fulfills its promise with an immediate plunge into a muted, throbbing pulse that never quite ends, but simply permutates throughout Mudshadow’s
runtime. But for all the album’s emphasis on rhythm – and I should say, the percussion here is just immaculate
in its level of omnipresent detail and stylistic variety – it would be reductive to say that’s its merits only lie there. Mudshadow
is supplemented by delicate touches that never betray Traumprinz’s minimalist leanings or arrive a moment out of place, like the hypnotic synths backing the house swing of “Grand Finale,” which replicate some lost, ominous hymn, or the heavy bass entrance midway into “Drumatise” that kicks the tightly percussive piece into a tribal wonderland. Traumprinz is at the height of his powers in terms of track construction here, and though the stretching of many of them close to the ten-minute mark may fatigue some, those patient enough to absorb the steady drip throughout will find it hard not to fall deeper into Mudshadow’s
Despite my thoughts on his separation of spirituality into Nothing 2 Loose
, Traumprinz still reminds us of it with some duly placed vocal samples before closing shop; “show me the way…” repeats a stolid voice in “The Wai,” Mudshadow’s
final track and the peaceful reflection of an odd journey. It’s a statement that would perhaps be more suited played back at Traumprinz himself, an enigmatic presence that only continues to show an astonishing level of prolificacy and mastery in each style and mood tackled through his various projects. Though this first release under Prime Minister of Doom is the clearer continuation of 8
stylistically, its skillful honing and stretching of his craft is enough to prove its own worth; its perpetuated dance enough to keep us reeling until whatever may come next.