Paul Niggenkemper’s compositional tactics are viciously unique. His pieces are not simply written by some variation of melody and chord structure. Rather, he seems to strive to put together an aesthetic that encompasses all of the personalities involved with room for individuality in unpredictable places. The group at all times is conscious of the goal of the piece yet they properly use space to imply their own expression within the musical context.
The texture seems to come from the subject material. The ominous idea that somewhere in the ocean there is a massive mess of human waste floating on forever is exemplified in the eclectic blend of instrumental timbre that even seems to serve as an indicator of the types of things one may find in the Great Pacific Garbage patch. Combatant metallic materials are thrown together with crumpling plastics and developed alongside each other with pulsing waves moving the whole experience along.
Certain pieces drone on with sparing abstractions to accompany the elongated phrasing. This provides an element of aesthetic as the song does not aim to appeal to the audience in a melodic way, rather placing emphasis on enveloping spirit. Perhaps the down side to this emphasis on texture and aesthetic ambiance would be the lack of melodic ideas. Although the experience of the piece is particularly encapsulating, the audience is not always left with something memorable. This also leads into stagnation as the piece can sometimes achieve “sameness” for long periods of time.
Overall, I found this album extraordinarily unique and intriguing upon my first listen. The downside may be the lack of melodic content and the somewhat stagnant nature, but further listens will allude to a deeper understanding of the album’s development. I have faith that I will be intrigued for months to come.