J. Peter Schwalm’s The Beauty of Disaster: powerful stuff

12th April 2016

Title: The Beauty of Disaster

Label: RareNoise

Power. Sheer power. Lots and lots of power. Listen to the first minute or two of this instrumental piece from the German composer, Schwalm and be awed by it. Be fearful of it. Be entranced by it. Be fixed in your seat by it. Want to explore it. Then miss it when it leaves you.

Schwalm? Sound familiar at all to you? Fans of Brian Eno will know the guy straight away because the two have worked on numerous projects together. He has also worked with Kraftwerk and Cans Holgar Czukay. This is a man with a pristine pedigree and his music bears it out. It is carefully crafted, confident and is delivered in such a way that builds, layer upon layer, developing and constructing a message or, more aptly in this case, a presence. That’s what Beauty does to you, really.

There are bass (deep, deep bass) rhythms that flow and push the music relentless forwards but this isn’t music to dance to. It isn’t even music to tap your feet to. You dare not hum it (in case you summon the odd stray demon or two who happens to be passing by) so, what do you do? You let it sink into your very soul, that’s what. Pretty simple really. This is heavy music. ‘Heavy’ in the hippie context.

In audiophile terms, this album has been careful treated. The dynamic range has been allowed to work in its fullest sense. Any compression would completely kill this music so – thank goodness – the compression button has been turned off and the music has been allowed to roam freely in and around the available space.

An album of epic grandeur that is so big, the only place it could only successfully occupy are those unused parts of your brain, the halls and caverns, that entertain your imagination.