Aix Em Klemm – S/T

A friend of mine is a huge Labradford fan. One day he sat me down and played me what he thought was a musical masterpiece from said band. Well, I respect this guy’s musical opinion, so I listened intently. After about three minutes, I looked at him, in all seriousness, and said, “that’s a nice intro. When does the song begin?” He looked at me as if I was being a jerk. His eyes seemed to say, “How dare you expect more?” This record is in the vein of Labradford but is somehow even more stripped-down and tranquil. In music, sometimes less is more. But in the case of Aix Em Klemm, less is just?.not enough.

New Age music for the indie set? This is outright planetarium music. I feel like there should be a voice over explaining characteristics of “red giants.” Synth strings, reverb-soaked guitar and assorted noises and electronic blips fade in and out over the course of these six cuts. The album notes say “These are songs,” but I beg to disagree. There are no real melodies going on here, no vocals or lyrics either, only repetitive sound washes played over and over. They are probably better thought of as pieces or works, as an orchestra fan would. That isn’t to say that this is bad music, because there is certainly something here that kept my interest enough to wait out the entire album. Perhaps I felt as if there was something deeper there, as if the music functioned on another level of communication. Unfortunately, I am no closer to appreciating this kind of music than I was when I first put the disk on.

Music is ideally a form of communication between artists and listeners. Aix Em Klemm is a collaboration of Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid and Bobby Donne from Labradford, conducted partially over the mail, apparently. I can hear the distance in the music, and I can feel a distance between the artists and myself. Mind you, I don’t feel my lack of understanding exists because I wasn’t listening closely enough. I guess they just weren’t talking to me in the first place.