A recent Bud Light ad portrays a commoner in a stockade. His crime: ordering an “autumnal mead.” The tagline: “For the many, not the few.” I sympathize with the commoner, because I’m one of the few; I like things to feel autumnal in autumn, and that’s why I’m enjoying Enno Voss‘ debut. One casual glance at Anna Reichstein’s cover art, and the mood is established; one spin of Voss’ music, and the feeling takes root. This is late fall music, a sonic recreation of the stream, the snow-capped mountains and the evergreens.
Voss’ acoustic guitar is the primary instrument, offering the project’s defining notes, but the subdued notes lend the EP an alluring flavor. Accordion and bass appear on one track, violin on another. An egg shaker appears for a few moments on the tone-setting “Levity.” Light field recordings adorn “Straits I,” creating a contrast between city and countryside. As the artist has lived in both, one can feel the tug, the untamed wild represented by a constant yearning.
Voss calls his music “a counterpole to noise.” Hamburg, like most industrialized cites, is spiked with sudden, unwanted sound. The deep breaths of “Neversay” represent an inhalation of fresh mountain air, an alternative to the bustle. Even the crowd noise of “The Yard” seems like a preparation to escape, thanks to the presence of playful children. The simultaneous presence of electric and acoustic guitar is a further indication of the dichotomy. In the final minute, the artist begins to whistle, signaling that he has made peace with his surroundings and is immersed in joyful relaxation. Is this a real-life yard or the dream of a yard? It matters not; the impression is more important. When a tiny bit of tape wobble visits the brief “Straits II,” it seems that the barriers between past and present, real and imaginary, are beginning to break down.
The title Currents is given to no single track, but some hints may be gleaned by the closing titles: “To Morrow” and “Eventually.” Certain currents run throughout our lives; others lead to destinations like the sea. The closing timbres are the most upbeat, as percussion and keyboards enter the water. This river seems to be flowing toward redemption. The final unresolved note invites us to complete the journey ourselves. (Richard Allen)