I first happened across Aukai (Markus Sieber), when learning of Abul Mogard remixing his track, 'Snow' early last year. A seemingly delicate and beautiful original is turned into a haunting, synth-laden affair by Abul, was it not for a quick check of the original, I may have missed out on the greatness of Markus' work.
A comparison that doesn't do his work justice, but one that hit me immediately upon listening to his ST album, were the similarities between Aukai and some of James Newton Howard's work, specifically 'The Village'. Delicate guitars lining the simple and minimal compositions, evoking moments of beauty, mystery and fear. One of my favorite quotes that go on to describe Markus' work though, comes from John Dilberto from Echoes:
"Think Gustavo Santaolalla cavorting in a landscape of Ludovico Einaudi while sitting on the Champs-Élysées with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra...In its matrix of mood and emotion, intelligence and sensuousness, Aukai could not be more perfectly pitched."
Markus has recently returned with perhaps, his best work yet; a new album titled 'Branches of Sun'. Hosting a multitude of instruments and collaborators as 'The Aukai Ensemble', the album once again leads with Markus' secret weapon, the Ronroco (Charango) alongside subtle electronics, violins, the glockenspiel and cello (with Nils Frahm collaborator Anne Müller playing the part). The result is a soundtrack set for breezy fields, dusty plains and adventure beyond the snow-capped mountains. Each turn brings a new level of depth, featuring melodies fit for a theater and vivid compositions that will undoubtedly resonate with any listener looking for an escape into a new kind of wilderness.
For his isolatedmix, Markus has brought the same respect for beautiful instrumentation and a similar ability to capture the imagination we've seen across his modest discography. Featuring true masters of their craft, Markus blends the likes of Nils Frahm, Otto A Totland, Ben Lukas Boysen and even Harold Budd into one beautiful enchanting journey.
"In anticipation of my latest release, ‘Branches Of Sun’ I much enjoyed putting together this mix for A Strangely Isolated Place. This last winter I had a good chance to listen to a bit more music again, as with the two previous winters I was busy with writing and recording my own music. In these moments I can’t listen to anything at all - I am already so full with melody and sound after sitting in the studio for a whole day.
I picked mostly quieter ambient pieces here, that share a fine sense for an emotive minimalism and a space of reflection and contemplation. These are all musical gems either from good friends I had the pleasure to work with like Martyn Heyne, Anne Müller, Alex Nickmann, Abul Mogard, Ben Lukas Boysen, Will Ryan Fritch or pieces that had crossed my path in one way or another leaving their traces within me, may it be for the composition, the sonic texture, sound of a particular instrument, or the way they were recorded. Wishing you all a good listening journey with this mix" - Markus Sieber (Aukai)
00:00 Nils Petter Molvaer - Sober | Thirsty Ear Records
03:20 Aukai - Snow (Abul Mogard Rework) | Self Release/Aukai Music
07:04 Martyn Heyne - Afar | K7!
10:34 Nils Frahm, Anne Müller - On Our Roof | Erased Tapes
15:35 Hecq (Ben Lukas Boysen) - Nescient | Hymen Records
17:52 Dmitry Evgrafov - Wandering | 130701
21:02 Snow Palms - Circling | Village Green
24:47 Walter Fähndrich - Viola II | ECM
30:04 Sven Helbig - Meernacht | Neue Meister
35:09 Harold Budd - Wanderer | All Saints Records
39:14 Mogwai - Dust Bowl | Lakeshore Records
41:53 Penguin Cafe - Half Certainty | Erased Tapes
44:17 Aukai - Colorado | Self Release/Aukai Music
47:40 William Ryan Fritch - By the Letter | Lost Tribe Sound
48:34 Michael Price - Budapest | Erased Tapes
52:18 Gustavo Santaolalla - Requiem | Sony Masterworks
54:08 Otto A Totland - The Lost | Sonic Pieces
57:20 Balmorhea - Dream of Thaw | Western Vinyl
1:02:09 William Ryan Fritch - Glass Slowly Shifts | Lost Tribe Sound
1:03:17 Anne Müller - Silbersee | Nonostar Records
1:05:38 Alex Nickmann - Day Dreaming | Self Released