Posts Tagged ‘Efterklang’
We are delighted to premiere the new single ‘Someone told me I was Paradise for you’ from the gifted Copenhagen-based quartet We Like We. The gorgeous new sonic creation is the first material since the band’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘A New Age of Sensibility’ (released in late 2014). The highly anticipated single is released tomorrow, 1st September 2016.
Copenhagen-based quartet We Like We comprise the gifted talents of Katrine Grarup Elbo (violin) Josefine Opsahl (cello) Sara Nigard Rosendal (percussion) and Katinka Fogh Vindelev (voice). All four members are classically trained, but each share a desire for exploring, experimenting and shaping a unique sound of their own, as reflected in their diverse musical influences. The group’s first live performance took place at FROST festival in Copenhagen in February 2013: a unique double-bill concert with Efterklang. We Like We have collaborated with an array of musicians and projects in the past: Efterklang; Julia Holter; Mew; Sofia Gubaidulina; The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. We Like We’s debut album ‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is available now on The Being Music.
“This single is one of the results of our work over the past six months. We have had a close collaboration with sound engineer Marc Casanovas (NorCat Lyd) with whom we have explored sound, space and different ways of recording”.
—We Like We
Someone told me I was paradise for you is the endless mantra that is whispered in to your ear during the late hours of a dark blue summer night. It is four individual voices and reflections braided together as a unit in the depths of the collective unconsciousness.
From the opening dream-like pulses of delicate percussion – beginning with two gongs before soft ripples of vibraphone effortlessly melds together – We Like We’s brand new recording invites the listener deep into a labyrinth of fragile beauty and encapsulating dreams. The ambient works of Harold Budd lies somewhere in the ether of these burning flames, wherein a tenderness and stillness of night radiates with each and every meditative heart-beat. Soon, achingly beautiful instrumentation of violin is carefully added, evoking the glimmering rays of hope across cascading skies: dapples of light flicker along the horizon. The modern-classical soundscapes and divine instrumentation conjures up the timeless sound of the prestigious Touch or Type labels with the spirit of Peter Broderick, Sylvain Chauveau and Hildur Guðnadóttir
At the half-way point, the mesmerising voice of Katinka Fogh Vindelev whispers directly to one’s mind’s eye. Like a bird in full-flight, these four combined elements of strings, voice and percussion soars majestically with unlimited possibilities of discovery, exploration and chance. The mantra-like phrases sung by Vindelev transports the listener to the poignant, dream-like fantasies of Kazuo Ishiguro’s master novels or the otherworldly realm crafted by Kafka. This sublime tapestry of gradual blissed-out tones reveals inner-most truths and awakens a myriad of feelings and emotion. The compelling, ambitious and sublime new single is nestled nicely amidst the avant-garde, modern-classical and luminaries such as Scott Walker (‘Tilt’ era) and L.A’s Julia Holter and ‘Parallelograms’-era Linda Perhacs.
Released on The Being Music 2016, www.thebeingmusic.com
“In my mind a composition is never finished because nothing keeps me from playing it differently next time.”
‘Shady & Light’ is the debut solo release from renowned German musician Martyn Heyne. Born in Hamburg, the Berlin-based composer studied at Holland’s Conservatorium van Amsterdam. His home studio, Lichte – based next to Berlin’s Tempelhof (former) airport has been the chosen recording space for artists including The National, Nils Frahm, Lubomyr Melnyk, Peter Broderick and Efterklang. In addition, Heyne was a touring member with Danish group Efterklang during their 2013 ‘Piramida’ tour (and parts of their final album was worked on in Lichte).
The album opener ‘Telepath’ flickers with golden dawn’s glistening rays as soothing guitar tones meld effortlessly with luminous beats, conjuring up the timeless sound of Finnish duo The Gentleman Losers and Keith Kenniff’s Helios project. The master composer crafts such singular melodies with meticulous detail buried deep within the sonic terrain of ambient-infused-modern classical flourishes. The sparse lament of ‘Sparks’ proves another defining moment, in which radiant waves of nostalgia seeps into the forefront of the mix. ‘Sparks’ belongs in a stratosphere whose axis points between Keith Jarrett’s live solo recordings and the collaborative works of Tape & Bill Wells.
A glorious rise of ambient flourishes permeates the krautrock-tinged ‘Brandung’ with scintillating synthesizer passages and meditative electric guitar pulses. ‘The Gathering’ – despite its short length – exudes a wall of emotion that echoes the ambient works of Harold Budd with pristine reverberated guitar tones fading onto the sun-lit horizon. The album’s towering penultimate track ‘Monoment’ somehow transposes Nils Frahm’s piano to the guitar instrument: the transcendent sound world of synthesizers, drum machines and guitar fuse together, evoking the ‘Spaces’ live document of Heyne’s close colleague.
‘Shady & Light’ will be exclusively available from martynheyne.com from 27th May 2016.
Interview with Martyn Heyne.
Congratulations on the truly gorgeous debut mini album, ‘Shady & Light’. I would love to gain an insight into your compositional approach when creating these intricately beautiful guitar-based pieces?
Martyn Heyne: Thank you very much! As you say, each piece is centred around a single electric guitar performance – that’s my compositional frame work. From there I add all the other things because I love sounds and finding spaces for them! I tend to have the musical idea in the master take and then base the arrangement on sonics. The instrumentation is often part of the Mix too. For example, when high frequencies are lacking I might add a cymbal rather than use EQ.
Your sonic canvas of guitar, synthesizers and a drum machine is a joy to savour. In terms of the instrumentation, would many of these tracks originate from a guitar-based improvisation? As this is a debut solo EP –although of course you have a significant body of work behind you among the many wonderful and diverse collaborative projects in the past– do these musical compositions all originate from the same space in time?
MH: Yes, the compositions are usually distilled improvisations on guitar or piano. Even when I start on one instrument I will bounce over to the other for a moment just to see what that might say about the music. In my mind a composition is never finished because nothing keeps me from playing it differently next time. I try to listen to where it wants to go until I have a real favourite route through the music. So yes, the simmering nudges details into place.
