music a.m.

Unwound From The Wood

CD digipack

QS174 CD

Gentle seduction or high tension?

On their second album Music AM cancel the 'or' and entwine both conditions to originate something new: Songs whose component parts remain visible at any moment, yet most admirably flexible merge to R&B-style diary entries, shimmering instrumentals or trips that take us to the great songwriting-factories back in the 60ies.
The endeavourís basic motive can be gathered from the constellation of musicians whoconstitute Music Am since 2002: Volker Bertelmann (aka Hauschka, ex-member of God's Favourite Dog and part of the duo Tonetraeger) and Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot, Mapstation) from Düsseldorf plus Scotsman Luke Sutherland (singer with Long Fin Killieand well acknowledged as a novelist). Each of them individually could serve as an archetypical model for the plenty off-road strategies pop has been trying in the nineties in order to avoid beaten paths. But alas, the new paths subsumable under Post Rock or the various laptop-music trends - turned out to be dead ends themselves, alright.

Their compositions renunciation of concrete shapes soon appeared as a mere pose rather than a challenge. A possible way out of the dead end situation is, according to popmusic's immanent oscillations, to find new challenges in neglected forms. No 'back to the song' but rather an application of the accumulated knowledge. Looking at the old form from new angles, as it were - that's where the story of Music AM begins.

"I wanna sleep but you wanna Disco"

Though highly present and almost immediately close, the words of the sung-about characters anyhow seem to play with the artifacts of dancefloor-history aswell. And pulsing in warm colours the music comments on the lyrics. Always the musical body appears open for emotions without ever dictating them. Yet, the music doesnít smoothe at all; the tension of the opening track endures aswell as its delicate transparency.

Pop like parchment: a long procedure of extraction and reduction resulting in a very concise language that in turn creates a sumptuous comprehensiveness. Paradox ? Well, many of the lyrics contemplate desire, arrogating aspirations, thus covering the most conflictive sentiments. What makes "Unwound from the wood" so excelling is the way the music lives up to all that with sublime wind sections, fragile guitar themes and sophisticated rhythms.

An intense calmness accrues from this, similar to that of an observing cat or those excursive thoughts that occur to us on certain train journeys where we rest our head against the window while a landscape of industrial barracks is passing by outside. The glass doesnít cool our thoughts but occasionally pulsates insights through our brain. We listen as their cadence is caught and the different states of mind are sketched upon it.

"A throwback to the lazy days when you put our stars on 45"

Music AM know very well how to construct this quotation-based inwardness. A life in moments demands a highly subtle language.Being in accordance with that is what makes the music so very lively and beautiful.
Oliver Tepel

Music A.M. Volker Bertelmann


LUKE SUTHERLAND (Mogwai) vocals, guitar
STEFAN SCHNEIDER (To Rococo Rot, Tarwater) bass, synths
VOLKER BERTELMANN (Tonetraeger) rhodes, synths


01 Always 4'27
02 I was born to make you happy 4'36
03 You know better now than you ever did before 4'35
04 Say it 4'31
05 NY 75 3'25
06 Ten Ton Truck 4'42
07 Don`t let this be all 3'23
08 Stars on 45 4'35
09 Your bones 4'13
10 Miercoles 3'40
11 Every Bulb In The Place Blew 2'11