Barbara Morgenstern


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Tesri collects a dozen collaborations by Barbara Morgenstern and Robert Lippok, the latter artist of the post-rock trio To Rococo Rot. Both individuals had formerly recorded for Monika Enterprise, and in 2005 that Berlin label released this album of collaborations. Tesri notably includes two key tracks from an earlier EP Morgenstern and Lippok had released in 2002. Titled Series 500 and released by Domino Records, that EP featured four tracks, each named after a season. "Sommer" and "Winter" are included here, and though they were three years old at the time of Tesri's release, they're highlights of the album and representative of the other inclusions, which likewise are spacious and practically ambient compositions comprised of gentle electronics and quiet instrumentation (i.e., piano, guitar). A few of the tracks include vocals: Morgenstern hums a melody on "Sommer," Mieko Shimizo sings in Japanese on "Kaitusburi" (and momentarily speaks on "Otuskimi"), and Damon Aaron sings in English on "If the Day Remains Unspoken For." Moreover, there are a few roughly minute-long tracks that function as segues. The sum of all this -- the pair of previously released seasonal tracks, the trio of vocal ones, and the interspersed segues -- helps keep Tesri flowing from one idea to the next. It's a relatively brief album, clocking in at only a dozen tracks in less than 40 minutes, so this flow of ideas flashes by quickly. In fact, in the end it's hard not to wish there were more music here, like the other two seasonal tracks from Series 500, for instance. So don't be surprised to find yourself replaying the album upon its conclusion. Tesri consequently is a minor gem in the discography of these two Germans. It's not a major work by any measure, and even the highlights -- "Please Wake Me for Meals," "Kaitusburi," "White Wise Rabbit," "Sommer," "Gammelpop" -- are subtle. But it's thoroughly pleasing, especially the first half, and a perfect bridge between the styles of the two artists, though admittedly it would have been nice to hear Morgenstern sing a little.

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