Can you please recount your memories of composing ‘Sparks’, Martyn? This is the piece we are honoured to premiere on our site. The delicacy of the piece immediately strikes you and indeed the gracefulness of this divine sonic canvas that gradually unfolds.
MH: Thank you very much! With this track I applied the approach of my classical studies to the electric guitar. I love how a more classical technique allows the guitar to be like a vibraphone or any keyboard instrument. Chord and melody, notes attacking at the same time (as opposed to strummed), countering bass lines – those are the gaps I’m forever trying to bridge. By the way, the original title of this one was the smell of campfire in our sweaters.
The Lichte studio is steeped in history with such an inspiring array of musicians and close collaborators of yours all recording here over the years. I would love for you to discuss this particular space, Martyn and explain the reasons as to why (or perhaps how!) the acoustics and sound world captured in these walls are so special? Please talk me through the studio techniques you have developed and processes you favour when it comes to making/recording music in the Lichte studio?
MH: One thing I can think of is that the studio is very informal, as it’s located in my flat, and maybe more neat and calm than studios generally are. Many of the common recording pressures don’t apply to a session here which can make all the difference. My main focus is always on performance and content because they translate most through all kinds of listening environments. I am surprised how often people sing into a 10k microphone with a crackling distorted Behringer headphone sound. It brings uneasiness to the performance. In my philosophy the monitoring situation is just as important as the recording chain because the take will shine through more than the mic.
My current favourite is the penultimate track, ‘Monoment’. As the sound world of synthesizers and guitar meld effortlessly together, I feel a perfect symmetry exists alongside the works of Nils Frahm, (more particularly your guitar becomes a mirror of Nils’s piano, creating such moving and enveloping sounds!) I also love the sequencing of ‘Shady & Light’, where the more synth/drum machines come to the fore during the final section after beginning with fragile and barer guitar instrumentation.
MH: Thank you so much! In ‘Monoment’ I operate the drum machine in between playing the guitar, which allows me to change the arrangement on the go in a live performance. On top of that I use automation software to create what I call Random Auto Dub (yes, that’s RAD) which sends the drum machine signal kind of randomly into a spring reverb, amp, or tape delays. That way it always does things I don’t expect and I have something to react to on stage which makes the whole thing way more exciting for me!
My friend Anne Braun shot a great video of a concert where you can see how that works (https://youtu.be/AIQ1K537enM). Incidentally, the title Monoment is based on the track being recorded, just like almost all of Shady & Light, in mono.
Your life is steeped in music. Please take me back to your earliest musical memories? What defining moments occurred during your musical upbringing that you feel helped carve out this particular musical path for you, Martyn? Also, please mention any records that provided huge inspiration for you, over the years?
MH: As a young child I just experimented on my mother’s piano using two chromatic modes, symmetrically based around the Ab or the D. When I eventually got lessons, C major came as a real surprise!
I was lucky to be born in the time where people started buying CD’s, so vinyl and record players were up for grabs and became kids’ toys. I got to play the obsolete space wasters in my room while everyone was busy trying to get their cherished CD’s out of the plastic wrapper! That way I had a record collection all my life, and it still includes my parents’ original Beatles red and blue albums as well as Abbey Road which is possibly my most played record. Other favourites include:
Miles Davis and Portishead. Both masters at getting such direct beauty out of things that are pretty rough around the edges. Also both masters of the band concept and especially the drums in it!
The Gentleman Losers, the first album. Their sonic vision makes me so happy! My favourite record for after sundown.
Oasis, Definitely Maybe. The beginning of my lifelong obsession with tape delays, compression and distortion. Unfortunately, the sound of this record also probably started the loudness war because so many that came after didn’t understand that it only works the first time.
Keith Jarrett, Vienna Concert. This, even more than other solo concerts of him, shows where you can go musically when you go alone. The mobility of it makes it so enticing to me!
Richard Wagner, all the overtures. I imagine, after Paul McCartney walks offstage another 80k capacity stadium, shakes the President’s hand and makes for his limo through a vast sea of picture taking admirers and he’s beginning to worry it might all go to his head a bit – then all it takes is for him to go home and quietly listen through the opening of Lohengrin to firmly place his feet back on the ground.
Lastly, if you’re DJing at a party, forget all of what I just said and put on Solange’s True EP!
‘Shady & Light’ will be exclusively available from martynheyne.com from 27th May 2016.
Interview with Heather Woods Broderick.
“Many times I see things, whether it’s a passing scene out of a window, or a combination of colours on a wall, that conjure up memories for me. So sometimes I use these images to help depict or frame a feeling.”
— Heather Woods Broderick
Words: Mark Carry
‘Glider’ is the highly anticipated sophomore full-length –and follow-up to the formidable 2009 solo debut ‘From The Ground’ – from gifted multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Heather Woods Broderick. The Brooklyn-based and Portland-raised musician has long been synonymous with some of the most breath-taking musical explorations of recent times, having closely collaborated with Portand’s Horse Feathers, Danish group Efterklang and is currently an integral member in U.S singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten’s band.
The nine immaculate sonic creations captured on ‘Glider’ unfolds a fragile beauty and striking emotional depth that inhabits an ethereal dimension from the opening dream-like atmosphere of ‘Up In The Pine’ to the closing country gem ‘All For A Love’. ‘Glider’s bewitching sonic canvas possesses a transient quality with each song cycle capturing a myriad of fleeting moments. The gorgeous vocal harmonies, pristine production and rich instrumentation serves the fitting backdrop for Broderick’s deeply affecting songs to flourish. For example, ‘Mama Shelter’ evolves into an infectious dub-infused groove which is masterfully inter-woven with Broderick’s richly soulful vocal delivery. The piano-based ballads of ‘Fall Hard’ (which could be taken from Marissa Nadler’s latest record ‘July’), ‘The Sentiments’ and the album’s title-rack ‘Glider’ serve the album’s most poignant and soul-stirring moments as the rich tapestry of vocal harmonies and piano notes drift majestically in the ether.
