Out of all the artists featured in the Places Series so far, Markus Guentner needs the least of an introduction. Simply put, he is one of the reasons my love for ambient music excelled from 2000 onwards. From his very first release on Kompakt; ‘Regensburg‘ to his numerous inclusions on the legendary Pop Ambient series in 2003, 04, 05, 06, 07 and 08 and his most recent on Air Texture’s brilliant compilation; his unique style of breathtaking washes of ambient and intense atmospheres had me hooked since day one. And to get an isolatedmix from the legend himself was enough or me to hang my coat right there and then.
But, as my luck (and maybe fate) would have it, ASIP014 sees Markus return to his hometown of Regensburg and revisit the inspiration behind his very first Kompakt release with a very special three-track EP for The Places Series. Markus pays homage to his hometown once again, but this time around we’re diving deeper, and in more detail, with three very personal and beautiful depictions of a place he holds close to his heart.
We grow up learning not to fear the night, that darkness doesn’t have to carry a threat. It starts with simple creature fears but, for many, evolves into a time and place of solace and comfort, casting a black anonymity to those who see the world in shadows and neon. And while it will always hold that lurking trepidation, the night also illuminates, harbouring inspiration; encouraging the good to burn even brighter.
It’s a time where Markus Guentner finds peace winding his way through his hometown, meandering towards a handful of pre-determined destinations. A mini-ode to Regensberg, ‘Talking Clouds’ carries a contrast between Markus’ past and present.
“For this release, I took some memories and inspirations out of my hometown, Regensburg,” he begins. “I grew up right beside a church and ‘Saint’ shows the feelings I have when I think about my childhood at this place. Maybe it’s the reason why I like bells so much and use them very often in my tracks,” he muses.
Where ‘Saint’ fondly recalls a childhood growing up by a church, resplendent with the wind-chime tinkle of bells and floating backdrop, ‘Dockside’ and ‘Talking Clouds’ are the blissful result of striking a balance between the right time, and the right place.
“Sometimes I just get in my car and drive around Regensburg at night,” Markus explains, “the atmosphere at night is amazing. ‘Dockside’ shows the inspiration of one my favourite places in Regensburg which is the east harbour. The hard and heavy machines combined with the mellowness of the sunrise and the river is a great sight.”
Marking the transition between his night drives and the grey wash of the AM hours, title track ‘Talking Clouds’ completes the trinity. Slow-built around a subdued angels’ chorus and a growing sense of anticipation, there’s a simple calm, contentment and a patient wait for dawn to colour the sky.
“Another stop on my nightly trips, well early in the morning, is a big parking area right at the University hospital in Regensburg. It’s on a hill at the south of the town and at this time there are no cars, no people…just a wide view of the sky right over Regensburg,” he smiles. (Words By Reef Younis)