Berlin based composer and producer Ben Lukas Boysen returns with his most progressive and shape-shifting work to date, the long awaited Mirage, on Erased Tapes. The third album to be penned under his own name proceeding his Hecq moniker, Mirage follows 2013’s Gravity and the acclaimed 2016 full length Spells, a record as much admired by his peers as it was loved by fans that not only yielded remixes from Max Cooper and Tim Hecker, but also opened Jon Hopkins’ Late Night Tales compilation.
As with Gravity and Spells, Ben has an array of musical guests adorning Mirage, including long time collaborator, Berlin based cellist and composer Anne Müller as well as Australian saxophonist and composer Daniel Thorne — for whom Ben wrote parts specifically, having heard his 2019 solo debut Lines of Sight. Lead track Medela features both and takes the listener on a kaleidoscopic journey that slides with ease across sonic terrains.
Mirage, like its title suggests, feels like a sonic optical illusion — each piece containing sounds and techniques bent and processed to make them seem overexposed; the overly felt-y piano on Clarion, Daniel Thorne’s saxophone on Medela, the single note voice of Lisa Morgenstern splitting into different chords on Empyrean. It is detectable but also easily missed, like the double piano on Kenotaph that could be perceived as one, but is actually two pianos in two different rooms, separate countries even — one is digital while the other is acoustic.
While on Spells Ben made programmed pieces sound indistinguishable from human playing, with Mirage he set out to do the opposite and make the human touch unrecognisable, creating something of a mystery or a mirage.