You may know Michael Heilrath as the bassist for neo-Krautrock outfit Couch or as Blond, the Landsberg-based Hausmusik collective's resident drum-and-bass case. Alles Wie Gross presents Heilrath as a composer, leading a small chamber-rock ensemble through VERTONUNG, an instrumental suite written to accompany a little-seen 1920 silent film adaptation of "Hamlet."
Heilrath's compositions, carried by violinist Mathias Lohlein and cellist Mathis Mayr, evoke the dramatic angularity of German Expressionism. Pay particular attention to Stephan Richter's atmospheric guitar, clarinet, and piano effects, as these subtle sounds are used to delineate the album's vaguely cyclical leitmotif. Cinematic reference points notwithstanding, VERTONUNG is an unmistakably modern exercise. Hausmusik fixture Markus Acher (Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Village of Savoonga), Heilrath's partner in rhythm, provides subdued beats that rise with metronome-like insistence against the romantic waxing and waning strings of "Theatrestnck," "Verfnhrt Ophelia," and "Leichenschmaus." Elsewhere, as on "Gasstette," "Koning Feiert Orgie," and "Rache & Totet Polonius," a more muscular Heilrath and Acher drive the music into the tender-yet-tumultuous space mastered by Godspeed You Black Emperor!