‘A Call For Distance’ epitomises the evocative production masterfully dotted across ‘Glider’ as timeless dreamwave sounds of This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins comes to the fore. The joyous sounds of ‘All For A Love’ with its jazz leanings (thanks in part to David Allred’s trumpet part) contains gorgeous clean guitar tones, upbeat harmonies and warm percussion akin to a marvelous sunset on a summer’s night. “There is a lot to live for” is a lyric that resonates powerfully and marks the album’s over-arching theme of perseverance through life’s difficulties and therein the strength to find one’s inner voice.
‘Glider’ is available now on Western Vinyl.
Interview with Heather Woods Broderick.
Congratulations on your sublime new record ‘Glider’. The album is nothing short of staggering where the nine sonic creations unfold a fragile beauty and striking emotional depth that leaves the listener utterly dumbfounded. Rather than a record being a snapshot in a moment of time, ‘Glider’ possesses a transient quality with each song cycle capturing a myriad of ﬂeeting moments culled from a long period of time. Can you please talk me through the songs of ‘Glider’ and discuss the themes to ‘Glider’ and your aims from the outset?
Heather Woods Broderick: Thank you very much; I’m really happy to hear you’re enjoying the record. Most of the songs on ‘Glider’ are reﬂections of experiences I’ve had, or close friends or family have had. The songs were written over about a two-year period, but reference events spanning a substantial period of time in my life. The title track is the only song I wrote prior to moving to Brooklyn in the fall of 2011. Many years had passed since I released ‘From the Ground’ when I really began writing the material for ‘Glider’. I think I’d grown as a musician after playing with so many different projects, and also as a person after so much travel around the world. ‘From the Ground’ was my ﬁrst attempt to write any songs with words, so there were a lot of things I wanted to do differently when writing ‘Glider’. I like to create an atmospheric landscape for songs to live in. For ‘Glider’, I still wanted this to play an important role in the sound of the record, but I spent more time fully forming songs and writing lyrics. I think all of the songs on the record are pretty self-explanatory in a lyrical sense since they are all based on real events and emotions, but I do like to utilize a bit of metaphor in songwriting to help paint a picture an allow for more imagination. Many times I see things, whether it’s a passing scene out of a window, or a combination of colours on a wall, that conjure up memories for me. So sometimes I use these images to help depict or frame a feeling.
The range of sounds masterfully sculpted across the record is something that sets ‘Glider’ apart from your formidable debut full-length ‘From The Ground’ where this time around all songs are vocal-based, reﬂecting a song-writing masterclass in full bloom. Please take me back to the recording sessions and the wonderful cast of musicians you were joined by, not least your brother Peter and the wonderful David Allred among several others.
HWB: Every song on the record started out as a poorly self-recorded demo. I knew that I wanted to go into the studio having all of the material prepared, so I spent a lot of time with the demos – working with the structure and arrangements of the songs. I had all the vocal ideas worked out on demos, and knew the guitar sounds I wanted to go for, etc. When it ﬁnally came time to go into the studio I asked a few friends to be a part of the process. I spent ﬁve days at Type Foundry studio, working with engineer Adam Selzer, in Portland, OR where I recorded all of my basic tracks and vocals, and also tracked 2 of the songs (Wyoming + All for a Love) live as a three-piece. During these sessions Dave Depper played bass, Peter Broderick played Drums, Birger Olsen came in to lay down the guitar solo on ‘All for a Love’, and Eric Early played some hammond on ‘Desert’. All phenomenal musicians; I was lucky to have them join me on the songs. After the ﬁve days at Type Foundry, Peter and I took all those tracks out to a home studio he has on the Oregon Coast called The Sparkle. We spent a couple of weeks out there doing the rest of the overdubs. David Allred also came out and added some upright bass and trumpet during this time. We worked with the songs a lot during this phase, ﬁlling out the arrangements more, doing all of the post production, and then mixing the record here as well.
Aesthetically, ‘Glider’ is such a triumph and revelation. The piano-based ballads such as the heartwrenching title-track, ‘Fall Hard’ and ‘The Sentiments’ are beautifully inter-woven with ethereal dreamwave creations like ‘A Call For Distance’ and stunning folk gems like ‘Desert’ and ‘All For A Love’. I wonder was it ever difﬁcult to decide on a certain style or version of a particular song, Heather? Did any of these songs undergo a dramatic transformation (or mutation!) from your original sketch of a song to its ﬁnal recorded entity? For example, I can imagine a song such as ‘A Call For Distance’ is such a thrill to perform and record with your band?
HWB: I ﬁnd it almost impossible to go back and drastically change the structure or lyrics of a song once I’ve written it. So for the most part, the songs are really similar to the demos. I wasn’t really going for any particular style or anything when I was writing. ‘A Call for Distance’ was sort of my labour of love on the record. I used a lot of delays through the process of writing these songs, and I think this one in particular was really inspired by what I was hearing as I went. I had an electric guitar with a delay pedal, a vocal mic, and a basic logic setup, so I could play and listen back while writing. I wouldn’t even know how to replicate some of the sounds from the demos on this song, so we ended up ﬂying in some of the demo tracks. I have yet to perform this one live with a band, but I really look forward to doing that, and ﬁguring out some version of it that works in a band setting. Some fun developments did happen during the recording process though. For example, Dave Depper’s bass playing on ‘Mama Shelter’ ended up being a huge inﬂuence to the path of that song took. He came up with this dub/reggae bass part in the chorus’ that we loved, so we sort of played on that theme while adding the other instrumentation. It ﬁt in really well with the chorus echo and space echo machines that we were using with all the other tracks as well.
The art of collaboration has been a trusted constant in your musical path, from Horse Feathers to Efterklang and Sharon Van Etten. I would love for you to share your feelings on music as being the great collaborative art. I can imagine the sum of these experiences and journeys with all these special souls makes for such an inspiring and rewarding journey. What are the memories you most cherish from these particular collaborations?
