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Dominik Eulberg - Heimische Gefilde

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Artist: Dominik Eulberg

Album: Heimische Gefilde

Label: Traum

Review date: Jun. 7, 2007

The goofy cover of Dominik Eulberg's second album, Heimische Gefilde, renders visual the awkward pairing pursued within it. Eulberg sits before a multi-track console, black headphones sprouting from his blond mop, whilst around him stands a forest. That Heimische Gefilde is in fact an intermittently engrossing display of elegant techno minimalism will likely startle the unfamiliar who may expect, based on the packaging alone, to find Eulberg tuning into the sublime frequencies of Brokenhearted Dragonflies or the calls and crackle of "Planet Earth."

Hailing from the heavily-wooded Westerwald region of Germany, Eulberg pursues an odd mix of open-aired diurnal idyll and cavernous nocturnal activity on Heimische Gefilde. Roughly half of its 21 tracks are Eulberg compositions, some dating back a few years to 12” sides. What remains, between the beats, are brief interstices narrated by Eulberg in his native German on specific arboreal creatures, each featuring field recorded snippets of the critter discussed. Eulberg's 2004 debut, Flora & Fauna, may have garbed itself in the imagery of traditional outdoor recreation – think trail mix and hiking, not pills and raving – but Heimische Gefilde actually cross-cuts between pastoral splendor and midnight clatter. Due to these regular time-outs taken to admire the tones and rhythms of assorted fowl (mostly), the metronomic thrust of Heimische Gefilde never gains any momentum.

Across its Edenic expanse of chirping Goldammers and hooting Uhus, Eulberg plops hulking, software-sculpted monuments. No Goldsworthyean ephemera blending into the organic surroundings, Eulberg's monoliths are built from poured concrete and stainless steel. They stand out: rattling and clinking ("Björn Borkenkäfer"), often with ribbons of melodic particles swirling about them as oily bass eels writhe underneath ("Adler") or pierced by cosmic transmissions ("Der Hecht im Karpfenteich"), golden sunshine shaded by ice cube pads and frosted sawtooths ("Klangteppichverleger Wolle") or clouded by shards of crunched pixels kicked-up in a fierce strut ("Die Rotbauchunken vom Tegernsee"). Only closer "Stelldichein des Westerwälder Vogelchores" merges all of the audio content into a single, mongrel mix. Something of a reversal of Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," each animal becomes an instrument played by Eulberg in a synthetic symphony. At last, nature becomes a studio.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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