steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Infinitus Ensemble

"Scherbenschlaf" CDR

Frequent Sea Records

Genre: experimental, ambient, post-rock


October 2009

Frequent Sea's Al sends his regards with this disc: "This is the new Infinitus Ensemble disc. I think it's amazing..." High praise, but what else from the guy who's releasing the album? Fortunately, Scherbenschlaf (English: "Sleep of Shards") is a startlingly rewarding affair, although my inability to comprehend German is impeding me from parsing the spoken word material that's been laid over the dark, ambient instrumentation.

Still, there is much to enjoy on this intense record. Infinitus Ensemble performs dark, atmospheric compositions which exude a sort of haunted house mood, reminiscent of the solo work of Einsturzende Neubauten's Alexander Hacke. On the tracks with words, the compositions are primarily mood-setters, be it the eerie dirge of "Best of Prey," the haunting synths on "The White Room," or the windy, Autumn-ish emptiness of "Laborious." Somehow, the German language is so perfectly fitted to these mysterious compositions - though part of that is the creepily detached intonation of the speakers. The instrumental tracks take even greater liberties with their atmospheres. "Capsule," for example, elicits an image of a rickety old mansion in a thunderstorm; it comes replete with an unsettling drone, sampled creaking and cranking, and the sounds of a distant bell. Also titillating are the warped piano keys of "Smooth Away (pt. 2)" and the boiler room ambiance of terrifying "Escape."

The overall effect of this album evokes images of a creepy tour through the decaying mansion of the subconscious, and with that in mind, the Infinitus Ensemble has done a spectacular job of designing an atmospherically intense journey of an album. The release's only major problem is the inclusion of gaps of silence between the tracks, which clearly aren't supposed to be there. [Update: Apparently, this problem afflicts only certain copies of the album, and all new copies come gap-free!]

N.B. Comes packaged in eerie, flower-patterned wallpaper. Perhaps torn straight from the mansion's walls?

infinitus ensemble's myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 tracks, limited to 99 copies, distributed by the label, released 2009]