Barbara Morgenstern Nichts Muss

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Born of a war-splintered generation and technologically-informed culture, German lap-pop singer/songwriter Barbara Morgenstern has cultivated a following by refining piano-composed, computer-configured melancholic minimalism that reconnects folkish intimacy with digital detachment. With production assistance from Stefan "Pole" Betke and Palais Schaumburg founder/Orb collaborator Thomas "Readymade/Visions of Blah" Fehlmann, Morgenstern tethers hushed, huddled tones to the Teutonic tap of crisp clicks. For her third album, Nichts Muss, however, Morgenstern has married a less sequestering production to the sway of her flickering soft-focus syncopation. Plenty of room remains to drape subtleties among the drones and drifts. Gentle guitar figures pirouette against Morgenstern's vocals, which carry a message that's secondary to melody. On close listen, beneath sometimes stark crackle, percolating repetitions and rounded analogues harmonics glide and swoop, finally dovetailing with the kinetic precision of fine watchmaking. Morgenstern is of an era of Germans that are harnessing technology to both emit and emote, escape and express.