Martin Siewert

No Need to Be Lonesome

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No Need to Be Lonesome is not the kind of album one would have expected Martin Siewert to release in 2004. Very little in his recent work with Efzeg or Trapist could have hinted at this boisterous, beat-heavy, happy-go-lucky album. Without selling out to the club crowd or giving up on sonic experiments, Siewert has easily produced his most accessible album. Newcomers will find it palatable (although far removed from the mainstream), with a certain likeness in spirit to Fennesz' Venice or Oren Ambarchi's Grapes from the Estate, although more rhythmical. Listeners acquainted with his previous work will definitely feel the shock. Then, after two or three listens, one can only submit to the pretty themes, the driving beats, and the intelligent writing. Siewert handles all guitars, bass, keyboards, electronics, and programming on three of these five pieces. "Just When We Thought It Was Safe" is the shakiest piece, its suite-like development lacking some unity or purpose. "Attraktor" and "Any Other Way to Go?" are danceable tunes, the former a punchy, dense six-minute cut. The latter goes through a number of moods and follows a build-up curve, but seem to take too much time to get where it is heading. The guitar still occupies an important role in Siewert's music, often present in three, four, or five layers at a time, but synths take most of the lead voices, adding a pleasant naïve electro-pop touch (à la Felix Kubin). On "No Need to Be Lonesome," the multi-instrumentalist is joined by Trapist drummer Martin Brandlmayr. The track clocks in at close to 19 minutes and features moments of great aesthetic clarity, but again, its last quarter is overstretched. The highlight is found in "Valentine," where Siewert's talents are supplemented by Patrick Pulsinger (on "super-modulated bass"), Necks drummer Tony Buck, and Polwechsel bassist Werner Dafeldecker. Resolutely upbeat, the piece will put a smile on anyone's face as long as the aesthetic shock created by this album has had time to subside. Whether Siewert will persist in this new direction remains to be seen, but even if No Need to Be Lonesome turned out to be a one-shot attempt, it is convincing enough that it shouldn't be judged as a case of overindulgence.

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