HWB: I have been very lucky to play with so many talented musicians, and collaborating with other artists is something that I’ll always have an interest in doing, musically and beyond. I love learning other peoples’ songs as well as writing parts to accompany others’ music. I ﬁnd a lot of pleasure in practice and repetition. It’s a very different experience playing with different people. Everyone approaches music in their own way, and I ﬁnd that really interesting. I go through phases of wanting to work on music that’s much more structured or technical, and wanting to throw out all the rules and just play loud rock music. It’s all rewarding in different ways. I loved being able to play cello in Horse Feathers – something I haven’t done with any of the other bands I’ve played in since, at least in a live setting. I have particularly fond memories of traveling with Efterklang to places I’d never been, and haven’t been since. They were really special people to make music with. I was late in the game in hearing Sharon’s music, but I’m so glad I did. I still remember the ﬁrst time we sat in my living room and sang together – a moment I’ll never forget.
Coming from a musical family – both your parents are musicians and you began piano lessons at the young age of eight – music has always been in your life. I would love if you could reﬂect on pivotal moments that occurred during your musical upbringing that you feel helped you in a signiﬁcant way? I can only imagine you and your brother at home must have been playing music together, almost on a constant basis?
HWB: There was deﬁnitely a lot of music going on in my house growing up. My parents both played guitar and always spun records after dinner. My older brother Noah played saxophone and also electric in a grunge rock band. I took piano lessons for years, and then quit for about a year when I was 15 or 16. Probably typical of that age and not wanting to be told what to do. I came back around to it though. I found some classical pieces that I really fell in love with and contemporary bands that I heard classical crossover with (everything from Rachels to various math rock bands), and it made me excited to keep practicing, and to be able to apply what I’d learned to making music with people. My brother Peter started taking suzuki violin lessons when he was really young, but we never really played together until I was 18 or 19. We started playing in a band together then, and also went to the same school for a brief period and would write and perform pieces together for composition classes and recitals. My parents were always really supportive of whatever I wanted to do with music, and I’m sure their support encouraged me to go down my own musical path.
The tender lament ‘Desert’ is one of the album’s (many) deﬁning moments. I love this sense of a travelogue that ﬂickers in and out during many of your songs. The imagery and poetic prose
conjured up on ‘Desert’ resonates powerfully. Please talk me through this song and your memories of writing ‘Desert’.
HWB: ‘Desert’ was one of the later songs I wrote for the record. I was on a break from touring and trying to spend some quiet time at home with my guitar in Brooklyn. I wrote the song in one afternoon in my living room there. I had recently been playing a lot of music with my dear friend and fellow musician Alela Diane in support of her record ‘About Farewell’. I was playing second guitar along with her and had been messing around with some of those ﬁnger picking patterns. The core of the lyrics are based around a conversation that I’d recently had with a former boyfriend that had left me feeling unresolved. It was also late winter in New York, and the imagery is embedded in observations of the season.
I feel the empowering piano ballads contained on ‘Glider’ serve the vital pulse to this remarkable album, reminiscent of Marissa Nadler, Grouper’s ‘Ruins’ LP and indeed, Sharon Van Etten. It feels as if these songs represent some of the earliest written songs that helped shape the rest of the record. I love the ethereal dimension the piano-based works inhabit, creating in turn, utterly transcendent moments.
HWB: Those are all lovely ladies to mention, thank you. ‘Glider‘ was the earliest track written for the record, and was written while I was still living in Berlin before moving to Brooklyn. ‘The Sentiments’ was written somewhere in the middle of that two year writing period, and ‘Fall Hard’ was actually the last song I wrote for the record. Maybe it’s appropriate that they are scattered like they are throughout the record in a sense; I hadn’t thought about that.
What records do you ﬁnd yourself coming back to, time and time again? Please discuss any books/gigs/music/ﬁlms you have been most impressed with lately?
HWB: My musical tastes really vary. On the classic side, I always go back to records by Kate Wolf, Neil Young, and Springsteen. These are all records I grew up listening to. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Dawn Upshaw performing Henryk Górecki’s Symphony no. 3, Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto no. 2, or any Chet Baker record. I also love a lot of new indie bands, jazz, ambient – the list could really go on forever. I think the most memorable performances I’ve seen in the last few years was Antony and the Johnson’s performing Swanlights at Radio City Music Hall. I love seeing dance performances. ‘Drift’ by Cindy Van Acker, and a piece titled ‘Leading Light’ by Suniti Dernovsek are two of my favorites I’ve seen in the last year. I recently read ‘Light Years’ by James Salter and ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ by Joan Didion – both beautiful books. I’d highly recommend both.
‘Glider’ is available now on Western Vinyl.
Interview with We Like We.
“How many times does life actually evolve as anticipated? There is something extremely beautiful about these processes and transformations.”
—Katinka Fogh Vindelev
Words: Mark Carry
We like We is an experimental performance and sound quartet based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Encompassing worlds of neo-classical, experimental pop and avant-garde soundscapes, the highly promising and gifted quartet comprises of Katrine Grarup Elbo (violin) Josefine Opsahl (cello) Sara Nigard Rosendal (percussion) and Katinka Fogh Vindelev (voice). All four members are classically trained, but each share a desire for exploring, experimenting, jamming and shaping a sound of their own.
Expanding their inspiration and influence from the classical roots We like We makes music driven by intuition and playfulness. I feel a lovely parallel exists between the Danish quartet’s highly-evocative and intuitive compositions and Iceland’s Amiina such is the unwavering beauty and utter magic the masterful musicians create with each sacred note. Through their collaborative compositions, We like We creates music that travels beyond the grid of genres. The band’s debut album ‘A New Age of Sensibility’ contains a kaleidoscope of enchanting sounds from the rhythmic pulses of ‘Anticipation’; spellbinding intermezzi capturing moments of divine transcendence (‘Tango’ and ‘I Began To Fall Apart’) and multi-layered choral patterns interwoven with immaculate instrumentation of strings and percussion (‘The Sound Of My Own Voice’).
