The Rorschach Garden
Tales of a Fragile Mind
In the three or so years since the last Rorschach Garden album the project’s founder and sole constant member Philipp Münch has been keeping busy. Producing and writing with The Present Moment, collaborating with Loss on a pretty interesting technoid album, tending to his long-running rhythmic noise outlet Synapscape and exploring his muse in the realm of rubbery electronic dub and IDM on LPs under his own name, Münch’s work ethic and range can’t be questioned. His return to The Rorschach Garden with Tales of a Fragile Mind signals a move towards an electropop template not too dissimilar from the long-running project’s more minimal moments.
Münch does melody quite well regardless of which incarnation of his muse he’s indulging at any given time, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that he pulls a few solid hooks together for Tales. Check the light Kraftwerkisms of the bubbly “Control” and “Simple Minded” or the slappy percussive feel of “That Fading Line” for good examples of how he can work with familiar motifs without venturing into the derivative.
Despite the stylistic similarities of all these songs, Münch does occasionally indulge some sounds that might seem mildly uncharacteristic. Opener “Fun Tastica” has a funky techno rhythm to it that belies it’s spacey reverbed leads and laconic vocals. Even more fun is the cutting electro of “A Little Piece of Moog”, where hints of acid squelch adorn a deadpan ode to the titular synth brand. There’s also some stylistic variation apparent in the near-twee “My Major Mistake” and the melancholic “We’re All Gonna Die”, both of which create variation through mood without varying too much from the structure of the surrounding songs.
An appreciation for craft will go a long ways towards the enjoyment of Tales of a Fragile Mind. With none of the arrangements or ideas that went into the album’s 13 original tracks breaking the bank in terms of never-heard-it-before-originality, it’s more about listening to how Philip Münch interprets those sounds. The album’s press material is quick to point out that this is the first time in recent years that a Rorschach Garden album has come solely from him with no collaboration, perhaps it’s easy then to understand why an artist with so many creative avenues to explore might spend some time by himself putting together a genre record. When your vistas are open and without limit, you have the freedom to indulge a little.