Boundaries, both stylistic and physical, are busted down on the latest album from Burkhard Mahler. A collaboration with saxophonist/guitarist/pianist Peter Schickling, Best of Fusion unites the worlds of jazz, rock & roll, and electronica for a dazzlingly inventive and futuristic hybrid. Furthermore, like the Roger Waters-commandeered Pink Floyd, Mahler and Schickling seem to have lost their anchor to Earth at times, leaping into extraterrestrial regions that only visionary musicians can reach.
The otherworldly adventures that Mahler and Schickling embark upon are perhaps best exemplified by "The Sax Lounge 2." An icy, disembodied female voice asks, "Do you love me, too?" as Schickling's sax breathes in and out of a synthetic cauldron. It's quite a trip and recalls the consciousness-expanding abilities of the most transcendent psychedelic music. "The Sax Lounge 2" is light years ahead of most contemporary jazz; Mahler is clearly seeking to break new ground here while remaining accessible to casual listeners.
Mahler's utilization of his rock inspirations is not as straightforward as other artists who blend the genre with jazz. For example, "The Other Side" is about as otherworldly as music gets with its interstellar guitars and David Bowie-ish vocals. "The Other Side" is one of the key songs on the record in that it openly expresses Mahler's fascination with the unknown.
On a less experimental note, shimmering melodies illuminate the dark beauty of "Nightpiano". It is here where Mahler and Schickling strike the most indelible moment of Best of Fusion as its union of subtly executed piano jazz and futuristic electronic rhythms achieves a heavenly marriage. Best of Fusion doesn't sound like anything else in a clone-drenched jazz market, and it deserves the widest applause.
The band: The compositions of Mahler are pretty solid across the board. I would say he possess above average writing skills. Timing seems to be spot on within each sonic movement. Mahler clearly has solid melodic instincts via these compositions that match the cult Ambient style of music perfectly. The music melodic, dark, unpredictable, interesting, thought provoking and highly entertaining are just some of the words I would use to describe his music. Musical textures reminiscent of Moby and Prodigy. Anything ambient yet dark thought provoking and deep. If you like those kinds of artists you will no doubt get a kick out of this CD. The songs Above average songs. Very simple yet effective, conservative, highly original and passionate. Chaos and Harmony strikes the prefect balance between Ambient Theatrics and Passionate Orchestration. Mahler is clearly just letting it all hang out as a songwriters and as a result this is what comes out of the other side. My favorite song on the CD is "Ferrari". The vibe: Great vibe. Perfect for late night college parties, coffeehouses, or even magazine shops. The production delivers a lot of musical variety. Honorable mentions go out to amazing production virtuoso of Mahler. I give him high marks for not being afraid to let it all hang out musically. Mahler is not trying to be some catchy Ambient composer striving for mass appeal - he's just being himself. The CD refuses to try to hard - that's what makes it so amazing The good Very likeable, marketable record - amazing songs, dark, highly original. Possesses a very unique signature sound. The bad: Some of the songs run their course and them some. Many pieces drag on for 5+minutes. I literally fund myself hitting the "next" button on my media device. CD is also guilty of being a tad repetitive. The ugly: Their comes a point in time where the song needs to just end already.
The verdict Chaos and Harmony by Burkhard Mahler is a rock solid release. The songwriting is clearly above average. The production gets it's point across well. Again the most amazing thing about this CD is the composition genius of Burkhard Mahler. He's clearly a new premier talent from Germany. Fans of all things ambient will love this CD no doubt.
Indieshark Music Critic
December 5, 2011 by Skope
Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it". Today I spun to the latest CD from Germany's own Burkhard Mahler entitled "Chaos and Harmony" released in 2011. Venturing to his website and reading his bio I get the impression he is one ambient composer that is extremely passionate about the songwriting craft - with an extensive catalogue of music available. From start to finish this CD from Mahler presents a type of evil genius flair and mystique. Almost like a modern day Moby or Prodigy or even Beck. It has an Ambient or even Alternative Rock quality to it but should not to be underestimated or easily pinned down. It dabbles in what I would call psychedelic ambient jazz with a techno or Electronica flair. Trust me when I say this artist goes a bit deeper than the next independent artist out there. Any fans of the above artists or musical styles will enjoy this latest release from Mahler. I get the impression Mahler is just rolling with what he knows as a composer within each one of these pieces. In other words he hits the mark remarkably well by just being himself. Favorite track is (Aint' Playin) and (Goin' On). Within each one of these songs Mahler finds his soul and delivers his best musical mojo. He is clearly from another planet and is a force to be reckoned with. The overall vibe of the production is very unpredictable, very original and highly entertaining.
Burkhard Mahler is a fascinating artist. Like I said most famous artists out there have "it" I'm not so sure what it but Burkhard Mahler clearly has whatever "it" may be.
Michael Morrison - Skope
Edited by Cyrus Rhodes