Kinship Stories – Alex Stolze (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you are one of those people who thinks that classical music lives only in the past, that world music is found primarily in the far-flung corners of the world, that electronic music is the bastion of the dance music set, then you need a bit of Alex Stolze in your life.

But creating music isn’t about making a point or ushering in learning curves or broadening the listener’s minds, making music is about…well, making music, the rest just seems to happen along the way. It does in Alex Stolze‘s soundscapes anyway. And the music he makes is a wonderful mix of musical times and tides, of genre and geography, of blending familiar sounds with new sensations.

As the title informs us, this album is a musical meditation on Kinship and what that means, both the connection with blood relatives and, perhaps more importantly, in its wider form, of the friends and loved ones wherever they are found and whatever the connection. And like the music which carries these tales, the stories wander freely across the world, from the isolation of western, urban wildernesses to the warmth and welcome found in the most remote and desolate landscapes.

There are drifting east European tones and traditions found on German Desert and electro-tribal beats driving the heart-felt Orphan. Negev captures the space and solitude of such places through a classical ambience, Babylon is an earnest and slightly epic baroque piece of poised pop boiled down to its essence and Horses and Acres is a beguiling post-pop soundscape, ebbing and flowing on washes of violin and skittering beats.

Like all good music, Kinship Stories makes you think. Through its imagery and collages of sounds, it conjures scenes and tells tales, often through half-suggestion and thus allowing the listener to fill in the blanks and apply such sentiments to their own life. And that is a smart thing to be able to do but then no-one ever doubted that Alex Stolze was the perfect man for the job.

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