Vermont gives listeners unexciting soundtrack

Vermont is a fairly new ambient group hailing from Cologne, Germany.

They are the brainchild of house producers Danilo Plessow and Marcus Worgill. Plessow started working on the computer with samples at age the young age of 11 and, heavily influenced by a wide range of genres, became very prolific and wellknown in his area as the man behind Motor City Drum Ensemble. 

Worgill, on the other hand, is known under his outfit, Innerversions. He started playing piano at six, was in his school band and started playing at parties at age 14. He now owns a record store called Groove Attack in Cologne.

The drift from house music to ambient in Vermont was a surprise, especially considering the two of them had been releasing nothing but house for their entire careers. Their second album, entitled “II,” continues in the same vain as the first. Mellow synths, overlaid by electric guitar riffs and bizarre sound effects. 

Kompakt, the Cologne-based independent record label the album released through, said that the duo is “drawing inspiration from minimal wave and synth soundtracks.” Plessow and Worgill make use of an ARP Odyssey, Moog Prodigy and Fender Rhodes to create “II” and compose their music through what they refer to as “a number of improvised jamming sessions.”

The opener, “Norderney,” is a drifting and dissonant tune, with an arc that slowly builds its way up through its five-minute runtime. Electric guitar riffs are panned back and forth and placed into the mix very carefully. “Norderney,” much like the other 13 tracks on “II,” is very repetitive, but never redundant. There are enough breaks and creative usage of samples to keep the song fresh and interesting.

This is an album that ventures very far into experimental territory, with “Chemtrails” essentially being a three-minute drone sound, with reversed instrument samples being filtered in and out. It is great if the listener wants to zone out or focus on his/her studying, but aside from that it is not very engaging.

“Ufer” is the album’s most energetic tune, with an acoustic plucking noise used as the backbone to drifting guitar noises and delayed synths. It dies down toward the middle, but picks itself back up with closed hi-hats, giving it a definite rhythm.

To anybody who is familiar with the work of “Tycho” or “Com Truise,” think of this album as their instrumentals without the drum work or buildups. Plenty of things are happening sonically, but not a lot is going to excite the listener or make them want to come back for more.

While not the most interesting ambient album out there, “II” is excellent if looked at as a series of soundtracks. The space that Worgill and Plessow work within is used to its full potential and it would work amazingly as the soundtrack to an indie game or something along those lines. This is impressive and a far cry from their old days as house producers.