Record of the Week

Barbara Morgenstern “Doppelstern”

Morgenstern_CoverBarbara Morgenstern
(monika enterprise)

The thing I admire most about Barbara Morgenstern is that over the years she has managed to establish herself as essential part of the German electronic scene and her unobtrusive tender music has become representative of a characteristic sound. Gentle, yet determined, like a very nice teacher, she sings and makes music quietly, so that people will pay attention (at least that’s the way it is on her records. The fact that the exact opposite is true live is well known.) And people do listen to her. Morgenstern’s last record, her first album to be done in English, was called “Sweet Silence”. How appropriate.

Her latest effort “Doppelstern” (double star) is a collaborative work of art that features lots of female and male friends of hers. Respectively it could be described as a genre-bending border-crossing experiment over eleven tracks. That would in a way make Barbara Morgenstern the fixed star of this project, whereas she is the sun or a shooting star at times, or even both at the same time over the course of the different constellations – just to stick to the astronomic terminology. Double stars correspond with each other even though they are light years apart – and that is exactly what happens on “Doppelstern”. Musical partners on the album, as her opposite poles or mirror stars, include for instance Julia Kent, Richard Davis, Marco Haas aka. T. Raumschmiere, Columbian musician Lucrecia Dalt or Japanese electronic music artist Coppé.

Surprisingly enough, Morgenstern manages to maintain the diverse stylistic approaches and unique distinguishing features each of her musical guests has, while each track eventually still ends up being a characteristic Morgenstern-piece. The duet with Tonia Reeh aka. Monotekktoni features pretty radical lyrics: “Schieß den Bock” is first of all a rather unusual title given that it is a song by Morgenstern, however, as is equally true for all of the other double stars on this album, initially divergent approaches merge into a glistening dynamic mini-universe. Naturally there are collaborations that can only end up being perfect, as everyone can already agree on beforehand, without even having listened to the track itself, such as the collaboration of Barbara Morgenstern and label head Gudrun Gut for instance: the result is the track “Too Much” and it is as Monika-Enterprise as it’s going to get. Gut whispers harsh truths: “He drinks too much” or “You’re not focused enough” – but the piece is eventually warm and humorous, as are all the excellent releases Monika-Enterprise has brought forth. Impressive: “Meins sollte meins sein” – Hauschka works his uniquely prepared piano pieces and Morgenstern, who likes to claim that her lyrics are only of secondary matter, delivers one of her strongest lyrics ever. My favourite piece would still have to be “Übermorgen”, which is an extremely charming and enchanting disco-chanson with Justus Köhncke. It is in this romantic, danceable track full of longing that the idea of the double star shines brightest.

(Translation: Tanita Sauf)

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