Barbara Morgenstern’s Sweet Silence


I am so glad to have discovered this amazing LP from Barbara Morgenstern.  I first discovered Barbara’s beautiful songwriting from her collaboration with Robert Lippok in Tesri.  In other words, it is for the love to sophisticated electronic music that I found her.  Moving on to the topic at hand, I am very impressed by Sweet Silence.  In short, it is the combination of incredible synth work underneath Morgenstern’s incantations that  does it for me.

Sweet Silence is the opening track.  Featuring stuttering sine waves, dramatic portamento sawtooths, simple, textured percussion, sustaining pad organs, and the words of Morgenstern – confidently charging forward to the rhythm of the electronics, echoing and haunting, as she tells of life’s most precious moments.

A very pleasing tempo change onto the 2nd track, Need to Hang Around, a faster tune.  Again we have this amazing portamento that slingshots from one note to the next in a very cool rhythm.  The lyrics seem to speak to the idea that love in the moment can hold you down, and hold you back from exercising your inner creativity.  “In the past three weeks I could have written tons of number one hits, but I was sick.  I could have experienced the very peak of my creativity, but I was too dizzy.”  Sweet arpeggios accompany the chorus along with the rubberband synth work as I’d like to call it.  The intensity builds as the resonance rises on the arpeggios.  This is an amazing tune.

Keeping up with the high bar clearly established by the first two tracks, Kookoo delivers a symphony of sophisticated feelings.  The sharp, reverberating synth stabs are one of the most amazing parts on the entire album in my opinion.  The lyrics seem to almost be about the sound itself: “Move to that song, round and round, it’s your dance.  This lonely tune could play for me too, just by chance.”  It is so beautiful.  In the background we hear the glitchy stuttering of “Koo-koo..” around and around, as if part of some Pagan chant, or a ritual in the cold Autumn forests of Germany.  This is probably my top pick from this LP.

Out on the Highway is another one of my favorites.  It has the most beautiful synth work.  And Morgenstern’s sweet words are so soothing.   There’s also an orchestral quality to this tune that creates a journey, and a story.  It’s actually a bit tricky to describe.

The last tune that I can’t help but to write about is Night-time Falls.  This is a very catchy tune, and probably quite suitable for a dance floor in Berlin.  Probably not in the U.S., however, as I don’t think Americans really share the same appreciation for this kind of sound, though I could be wrong.  This song seems to be about the honesty of true love.  She talks about spending the night with a promoter, but feeling nothing and wanting to go back home to her true love. “There’s no lies between us”.  Hearing this sweet love song with the synthesizer work is tear-jerking.  It makes me tingle.  There is this one bass synthesizer that reminds me of Cindy Lauper’s Time After Time, and the way it interfaces with the dancey beat and Morgenstern’s storytelling is so incredibly beautiful.

Please buy this record.  Especially if you love sweet, sophisticated German electronic music like me.  This music is not trying to be cool, but rather trying to establish itself as what will likely be considered as a timeless classic for decades to come, I predict.