[CD review] Németh

Several performers worldwide have been using rock-band lineups as a basis of what often gets tagged “cinematic,” even if it only means sounding a bit like Mogwai. Viennese musician Stefan Németh has done his work in that field via bands Radian and Lokai; for his solo debut, though, he showcases some actual cinematic work, in that the six selections were all originally featured as soundtracks to assorted avant-garde films in recent years.

Reworked for formal album release, the half-dozen cuts don't hang together per se, but as six individual efforts emphasizing found-sound elements, understated arrangements and overall mood, Film rewards your attention. It helps that nearly every track only tangentially resembles its counterparts; if Németh works with moods, he doesn't shade them all in dour gray. A song like “Transitions,” with its art/techno-derived blend of metallic beats that actually create a groove rather than just a rhythm, shares nothing immediate with the dark chill of “Ortem Ende,” whose muffled wind noises introduce low tones.

More than once, Németh shows his debt to noted guitar experimentalists such as Glenn Branca and Rhys Chatham, as the open-ended parts on “Via L-4 Norte” and especially “Field,” with its huge feedback scrapes, demonstrate. But in contrast to such involving-if-still-stern work is “Luukkaankangas,” a highlight of inventive variety. Starting with a hazy wash of drones punctuated by a faint, almost nagging beep, it could almost be a lost track by the underrated Seefeel, softly shifting into a combination of crackling pulse and soft melody, and then finally fading away into a last recombination of sounds. Film is subtle almost to a fault, but no less beautiful.

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