Intensely absorbing, melon-trepanning disc of previously unreleased music from the Cologne-based American master-percussion and collaborator with the likes of Conny Plank, Toru Takemitsu and Harry Partch. Conceived in 1988-89 for a ballet choreographed by Philippe Tabard as an exploration of the biblical Tower of Babel story - Die Mauer being the invisible barrier erected when “the Lord ‘dishevels’ the humans’ languages who from now on can no longer communicate with each other” (you would imagine, in late '80s Germany, that this wasn't the only mauer on people's minds...). Ranta coaxes an extraordinary emotional range and eloquence from his arsenal of tuned drums, but whether opening up deep canyons of time-stretching, mind-omming reverberation or locking into tight, propulsive, microtonal beat patterns, his music never feels crowded. Yeah he's handy with a gong, our Michael, but space is the instrument he is most in command of and adept with. With only very subtle colourings of excited-string flutter and sparse electronics/tape treatments, he explores mellifluous, pastoral kosmische ('Absurd'), bleak extraterrestrial gamelan and Ruedi Hausermann-esque goblin-court-dances, while ‘Danse Générale registers almost as a kinda proto Perlon-ish minimal techno, and the creeping atmospherics of ‘Prelude’ and black-hole drone raga ‘Apocalypse' feel part of that Umiliani-Demdike death-jazz continuum, minus the pulpiness. Put simply this one is proper proper PROPER, making a mockery of everything else currently sat on me listening pile. Highest possible recommendation.
CD in 6-panel fold-out sleeve with original program notes translated by Christoph Heemann. Edition of 500.