[sic] Magazine

The Volume Settings Folder – Laguna

The Volume Settings Folder (TVSF) is an ambient electronica project by North-East Italy’s M. Beckmann. He has been operational for five years and a considerable body of work has already amassed. Laguna is the first that [sic] has covered, coming to our attention via the Oscarson label. As we have come to expect from the German label, the physical product is another object of envy, a limited run of 12” vinyl, CD and poster. Digital download is also available of course.

Inspired by Beckmann’s life events, living then in Germany, now Italy, dedicated to his homeland and most tellingly, his mother, Laguna could be considered a concept album. It is a sinister and sombre affair. Yet the sentiment here is as ominous and unknowable as the rumblings of a dark, ancient God reawakened. All the pieces are wordless. The opening track ‘1983’ crackles with a menace nearing industrial music and it has a distinct cinematic or gaming quality, (though the film/game itself would need to be independent and art-house. Aronovsky’s π (Pi), for example.) Elsewhere, TVSF’s ambient side is accentuated. We find minimalist keys and strings, field recordings, background noise. Consider Beckmann more as a composer than songwriter with Laguna being a serious, weighty opus. I think to search for accurate, actual meaning here is futile. Laguna holds particular meaning for Beckmann. This much is clear. Yet it can mean other things to each listener. Water, for example, is an ever present symbol here – the name Laguna – the song titles (the album contains ‘Fragments Of Water’ followed by ‘Water In Fragments’, then ‘Currents’) and field recordings that have captured trickling water and bird chirrups – all these things are more than suggestive of aquatic influence. Whatever the background story, Beckmann has honoured its legacy with this stately release.

Do not come to Laguna expecting melodic pop. Instead a contemplative listen in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Satie or even Coil. From these meditations may even come a flicker of light and hope. It is often darkest before the dawn.

Digital copies of Laguna are available from March 25th 2016.