You know that one friend you have who manages to keep multiple successful projects on the go at once?
You must have one. The one who can turn a hand to almost any new skill or idea and create something awesome in next t0 no time? Annoying right? That’s kind of how I feel when listening to the debut release by Berlin-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Lichtermeer, the alias for Valentin Mayr’s solo electronic project.
Mayr started off playing the drums aged just 6, going on to study drumming at a number of institutions across Germany. Not content with mastering this skill, he also continued to play keyboards alongside and began composing for various musical projects.
It is a testament to experimentation, flowing from one track to the next while pulling in disparate threads.
As of 2018, Mayr could most commonly be found mixing jazz, ambient and rock in one of his two bands, Waleh or Kloudfall. It was around this time that Lichtermeer was also born. A year spent composing and experimenting resulted in three consecutive singles released between summer and autumn 2018, which then landed as part of a 16-track full-length album on 11th January this year.
Floating Minds is an apt title for this culmination. The image presents itself again and again throughout this airy, interesting set of songs. Far from being an obligatory follow-on from the single releases, the album is an intensely rewarding listen when heard in full. It is a testament to experimentation, flowing from one track to the next while pulling in disparate threads from selected guest vocalists, unusual instrumentalists and improbable inspirations (look out for a near unrecognisable cover of US metal band, The Contortionists).
Some of the highest points arrive when collaboration plays a part.
Most of this was played and recorded manually by Mayr, though some of the highest points arrive when collaboration plays a part. A number of tracks here feature Johannes Mayr on the nyckelharpa – a traditional Swedish instrument that, to be honest, I never thought I’d need to know about. On ‘Room 3’, it is at its mournful, pondering best, while also contrasting the humming bassline, spattering synths and sampled dialogue on single, ‘The Space Between Us’.
Other tracks, such as single, ‘Days In Vis’ and euphoric closer ‘Wanderlust’ feature the compelling vocals of fellow Waleh member Hannah König. While some of this is almost reminiscent of 90s French electro outfit Air, the latter track even dips into high tempo drum and bass-style territory. This kind of electronica sticks smoothly somewhere between the dancefloor and the dinner party and is deserving of the rapid second listen you’ll want to give it.