The group’s first live performance took place at FROST festival in Copenhagen in February 2013: a unique double-bill concert with Efterklang, playing on top of a 1400-ton heavy diesel engine. Lead singer Katinka Vindelev has toured the world with Copenhagen’s Efterklang in addition to being in the choir for U.S. luminary singer-songwriter Julia Holter. Furthermore, Vindelev’s solo project of I am now offers an invaluable insight into an incredible talent. Violinist Katrine Elbo has performed with Danish artists Rasmus Seebach, Mew and Sanne Salomonson as well as a host of others (including The Danish National Symphony Orchestra). Percussionist Sara Rosendal has been an integral part to various Danish orchestras like DRUO, DRSO and The Royal Danish Orchestra. Josefine Opsahl (cello) has worked with a wide array of composers, most lately with Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina.
‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is out now on The Being Music.
Interview with We Like We.
Congratulations on the stunning debut album, ‘A New Age of Sensibility’. One of the striking aspects of the debut record is the sheer range of styles and musical traditions; at once it feels a beautifully realized fusion of modern-classical and pop music. Firstly, please discuss the writing process for these musical compositions? I can imagine certain pieces such as ‘The Sound of My Own Voice’ and ‘Tisina’ took quite some time to come to completion?
Sara Nigard Rosendal: Thank you for the kind words. All of our music emerges from a place of curiosity and playfulness. In the making of this album we had long jam-sessions that we recorded. We then listened to these and found some interesting themes or sounds that we tried to develop. We have worked with different dogmas in order to always expand the scale of what each of our instruments can do. None of the music is written down and there is always a touch of improvisation when we play. We like it that way, because it keeps the tracks alive.
Katinka Fogh Vindelev: This album has evolved slowly within a period of 2 years. Creating the music after getting invitations from two different progressive festivals in Copenhagen. Firstly FROST in February 2013 and later same year the experimental Wundergrund Festival. So instead of rushing into a studio, we’ve shaped and composed the music with a live concert mindset so to speak, cutting into the core of what we as a group are capable of playing and wanting to express together.
SNR: ‘Tisina’ means Silence and was an attempt to make a track that dwells on simple phrases and sounds and then create a state of meditation. It became very clear, however, that in the deep of silence there are a few demons as well. This was not something we planned – it just happened. It was not really a hard piece to make, it just requires the right state of mind and a good sense of reacting and communication.
KFV: ‘The Sound Of My Own Voice’ was a more complex composition yes, but as we’re always on the lookout for the essence of our ideas, it slowly revealed itself as repeating patterns slightly out of sync, each instrument representing an individual voice, explaining the title as well ‘The Sound Of My Own Voice’.
In terms of the instrumentation, there are gorgeously crafted arrangements throughout the record, for voice, strings and percussion also. I would love to gain an insight into your classically rooted backgrounds? Each member clearly brings their own unique vision to this special record and clearly, a deep connection is formed between the members.
SNR: We are all studying at the conservatory. Josefine and Katrine (cello,violin) are currently doing their masters at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Katinka (voice) has a BA degree in classical voice and is currently doing her Masters in Electronic Music and Sound Art alongside private singing lessons in Copenhagen and Berlin. I have a BA from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and I am currently studying my masters in the music academy in Malmö, Sweden. We are all very happy to undergo this education. It gives us a high technical level on our instruments that then provides freedom to express ourselves. Having the entire music history as a background when creating music, is extremely helpful.
I would also love for you to recount your memories of forming We Like We? It’s fascinating (and very fitting) that your first live performance took place at a festival in Copenhagen alongside Efterklang in 2013. You all must have fond memories of this particular concert.
KFV: It took us about a year before we met Sara, so We like We was founded by Katrine [Grarup Elbo], Josefine [Opsahl] and I in August 2012 collaborating with an electronic musician, who happened to be my sister. Due to a life changing event, including the birth of my wonderful niece she pulled out shortly after our first concert and We like We continued for a while being a trio. This was an important transition, realizing that we wanted to create all the electronic layers ourselves as a natural expansion of our acoustic instruments instead of having a fourth member with a non classical background effectuating us. One day in the middle of an improvisation session I desperately grabbed a pair of claves and it became crystal clear to everyone in the room, we needed a percussionist. (Haha) Luckily Sara, who was already a friend of Katrine and Josefine’s, had common ideas and courage and joined We like We in the late Summer 2013, completing the band.
SNR: There is definitely a unique chemistry between the four of us. Each of us really needed the platform that We like We is. We all needed to do something more than what we would get from our schools. We wanted to be a part of the initial phase of the creative process – to be more than interpreters.
KFV: Regarding our first concert alongside Efterklang in February 2013, it was of course an extraordinary event for us. It felt like the beginning of something very unique, That night we performed on top of a 1400 ton heavy Diesel engine, wearing handmade costumes, that we designed ourselves and we had even hired a light designer. Liberating, personal and inspiring at the same time. I’ve been touring with Efterklang for a couple of years (singing and playing keys) alongside starting up with We like We back in Copenhagen, so we were already closely connected personally and professionally. Efterklang have curiously followed us from the very beginning, supported us, showing up at our concerts etc. Such an acknowledgement from a band, that is known for taking quite some musically risks themselves, does of course mean a lot to us.
My current favourite must be ‘The Sound Of My Own Voice’. It’s such an utterly captivating composition with intricate string arrangements and stunningly beautiful choral patterns. Please discuss the construction of this particular composition? I wonder did the words and voice parts come first or was it the cello and violin parts? I just love the dynamic, and how the piece gradually unfolds (and blossoms) before your very eyes.
SNR: ‘The Sound of my own Voice’ was supposed to be a strong proclamation of the right to be an individual. In the case of this particular track, the message came before the lyrics and the music. However, we discovered that there is a lot of pain and vulnerability in saying that you only need yourself. It is a battle between individualism and communion… ‘The Sound of my own Voice’ is a track that has had different shapes before the album-version, where we have worked with different melodic patterns played displaced. It becomes a kind of ‘free polyphony’.
I love the sequencing of ‘A New Age of Sensibility’ where several short passages are inter-woven with the more lengthy pieces. For example, ‘I Began To Fall Apart’, despite it being just over one minute in duration, a spectrum of emotion ascends into the forefront of your heart and mind. Was it a conscious decision to include shorter pieces (which also serve wonderfully as interludes) on the album?
