Title: Tiny Missing Fragments
Genre: Dark Wave / Electropop
Release date: 23rd October 2020
Label: Accession Records
Sometimes, when we think about things that happen around us, we see they have a logical structure, that everything happens for a reason, that the people we meet, the things that happen to us occur as a result of an intentional trigger. That there is a plan to it. And there are also times when the whole structure collapses, as if someone punched a mirror and crashed it into thousands of pieces, chaotically. Life and the world as a structure with everything being an element of a bigger entity is one of the concepts I see in the new album by DIORAMA. It can be expanded onto a human creature also standing for a set of elements where all the thoughts, emotions, sensations and impressions, everything we know, experience, what we go through create us all as one, individual being. Things from our past, things we are looking or hoping for, all our demons and shooting stars, form a personal sky map which is never finite, never final, always in the making and re-shaping, transforming.
So are DIORAMA I think - ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’ is their tenth album and even though they are strongly set in a Darkwave, Synth, Electronic genre, with every album they reshape themselves, reinvent themselves, leave the old, no longer fitting sonic skin behind and adopt new colours to their musical palette. I took the journey to see what the missing fragments are, what their place and meaning in the bigger structure is and I must say the new release by Diorama is surely one of their best so far. It will not leave you disappointed if you’re seeking for intriguing melodies and even more intriguing, wise lyrics.
Torben Wendt is definitely a minimalist when it comes to creating texts - carefully selected words form a whole that shines through with its perfection; it does not hide behind a veil of baroque decoration or lavish metaphors. Simplicity of words and form enhances their meaning and this is what I most love about DIORAMA’s textual sphere. Perfect word combinations, right words to describe difficult matters - definitely signify the mastery of word command. Same with notes as it seems - 12 songs, like 12 gems in a beautiful necklace - they shine with their own light - each is individual and beautiful.
Musicians are not afraid of surprising their fans either with harsh, not that catchy melodies as it was in case of ‘Dark Pitch’, their first single; they always make the people who decide to delve into their music world think. About what’s around, but also what’s inside one’s mind and heart - they give a different perspective, which may be as eye-opening and comforting and disquieting and bitter. Everything is served in a detail-oriented sonic structure and beautiful, poetic, ambiguous lyrics. The album opens with ‘Avatars’ which offers a perfect combination of stumbling, harsh lines and warm vocal. Melodic line intermingles synth jumps, energetic tones and emotional lyrics. Felix backs-up Torben in side vocals.
Dynamic ‘Patchwork’ intertwines a soft, warm vocal by Torben with rich, electronic, reverberating background. I spent my lifetime looking like you and now I’m finally home again. In my patchwork of uncountable tiny missing fragments - I have a feeling it’s a bit like an acceptance of chaos and of missing, denial to match anything to be complete, finite, perfect. And a reconciliation with one’s own history, demons from the past. Accepting their presence and influence. It may also be about being influenced by what surrounds us; actually, a concept of communicating vessels, a jigsaw a puzzle seems to be the main one on ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’.
When you hear “You complete my incompletion” - one of the most appealing verses on TMF (and there are more of them) - it becomes obvious Torben Wendt is indeed a skilled poet and a good at putting words together to form catchy phrases. I’m sure these will be sung along during the concerts just like “synthesize me” used to be (and fact it still is). ‘Patchwork’ ends beautifully in echoing electronic chanting passing into electronically modified solo. Synth melodies are prevailing.
‘Horizons’ features a subsequent melodic line and a bit of melo-recitation lots of electronic loops and re-occurring motives plus emotional vocal - it’s actually characteristic for the entire album - juxtaposing elements that yet form a fine quality. Simple yet refined and sophisticated, elegant combination of cold, kicking and harsh electronics and warm vocal, it’s something very characteristic for the album and for DIORAMA in general. DIORAMA would not be themselves hadn’t they provided tracks to dance to - ‘Gasoline’, ‘Counterloop’, ‘Charles de Gaulle’ (setting some eastern motives) - these are indeed club inspired hits that will surely make your hips move.
Same with ‘Sensation’ where Torben and Felix Marc play a duo for the first time as equal voices. ‘Dark Pitch’ was chosen to be the first single to forego the album and definitely it made some fans totally confused. Gloomy, irregular melodic line could make you think of such bands as PORCUPINE TREE or RADIOHEAD. Profound, appealing and powerful, it leaves unforgettable impression especially with the “wake up wake up wake up” calling that re-occurs during the song.
‘Irreversible’ is a fine mixture again basing of subtle, delicate verses and harsh electronic fragments in between. From faster paces we dive into dark melancholic moods again: ‘The minimum’ and ‘Orbitalia’ are the most touching, beautiful ballads that will leave your heart aching and longing. Reduce me to the minimum is yet another phrase that stayed in my head for longer and made me think about the definitions of core ideas. When you hear the lyrics “it’s time to leave your shell disintegrates uncovering outdated certainties” from the song closing the album ‘Orbitalia’ it sounds like a spectacular finale for the perfect album.
To recap briefly - ‘Tiny Missing Fragments’ may sometimes sound like a settlement with some ideas, approaches, relationships and inner demons, a truthful, fictional confession and appointment to a new shape and form. The applied sonic line sways from melancholic and dark, energetic and dancy to heart-rendering, touching. All in all - the structure that I mentioned at the beginning is also present in the way the album is formed - contemplative, thoughtful head and tail and energetic belly - that’s what I see on here. Musically it bases on variance, numerous inspirational sources and instrumentation - it offers a wide diversity of mood tones and swings, it surprises and pacifies, makes one think and re-define set structures and definitions.
Actually, the more I listen to the album the more I like it and appreciate the abundance of details it shines with - it’s like good wine revealing it’s full bouquet with time. Really looking forward to hear it live and hear the new colours it will get while performed on stage. Great work!
06.Charles de Gaulle
Torben Wendt – Vocals
Felix Marc – Keys
Zura Nakamura – Guitar
Markus Halter – Drums
Total: 10 / 10