Sydney-based multi-instrumentalist, Jochen Gutsch, presents a dizzying map to his auteurist soundscapes with Hinterlandt’s latest release Cartography.
The 41-minute record offers five tracks, covering an assortment of genres from ambient electro to avant-garde jazz; and rock variations – from prog to post via kraut.
Listening to Cartography is like wandering through imagined cities complete with bustling plazas, epic skylines, meditative gardens, and dark and ominous alleyways. It can be confronting and disorienting, but it can also be beautiful.
The album opens with shimmering guitar harmonics fading into light staccato picking, layering in keys, beats, and electro tweaks, before releasing a drifting Morricone-meets-Miles trumpet melody—and that’s only the first minute.
The rest of the track maps out a sometimes jarring journey through synth bass riffs, key changes, twee xylophone melodies, and an unexpected barrage of fuzz-metal guitar.
Gutsch’s compositions are best when given time to fully explore their worlds. The album’s opus, the 18-minute “Stadt Land Fluss”, opens with swirling winds and two minor-key guitar lines, reminiscent of Buckethead’s Electric Tears.
The track then surges in all directions offering spaced-out moments of U.F.Orb ambience, walls of howling guitars—echoing the soft/loud dynamic of post-rock outfits like Mogwai—and drifting horn solos like Sketches Of Spain.
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At times Hinterlandt’s audacious guitar riffs can be difficult to reconcile with the rest of the album. Their presence can be unnerving, but ultimately adds an intriguing texture to the tracks.
The meeting of live instrumentation and electro production is beautiful and the song structures complex and unpredictable. Cartography is grandiose, but never pretentious: a compelling journey worth lingering over.