As Museum of No Art, Germany’s Mona Steinwidder creates sounds that emerge like mirages in a shimmering heatwave. Using a curious palette of samplers, synths, and clarinet—one she shares in common with the deeply underrated Golden Retriever—Steinwidder’s compositions float between genre boundaries, neither ambient nor beat-driven but softly pulsating. There is a stateliness to her melodies that recalls the music of Tragedy-era Julia Holter, with a similar use of daydreamy vocals as yet another texture in her patchwork of gurgling arpeggios, bass hums, and echoing horns.
As Steinwidder explains, “Minimal Default on a Clear Blue Day” was the first piece she began working on for this project, a synthesizer improvisation laid down in a single take. She describes it as “an open and light structure that can grow and transform, leaving space in all directions without a clear beginning or ending.” This oblique strategy proved to be so successful that it became a guiding mantra for the rest of her self-titled album, now available from Toronto experimental label Séance Centre. The song’s video was created by artist Tilman Walther and Dominic Osterried, sending viewers wandering through a deserted virtual landscape, matching its feeling of peaceful stasis with a place to escape the chaos of the real world. words/j locke
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