Marc Ostermeier

Tiny Birds

Tiny Birds lives its life in an unrushed way, slowly spreading its wings as the record progresses. The skeletal piano that unfolds is a sparse one, as delicate as ivory bone and with little ornamentation surrounding it. An intentional use of space lets the listener hone in on the single sound of the melody and its deeper intricacies when, in other circumstances, it might have been concealed. That’s not to say that the piano is the only living thing in this space. No, a dappled selection of carefully inserted field recordings chink in and around the music, lightly clashing and clinking around the room. Adding to these sounds is an appearance from violinist Christoph Berg (Field Rotation), and together these light, non-intrusive friends come and go at different times of the day. All the while, the piano sits in the middle of the music as the central point of focus.

Marc Ostermeier’s music slowly twirls, not expecting anything or deliberating on anything as it moves. The pacing of Tiny Birds isn’t slow as such, but it’s definitely thoughtful. The piano’s slippery tone has been diluted, and in a sense it recalls the deep fluidity of, say, William Basinski’s Melancholia. Everything is very distinct and at the same time dreamily distant. The melody’s notes repeat and linger on a particular section before moving on. The timid squeaks of small birds and the slightly introverted sound of the piano go well together, so much so they could have been an item in a previous life. They are made for one another.

Sparse little chords hang in the air, linking up a chain to other chords as they sidle along. Sometimes, they feel like they’re wrapped up against the cold, and that’s all down to the sparsity. It can alternately emanate bleakness or hope depending on the positional fluttering of its wings and the angle of its ascent. The music shifts from one mood to the next, passing by like clouds in the sky.

A couple of clashing notes play at the same time, a duo finding the time to be together in the midst of the music. The unfinished resolution of ‘Skitter’ hangs in the mind, and it’s a beautiful piece of music filled with restraint and delicacy. Ostermeier really has the feeling down, and it comes across to the listener. The tiny pieces try to take flight, but learning is a slow process. You have to train for it, and nothing worth doing comes easily. The music conveys the susceptibility of new life and the tiny, pristine wings waiting to fly. Tiny Birds is music for and from the heart.

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