SNR: We have thought of the shorter pieces as intermezzi (we mostly use classical terms when talking about music, because that is the language we know). When in the practice room, we would say ‘we need some ginger’ – something to ‘rinse the mouth for new flavours’. It was conscious that some pieces would be short and some long and that some pieces would only involve one or a few of us (‘I’, ‘Wakey Wakey Beast’, ‘Tango’…). We wanted the entire album to be one long narrative but for each track to still tell a story in itself.
The album was mixed in collaboration with sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard. Was there a stage in the music-making process that proved most challenging for you? Also, during the recording sessions themselves, was it a case that happy accidents would occur naturally that would lead to sketches or ideas of a song?
KFV: It was quite an intense but super smooth recording session. 11 tracks in 3 days back in February 2014 at the former National Danish Radio’s epic studios in Copenhagen. Magical almost, suddenly being in a studio, experiencing how we nailed a lot of the tracks in first take. We obviously had common visions. Recording all at once, giving the album this unpolished live touch that I find very compelling.
Having Jacob Kirkegaard on board, was a fine addition to the post-production, as he has such good ears, specialized in mainly unheard sounds. As he is also my partner he and I spent all summer in NYC on an artist in residency programme, working sporadically on the mix from April sending it back and forth across the Atlantic, for the other’s to give feedback. It turned out to be quite a time-consuming and challenging process while our music demands a lot of shaping and balancing, the instruments in between, being super dynamic, consisting of a group of four equally important voices. But it was worth the effort, of course and we wrapped up the final mix by the end of August.
SNR: Working with acoustic instruments alongside a sometimes heavy effectuation can be challenging, or at least it can be time-consuming to get the balance right. There were many magical moments. I remember that the track ‘Unite Me’, we really nailed first take. When we listened to it, right after recording, it was a complete feeling if unified transcendence. We all cried.
‘Anticipation’ conjures up the timeless sound of Steve Reich’s ‘Music For 18 Musicians’ with its sublime rhythmic pulse and compelling arrangements. I would love for you to discuss the various parts to this particular composition.
SNR: We are big fans of Reich so it is nice to be associated with him. ‘Anticipation’ is one of the more energetic pieces on the album and definitely is inspired by minimalistic pulsating rhythm. This helps underline the title as well.
KFV: We wanted to work with an often experienced consequence of anticipation – at least according to us. You are expecting something. You are eager. You are pulsating from excitement. You are narrowing down your experience of what is actually happening, overshadowed by your wishes, your anticipation, instead of staying connected and true to the moment. And suddenly, bang, reality hits you. You are out of breath.
We found it interesting to work with this sort of unexpected collapse. Illustrated by a hectic rhythm suddenly dissolving, breaking down, and turning into a slow tango – out of nowhere. How many times does life actually evolve as anticipated? There is something extremely beautiful about these processes and transformations.
In terms of inspiration and musical influences, please discuss your most cherished composers and artists? Also, what are your earliest musical memories?
SNR: One of the biggest and also early musical memories is listening to Per Nørgårds I Ching (solo percussion) when I was about eleven. That was when I realized what music could really do. Especially the third movement including a kalimba was mesmerizing to me. My earliest memories is of my father playing the guitar, I think.
KFV: I was very much into Chopin as a kid, but who wasn’t? It’s so catchy and soulful at the same time! Now I listen to all sorts of music and sound. I easily get bored when it comes to mainstream music, classical as well as pop/rock, it’s just too predictable. Silence is great though. I just worked with Julia Holter, and I think she is such an interesting composer. I love when artists manage to create catchy music with a twist. That’s a true skill. Who else… Terry Riley, John Cage, Schumann and Kuku Sebsebe.
‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is out now on The Being Music.
Part 8 (and day 17) of our Road Atlas series with Peter Broderick. “(Colours Of The Night) Satellite” is the brand new EP from Peter Broderick, available now via Bella Union.
Words & Photograph: Peter Broderick
First things first . . . the concert in Cork tonight has been postponed! Due to weather conditions, our ferry from the UK to Ireland was cancelled. We’re still hoping to make it to Dublin tomorrow, but unfortunately we won’t be in Cork tonight. I really hope we’ll find a date for rescheduling very soon! In the meantime, we had an amazing show in Manchester last night, and we’re now staying at my friend Bernie’s house. Bernie has been hosting bands that play in Manchester for many many years. My first time staying at her house must have been in 2007 or 2008, with Efterklang. . . . and ever since we’ve become good friends, and I’ve stayed in this house at least 5 or 6 times. Nils Frahm and I even recorded a song in Bernie’s basement once! A cover version of the song “Belle” by Taxi Taxi. As sad as I am that the concert in Cork tonight has been cancelled, we are very much appreciating a day off to rest, and I couldn’t have picked a better place to do that. Here is Bernie’s amazing cat, Sootie, sitting on the kitchen table. Awwwwww.
Peter Broderick’s European tour dates are as follows:
20 Oct Dublin / The Workman’s Club / Ireland
21 Oct Reading / The Bowery District / United Kingdom
22 Oct London / Bush Hall / United Kingdom
23 Oct Gent / Charlatan / Belgium
24 Oct Middelburg / De Spot / Netherlands
25 Oct Zwolle / Let’s Get Lost / Netherlands
26 Oct Utrecht / Ekko / Netherlands
27 Oct Berlin / Roter Salon / Germany
29 Oct Luzern / B-Sides Indoor Festival / Switzerland
31 Oct Soliera / Cinema Teatro Italia / Italy
*05 Nov Cork / Half Moon Theatre / Ireland (rescheduled show/Solo performance)*
“(Colours Of The Night) Satellite” is available now via Bella Union.
For Peter [A Fractured Air Mix]
A selection of music based on (and inspired by) the music of American-born multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Peter Broderick.
