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Artist: Mirror

Album: Solaris

Label: Idea

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002


Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann, the core members of Mirror, have churned out countless expensive, gorgeously packaged LPs in highly countable numbers (typically under 400). The duoís strategy has baffled me almost as much as itís put me off, because their atmospheric music could easily find a much wider audience than the cabal of record collectors who are seduced by the bogus romance of self-imposed scarcity.

Solaris departs from Mirrorís usual MO; itís their first CD (albeit one packaged in a lovely LP-styled sleeve), and itís not a limited edition. The differences donít stop there. Previously Heemann and Chalk have maintained a certain musical density and continuity by relying on drones, but Solaris is quite sparse; although itís not improvised in real time, it sounds more like AMM than Thomas Koner.

Long clarinet tones, isolated prepared piano notes, and metallic reverberations mark a trail through the album-length pieceís empty spaces. Signal processing magnifies and warps individual sounds so that the woodwind sounds like a wind tunnel, tiny taps become echoing steps, and small scrapes become furry with static.

The change in material doesnít lead to a diminishment of returns. Solaris goes beyond mere prettiness to sharpen oneís senses in a way that once again reminds me of AMM. Hereís hoping this record does so well that Mirror have no choice but to reissue their entire back catalog to the masses in all formats.

By Bill Meyer

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