Little more than a year after his first album Nebenkörper, undoubtedly one of the most interesting works of 2021, Vlimmer, Alexander Leonard Donat’s unclassifiable project returns with this new Menschenleere. As in the previous album, we find a work that is not easy to classify and that never ceases to surprise at any moment. Compared to Nebenkörper, the new album is more danceable, has less tribal percussion and won’t frighten you. It has been released by the artist’s label, Blackjack Illuminist Records on CD, cassette and digital.
Legend has it that Unamuno, a novelist of the generation of the ’98, learned Danish in order to read Kierkegaard. In the same way, I often wish I could read German in order to penetrate the lyrical world of Alexander Leonard Donat, but in the meantime I’ll have to stick to what his voice and music convey. The eleven compositions that we can find in this Menschenleere keep mutating, surprising the listener with each new twist and Leonard manages to switch from joy to rage from one verse to the next, always with a certain melancholy hovering over the whole album.
The album begins with “Erdgeruch”, a track with a darkwave vibe, with synths that will delight the members of the dark scene. “Mathematik” is one of those compositions with a lot of details and with a keyboard melody that partly illuminates the piece, although there is still a dark atmposhere. The original way that Donat has singing is also something to mention here. “Zielzweifel” is a more cheerful and catchy track with a new wave spirit. “Noposition” is quite original, with some melancholic parts and others more powerful and aggressive. It also starts more atmospheric and finishes in a more danceable way. The album continues with “Schädelhitze”, a track that has a melancholic start and a beautiful electronic part. My favourite of the album. Next, “Kronzeuge” is another original track with curious instrumentation and a nice catchy chorus. At the end, the keyboard melody fades out in a really emotive way. “Schwimmhand” has a playful sound and Alexander singing passionately.
“Stimmriss” is a slow, dramatic track with a dreamy electronic part that to me is what dark shoegaze should sound like. “Fatigue” is haunting and, at the same time, fun with a surprisingly fast-paced electronic part. “Menschenleere”, the title track, starts off with a lot of passion and has a very elaborate electronic part, Menschenleere comes to an end with “Raynaud”, a song that starts off in a delicate way, but like most tracks has other sides, although all of them keep a dreamy feeling.