To listen on Mixcloud:
01. Peter Broderick ‘A Beginning’ [Erased Tapes]
02. Peter Broderick ‘Walking/Thinking’ [Type]
03. Talk Talk ‘Eden’ [Parlophone]
04. Oliveray ‘The Book She Wrote And In The Time’ [Erased Tapes]
05. Nils Frahm ‘Interview Excerpt, November 2012’ [Fractured Air]
06. Nils Frahm ‘Peter’ [Erased Tapes]
07. Rival Consoles ‘Daddy (feat. Peter Broderick)’ [Erased Tapes]
08. Greg Gives Peter Space ‘The Drive’ [Erased Tapes]
09. Efterklang & The Danish National Chamber Orchestra ‘Mirador’ (Live) [Leaf, Rumraket]
10. Peter Broderick ‘The Path to Recovery’ [Erased Tapes]
11. Lubomyr Melnyk ‘Interview Excerpt, March 2013’ [Fractured Air]
12. Lubomyr Melnyk ‘Pockets Of Light’ (Excerpt) [Erased Tapes]
13. The Album Leaf ‘Never Held a Baby’ (feat. Peter Broderick) [Not On Label]
14. Tiny Vipers ‘Dreamer’ [Sub Pop]
15. Peter Broderick ‘An Ending’ [Erased Tapes]
The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.
Peter Broderick (plus band) with special guest Loch Lomond performs at the Half Moon Theatre, Cork on Sunday 19 October 2014. Tickets are €15, available now from Cork Opera House box office, Emmet Place, Cork and online from the link below.
PURCHASE TICKETS HERE:
For full European tour dates please visit:
Interview with Rasmus Stolberg, Efterklang.
Saturday 15th September 2012. Cork Opera House. The special premiere of Danish band Efterklang’s newest masterwork, ‘Piramida’. A night of true inspiration and divine art. A truly unique musical experience. The trio of Casper Clausen, Rasmus Stolberg and Mads Brauer were joined by the 23-piece orchestra, The Major Lift Orchestra which was conducted by Mathew Coorey. The familiar members of the Efterklang family tree were present, most notably Peter Broderick whose own solo work inhabits similar otherworldly dimensions. The new album ‘Piramida’ sounds familiar in its magnificent beauty yet mysteriously unknown, all at once. The live songs showcased the band’s continued evolving blend of dreamy orchestral pop music. Songs like ‘Black Summer’ was a crystallization of all things Efterklang; the heavenly realm of brass, woodwind and strings orchestrated beneath Casper Clausen’s unique voice and songcraft. A symphony of life long emotion distilled in six minutes. The musicianship on display was awe-inspiring. Back stage, stage left was my primary focus during the night. Peter Broderick, a musician lost in the music, who existed in a realm of his own. His majestic harmonies and passionate persona reflected the special air that permeated the sold-out venue. As the band walked off stage, rapturous applause and gratitude escalated to the rafters, whilst the orchestra remained onstage, dumbfounded. Moments later, the joyous musicians graced the stage. ‘The Ghost’ was performed for a second time.
Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
Saturday 30th July 2011. Savoy Theatre, Cork. The Reich Effect Festival. A celebration of legendary composer Steve Reich for his 75th birthday. The bill: Efterklang And Daniel Bjarnason And Their Messing Orchestra. The seventeen-piece band effortlessly bridged the classical and contemporary worlds. Special guest (and collaborator) Heather Woods Broderick graced the stage with her transcendent folk music. The intimate songs from her ‘From The Ground’ album (‘Wounded Bird’ and ‘Turned’) created magic and stirred souls. The perfect sonic backdrop to Efterklang’s arrival. Current album ‘Magic Chairs’ made up the majority of the set, from the life affirming ‘Modern Drift’ to the atmospheric ‘Mirror Mirror’ (which is still one of my favourite Efterklang songs). The musicians, all seventeen of them, floated into the audience at the night’s end. A symphony of brass sounds and joyous harmonies journeyed around the venue. The band performing alongside the audience. The musicians and audience were one. Efterklang’s music transported us to new horizons as our hearts were filled with that rare inner fulfillingness.
24th September 2012. The release date of ‘Piramida’; Efterklang’s fourth full-length album. The distinctive artwork and design by long-term collaborators Hvass and Hannibal graces the album cover. The uniqueness in design is shared with other luminaries such as Vaughan Oliver (4AD) and Peter Saville (New Order), that is symbolic of the album’s pivotal importance. The core of Efterklang now consist of the trio of Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg. Most importantly, special guests and friends graced the ‘Piramida’ recording sessions; Nils Frahm (piano, wurlitzer), Peter Broderick (violin, piano, vocals), Agnes Obel (vocals), Earl Harvin (Tindersticks, drums) and the 60-piece South Denmark’s Girl’s Choir, among others.
August 2011 was when ‘Piramida’ was born. The band (Mads, Casper and Rasmus) travelled to Spitsbergen in the arctic, where the abandoned Russian settlement Piramida is located. It was left overnight in 1998 and today stands as a ghost town still full of relics from its past including the world’s northernmost grand piano. The band spent nine days in this ruin, just 1000km from the North Pole and collected over a thousand recordings which they used afterwards in different ways in the making of ‘Piramida’. The sounds and inspiration collected from this relic filled ghost town can be heard throughout ‘Piramida’. Lyrically (all songs are written by Caper Clausen), Casper has said the songs are inspired by the cycle of human creations-that being creations like an entire city left to decay in the Arctic or the cycles of our interpersonal relationships in life.
‘Hollow Mountain’ opens ‘Piramida’ and what an opener it is. The song’s initial tones are the sounds of protruding metal spikes of an oil tank which was found in Piramida. The song features Earl Harvin on drums, Nils Frahm on wurlitzer (his albums on the Erased Tapes label are all essential), Peter Broderick (strings) and the 60-piece South Denmark Girl’s Choir. The cinematic intro transports me back to Efterklang’s first full length ‘Springer’ released on the Leaf label, which is filled with sublime electronica and multi-layered ambient sounds. The refrain of “Do it, do it, do it, do operator” are the first words sung by Casper. Percussion and a heavenly symphony of sound builds very nicely, with Broderick’s strings providing the song’s shining spark.
