Science of the sea
Label: Digitalis Recordings
CD REISSUE: With the influx of modern synth wielders comes a look backwards at electronic pioneers from the 70s and 80s. Jürgen Müller is one such visionary getting the reissue treatment – his 1981 album Science of the Sea, which was originally limited to 100 copies, and it is again available via Digitalis label. “Sea Bed Meditation” is a simple, gorgeous meditation on all things watery. Its intimacy recalls Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ minimal bedroom aesthetic as well as Raymond Scott’s early groundbreaking electronic tones. "A skeptic might cast aspersions on the tale behind Jürgen Müller's Science of the Sea. The story begins at the University of Kiel in Germany, where the self-taught composer was studying oceanic science in the late 1970s. Müller purchased some electronic instruments and set them up on his houseboat in the town of Heikendorf, where he began crafting instrumental pieces that reflected his love of undersea life. His dream of selling those compositions to film and TV companies for use in documentaries never transpired. But Müller did press fewer than 100 vinyl copies of the recordings in the early 80s and titled them Science of the Sea, giving most of the albums away to friends and family. Fast forward three decades and a copy of the record ends up in the hands of Digitalis Recordings, just as a resurgence of interest in the type of new age recordings Müller was practicing is taking place.
So it's reasonable to wonder if the backstory was constructed as part of a larger concept, the way people continue to wonder about Ursula Bogner or Endless House. One intrepid blog commenter even claims to have contacted the University of Kiel and found no trace of Müller's presence. Either way it doesn't really matter, because the music on Science of the Sea continues that superior strain of contemplative elegance records such as Emeralds' Does It Look Like I'm Here? and Oneohtrix Point Never's Rifts have touched on in recent times. Like those releases, the relation Science of the Sea has to actual new age music is tangential at best. There are no Gheorghe Zamfir-esque pan flute solos or anything that will drive you to join a local color therapy group. Instead it's an uncomplicated series of recordings, mostly based around gently unfolding synth arpeggios set to faintly pulsing rhythms." Pitchfork
Cat. number: digiv034
Originally released 1982.