Dagobert Böhm,
String Unit
(Ozella, 2000)

String Unit is another solid instrumental CD from Dagobert Böhm. The music flows and is enjoyable to listen to and, while it may not carry you away, it encourages you to drift along for a while.

The musicians are skilled and create rich pieces of music. Böhm (acoustic guitar) is joined by Markus Reuter (touch guitar and ambient guitar loops) and Zoltan Lantos (5-string violin and tarangini). The tunes are hard to explain. The music flows and comes to you but, beyond being instrumental, the only label that fits at times is new age.

First comes "Indiaespara" which at times feels like it might be drifting in from the east. "Tau" has a constant rhythmic pulse that underlies the piece, while at times the rest of the music soars over it, matches it or fades into it. Then "Circle" comes soaring in. The music dances gracefully, elegantly, and invites you to dance with it for awhile. As the tune comes to an end, it slowly fades away.

"Half a Waltz" is a strange piece; it is not a waltz, yet if you listen really closely you can almost find a waltz hidden inside. The music is likewise strange, with an alien feel to it. "Interlude" is an in-between song, a piece that stretches out and waits.

A picture of calm water under a starlit sky is painted in "The Lake." The slower tempo of the tune and the gentle flow to the music go a long way towards that effect. "The River" is a much quicker-paced piece, and the river is in the song, even if it is hard to hear it at first. "Nightbirds" evokes the night, with stars shining brightly in the sky. It is a beautiful, restful piece.

There is a reprise of "Half a Waltz," this time with guitars only. The music becomes even more strange and alien than it was the first time around. The CD ends off with a rather long track, "Time," which has the feel of drifting through time and space. There is really no other way to explain it. After the music ends there are several minutes of dead space followed by the musicians goofing around for a bit.

The CD is good. The music is consistently good and occasionally better than that. It is worth listening to even if it may not blow you away.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 25 June 2001