‘Apples’ is polished pop of intense beauty. The song was one of the first songs written for the album after the band’s return from their trip to Piramida. As the band have described, ‘Apples’ is mainly a song about letting go of love in the attempt of finding it again. Every element of Efterklang’s musical palette is tapped into here. Harvin’s warm drums provides the song’s guiding beat. The visionary sound of french horn, trombone blends gorgeously with the compelling tones of programmed synthesizer. The intricate arrangements and superior musicianship of Efterklang’s larger ensemble flourishes on ‘Apples’. Casper sings “To runaway, runaway to this heart/you runaway runaway to the start/you are forgotten” wherein one feels the letting go of love occurring during the music’s ebb and flow. For me, ‘Apples’ represents the band’s natural progression on from ‘Magic Chairs’, where their orchestral pop oeuvre is continuing to evolve. Lyrics like “Another way, another way into your heart” and “All kinds of ways into your garden” beautifully evokes the human heart’s search for love.
Ascending harmonies and rising tones are the first notes on ‘Sedna’. The directness of this ballad for me is simply breathtaking. A beguiling atmospheric soundscape builds throughout. Rasmus’ bassline groove is one of ‘Piramida”s highlights. Peter Broderick’s piano and violin adds to the astral journey. “All living is taking me over/There is a truce in calling for the night”, Casper sings on the chorus that conjures decay and life’s unravelling. The falsetto vocal creates new depths to the new age ballad, recalling the sound of The Antlers. ‘The Ghost’ is the album’s anthem. Similar to ‘Modern Drift’ from ‘Magic Chairs’ or ‘Mirador’ from ‘Parades’, ‘The Ghost’ is laden with irresistible pop hooks and layers of intricate sound. Soul is washed over the sheen of orchestral pop. The chorus refrain of “the ghost the ghost that never was” stays with you long after ‘The Ghost’ comes to completion. Towards the final stages of the song, an eruption of glorious soul takes place. Casper’s falsetto and a combination of harmonies swirl together amidst the full swing of orchestra. ‘Piramida’ is in full fruition here, with shades of Curtis Mayfield such is its uplifting, life affirming soul. Timeless.
‘Black Summer’ is the album’s centrepiece. I think this is their finest creation thus far. The wide dynamic range, from hushed, cinematic tones of keys (what a groove!) to the crescendo of the 60-piece South Denmark Girl’s Choir transcends time. The power and glory of the band’s very essence of sound is to be celebrated on ‘Black Summer’. Brass, woodwind, strings and choir expels darkness. Agnes Obel’s backing vocals casts magic over the dark realm of sound. ‘Black Summer’ belongs to the works of Steve Reich, with its pulse and flow of life and emotion. A full-blown masterpiece. The initial piano notes of ‘Dreams Today’ echoes the otherworldly dimensions of Iceland’s Mum and Sigur Ros. Electronics, piano and xylophone provide the sound clouds for dreams. ‘Dreams Today’ is an electronica gem with masterful production. ‘Between The Walls’ contains uplifting trumpets and saxophone that lifts you in a profound way. The dreamy synth of ‘Monument’ provides a fitting close to ‘Piramida’. The woodwind of flute adds bright colours to the expansive canvas of sound. The spectrum of Brian Eno’s ambient works is explored here, where a 21st century lullaby drifts onto the horizon of the arctic and beyond.
Interview with Rasmus Stolberg
The new film ‘The Ghost Of Piramida’ documents your visit to the former Russian mining town. Describe the influence the place of Piramida had on you please?
Rasmus: It is the kind of place where you can’t help thinking or wondering. You start thinking about mankind and time and nature in broad scales – and afterwards on your own little persona and what exactly you are and why.
It was a big inspiration and also a little sad – I have to admit it is not an uplifting place. You sort of get the feeling that humans are this parasite desperately trying to overtake a magic and dramatic place where we don’t belong -> this forces the question -> where do we belong?? I don’t know. But creating music and making this trip into something special felt good.
The wonderful film ‘An Island’ by Vincent Moon is a beautiful insight into Efterklang and is filled with many inspiring scenes and moments. The last scene takes place at Sønderborg Gymnasium.
The three of you-Rasmus, Casper and Mads; attended this high school in the late 90’s. This is the time and place where you all started playing music together. Can you please recount for me your memories of this special time, where you started playing music together.
Rasmus: I started my first band with Mads when we were in 6th grade. Later we were in different bands sort of competing a little.
Later I started in high school and at the opening party Casper and I decided we should start a band with a drummer, bass player, two guitarists and we felt it was very important to have an organ player as well. We never found the organ player, but we asked Mads to join the band shortly after.
It was a good time and our early adventures developed into the dream of moving to Copenhagen and so we did and this is where Efterklang took its start.
Congratulations on your new album ‘Piramida’. The record is yet another masterpiece full of compelling sounds and intricate details. My personal favourite is ‘Black Summer’ and in fact, it could be my favourite Efterklang song. Can you please discuss the construction of this song and how it came together to become ‘Black Summer’?
Rasmus: It started with that marimbaish sound that sort of loops. Thats a sound we found in Pyramiden on Svalbard. A drumbeat and the piano chords were added and we all agreed there was some magic to this loop. It was about 1 minute long. we couldn’t figure out how to make it into a song however. It was one of the songs we spend the most time on. It almost didn’t make it to the album – today we are really happy that it did!
I was very fortunate to see you perform ‘Piramida’ with the Major Lift Orchestra at the Opera House in Cork. I would love to gain an insight please into the band’s preparation process involved for playing these new songs live with an orchestra on this ‘Piramida’ tour?
Rasmus: It was a project almost as big as the making of the album.
we collaborated with the composers Missy Mazzoli and Karsten Fundal on the arrangements for the orchestra and spent many hours getting those scores to be perfect.
We also engaged Hvass&Hannibal and scenographer Nico de Rooij to create a special set design and visuals.
we were running out of time before the premiere in Sydney Opera House – the weeks leading up to that concert we practically spent every hour awake working on this / rehearsing, changing stuff, scores, visuals etc etc etc
When we finally got on stage in Sydney the work paid off – we were able to actually enjoy playing and we knew our parts even though every single one was completely new. It was such a relief. wow!
‘Piramida’ is out now on 4AD