LILLERNE TAPES - "Strange Mountain is just one of many musical projects of Marcel Thee, a resident of Jakarta, Indonesia. Thee's solo output as Strange Mountain is focused on creating layers of tape-manipulated synthscapes, field recordings and concentrated experimentation with melody and sonic space. 'Slow Midnight' is at all times a thoughtful and very personal collection of music. The compositions here are calm and deliberate. Melodies and sounds wind around each other, changing subtly in pitch and with tape-affected warble. These are dense, but strangely delicate, works that capture the listener's attention. Truly beautiful and intricate music."
TINY MIX TAPES - Has there ever been a pop band with the word mountain in its name? The word always implies something bigger. On Strange Mountain’s Slow Midnight, you don’t hear the recording techniques or the studio in the music: you hear something else entirely, and it’s the size of the universe. And as such, no individual sound can be grounded or minimized into something our brain interprets as an instrument or note or melody. These soundscapes are all movement without time. And by the end of these five tracks, you will have been both everywhere else and exactly where you started.
DECODER - Released in an ultra-limited edition on Chicago’s Lillerne Tapes, Slow Midnight finds Thee inducing rippling tape recorder warble into cavernous pools of synthesizer drone and cloudy field recordings. The entirety of this five-song mini-epic induces the feeling of stumbling through a series of dreams in which the natural elements of our world adopt a barely-perceptible coat of heavenly light. This ability to paint vast, vivid frescoes both in sound and in light is rare; other than Thee, the only other people I’ve found with this skill are Lee Noble and Sparkling Wide Pressure‘s Frank Baugh. Slow Midnight proves that Thee deserves to be included among the ranks of the world’s master drone-smiths.
THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY - Tape-treated sonic expeditions from Indonesia. Long pulses and transcendent warbles. Burbling melodies. Carefully measured drones sparkling with harmonious static in deep, thick, syrupy string baths. Lots of mystery, must be those delicious augmented chords, laser-targeted at the dopamine receptors. Cotton candy clouds partially obscuring the landscape far below.
WHITEBOARD JOURNAL - (Strange Mountain) puts forth an experimental project that explores synthscape sounds and melodies that clash with intent timings. The result is an ethereal sound that explores mystical spaces within the depth of layers of each song. An audial journey in a seemingly longer 5-song EP as it builds you up throughout songs and the album as a whole. With ‘Omnipresent Memory’ being the centerpiece of the EP. Fully showcasing the depth that ‘Slow Midnight’ really is, blending nature sounds and majestic horns to create an ominous atmosphere only to be cleared up halfway into the song to a brighter and reassuring composition.
THIS IS TRU LUV - Jakarta’s Strange Mountain aka Marcel Thee provides us with five achingly magical pieces on the limited cassette release “Slow Midnight”. The choice of the cassette format, while experiencing a curious little resurgence amongst a number of hipster electronic labels and improvised noise terrorists, here seems absolutely fitting, as Thee’s distinctively wobbly clouds of elongated synthesized classicism are themselves heavily reliant on tape manipulation. The rare joy of these creations is that rather than the techniques themselves being a means to an end, the dense layers of chords, squeaks, bubbles and hisses are emotionally involving, consciously personal and immersive; arrangements which exist to be enjoyed rather than endured or simply ‘experienced’. I have tried searching for adequate comparisons, and found such a quest to be rather tiring and ultimately fruitless. The most obvious benchmarks for involving ambient music would be the likes of Eno, Stars Of The Lid, Loscil, but here Thee seems to transcend his forebearers. There are intricate fragments of sound which lead me to remenisce elements of Radiohead’s more interesting work – some of the transitional sections of Kid A or the more experimental of the OK Computer-era B-sides perhaps. Ultimately though, “Slow Midnight” is unique, and all the more extraordinary a work for it.
Originally released on Chicago's Lillerne Tapes in a limited run of 50 home-dubbed tapes. Cover and inner collages by Dwight Pavlovic. All the songs here were written around February and/or March 2013 to soundtrack long drives at night in the city.
released June 10, 2013
All songs written and recorded by Marcel Thee. Mastered by Yosi O.P.A at Movement