Die Spiegelmanufaktur

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On Die Spiegelmanufaktur -- which translates to the Mirror Factory -- Mirror consists of Andrew Chalk, Christoph Heemann, and Jim O'Rourke. In fact, that's the only information the album sleeve discloses: no performing credits, no track titles. The title reveals how this experimental ambient group likes to toy around with paradoxes. "Factory" evokes the noise-saturated '80s current of industrial music, while "mirror" alludes to something lighter, more pure, and belonging to the other end of the light/dark paradigm. The industrial element is present in the music but remains tucked into field recordings of a factory that doesn't use heavy machinery. The sounds of human activity in an enclosed space are heard, but apart from that you are free to paint the picture any way you like, even imagine that these people are making mirrors (even though you will not hear the expected sound of shattering glass). Track one uses these field recordings in the foreground, backing them with feathery synthesizer sounds. Track two pushes the electronics to the forefront. Closely related frequencies beat off one another in a game of cat and mouse. They seem to mirror one another, the stereo spectrum shimmering vividly between your ears. Track three all but looses the "factory" sounds. Here the electronic textures are fuller, with more bass that adds a touch of darkness to the mood. Die Spiegelmanufaktur doesn't redefine the experimental drone, but it sports superior craftsmanship and provides a captivating listening experience. [The album first came out on Die Stadt as a limited-edition picture LP. The CD edition released a few months later includes a bonus 18-minute piece.]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick