Sankt Otten – Wunder Gibt Es Immer Wieder

Sankt Otten
Wunder Gibt Es Immer Wieder

As a designer, I understand and appreciate the use of white space. This might be the white of paper in print or the blank, unbuilt areas of a place. Space helps provide balance to whatever medium you are working in, whether it’s creating physical space or even emotional or mental space. The key though, is to find that perfect balance between space and art and it is this harmony that is so difficult to achieve.

The German duo, Sankt Otten, doesn’t create music but rather emotional art of the electronic noir sort. “Taschensymphonie” creeps into the air like a rising sun, opening the scene. Full of wondrous distortion and multiple layers, the notes call to you like a glimmer over the hillside. It beckons you, heightening your curiosity, to continue your journey forward. It is the opening credits and the introduction. The title track follows and builds upon the base layers with a beat, keyboards and guitar that wrap around like a warm, fuzzy blanket fresh out of the dryer. You see the glimmer and you are filled with happiness and joy but you don’t fully understand why. It doesn’t matter.

Silence falls and a few simple piano chords echo through the distance. The light is beginning to fade, but not completely. Something is happening but only your own thoughts can fill in the blanks here. This is your own personal journey to wherever it is that you are trying to go.

“Der Broover Des Guten Gewissens” is filled with electronic strings and plinking piano notes. Obstacles are beginning to reveal themselves. Even with the simplicity of the song, there are wonderful details like how the music stops about a minute and a half in and leaves an open space for a few simple piano strokes as if at an impasse. “Auf Suende Folgt Strafe” is fit for those winter days when the light sits somewhere between night and day, where a kind indescribable gray hangs in the sky. A brushed beat pushes the song forward while layers of guitar hover around, pierced only by a few piano chords and stray notes that create a distinct uneasiness. While the energy remains low, the beat pushes forward, providing a sense of fear like hiding from something while simultaneously trying to get away.

One of my favorite tracks, aside from the shining title track, is one that is almost the exact opposite. “Depressive Elite” opens with the sound of sensual base notes that take on the storyline. Later a few keyboard notes are followed by a jittery guitar. You’re tired and weary from at this point, beginning to lose hope. This song borders on blues and reminds me of my favorite bands in this genre, Grails, who are masters in the art of creating emotional journeys through sound. It is so simple, just a few notes and yet it conjures up amazing visions. Here is some of that balance I was talking about earlier. So simple and yet so amazingly powerful.

After the long journey, you reach the glimmer. “Stille Wasser” has that feeling of contentment that, through all of the heartbreak and things put in your path to throw you off course, you have managed to reach your goal. The light is shining again and you are happy.

Sankt Otten has indeed performed a wondrous feat in finding that point in which simplicity equals beauty and the harmony between music and space has found the perfect balance. It’s like standing in front of a piece of art that is so captivating and yet so simple that you can’t look away. It’s mesmerizing, beautiful and yet dark and desperate at the same time. The latest album from Sankt Otten, Wunden Gibt Es Immer Wieder is the soundtrack to your thoughts, packed full of dramatic sequences and riveting sensory visions. This is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year that, unfortunately, came to my attention too late to be included in my top 10 list this year.