Tuning into never-ending patterns, Zürich auteur gives a spin to the mirror-mirror vibe.
When Stephan Thelen introduced "Fractal Guitar" to the world, the album felt nothing short of sensational – being both outstanding and thrilling – and not only because it signposted a new method of sculpting a studio performance but also because the record was simply enchanting. More so, it was loose enough to welcome creative mixes from the Swiss artist himself as well as Bill Laswell who resumed their reflective duties, in the company of kindred spirits, after that platter’s follow-up saw the light of day. As in the case of the first round of reimagining, not every track got covered, yet those which have been overhauled reveal fresh facets and previously unseen personality-exposing depths now.
This is why, perhaps, it wouldn’t make sense to fathom the motorik immensity of “Cosmic Krautrock” from a different perspective, whereas Barry Cleveland found an interesting angle for “Mercury Transit” that emerges stripped of quite a few melodic lines to clear a path for his own plethora of multi-instrumental details on the frosting level and for Michael Manring’s prominent bass to puncture the piece’s resonant and spacious, and clanging, sparseness, without removing the prototype’s structure. There’s no wonder, then, in Jah Wobble projecting of “Ladder To The Stars” onto a valley filled with a jazzily woozy, echoing groove, which originally felt latent, and Laswell exerting his presence on “Point Of Inflection” – the most aquatically drenched, and most unpredictably twisted, of the three variants on offer, the other two handled by David Torn, who let the number shudder, clink and bite, and Thelen himself who unhinged the cut and added heavy vibe to the familiar fiber.
Stephan reworked “Celestial Navigation” too, rendering the track leaner and shorter, while embossing its arresting drift, and this, perhaps, is the best mirroring of the Swiss guitarist’s manifold talent that prevents him from allowing the already-committed patterns lie and stagnate – if they can have an eternal life. It’s a sign of a true master.