FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Katinka Fogh Vindelev

Track Premiere: We Like We ‘Someone told me I was Paradise for you’

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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.

Single Cover Forside

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

https://www.facebook.com/WeLikeWe/

Chosen One: Nils Frahm

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

“In many ways I feel like I am slowly starting to realize why I am here and what my role is.”

—Nils Frahm

Words: Mark Carry

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In the Author’s Introduction to “Writings about Music” (1974), American composer Steve Reich wrote, “You want to hear music that moves you, and if you don’t, then you’re not really very curious to find out how it was put together. The truth is, musical intuition is at the rock bottom level of everything I’ve ever done.” Reading these inspired words from one of contemporary music’s true voices of wisdom, I felt this musical statement resonated powerfully for another vital voice in today’s musical landscape: namely Berlin-based pianist, composer and sound sculptor, Nils Frahm.

Across a rich body of work – ranging from delicately beautiful solo piano works and intricately layered ambient soundscapes to otherworldly synthesizer-based compositions where synthetic and organic worlds are often blurred and re-aligned – the German composer has continually pushed the sonic envelope that has served to, in turn, expand our own thoughts on the art of sound’s endless possibilities. From 2013’s live document ‘Spaces’ to this year’s infinitely beautiful and deeply personal solo piano work, ‘Solo’ and the soon-to-be-released debut film score, ‘Music For The Motion Score Victoria’ (directed by Sebastian Schipper), an unfolding aesthetic development shimmers majestically amidst the sound waves like a dazzling sunlit sea or the dawning day’s first pockets of light. Transcendence abounds and we, the devoted listener, are eternally grateful for this simple truth.

A piece of music such as ‘Them’ (taken from the score to ‘Victoria’) possesses the innate power to move you in a profound way. Frahm’s tender and exquisite piano patterns coalesce effortlessly with Anne Müller’s equally poignant and heart-wrenching strings to create a stunningly beautiful and enlightening musical journey.

Similarly, this year’s ‘Solo’ record carves a deeply affecting and captivating experience that ceaselessly traverses the human space. Recorded in four days, the Klavins M370 (the piano instrument spanning 3.7 metres in height that was built by Frahm’s close collaborator and friend, David Klavins) would serve the German composer’s sprawling canvas of enchanting sound. I feel the essence of ‘Solo’ becomes the sacred moment between Frahm and his trusted piano instrument; the 370 model providing an entirely new spectrum of colours and textures for the gifted composer to explore. Furthermore, a lyric penned by label-mate Peter Broderick – contained on the dazzling ‘Pockets Of Light’ piano-based composition by Lubomyr Melnyk – encapsulates the highly emotive and spiritual dimension that ‘Solo’ inhabits:

from the hammers to the ears
we invite our fears
to sing outside
little spaces turn wide

From the opening angelic tones of ‘Ode’ to the engulfing ripples of ‘Four Hands’ on the album’s fitting close, ‘Solo’ indeed invites our fears which ultimately invites the audience to bring their own emotional life to it. The album’s penultimate track – and longest cut – ‘Immerse!’ is a tour-de-force of striking intimacy that conjures up the mystical and sacred sounds cast by Keith Jarrett’s legendary 1975 Köln concert. A timeless sound is effortlessly unleashed by Frahm, when mere moments previously, the hypnotic, pulsating notes of ‘Wall’ radiates like pulses of the human heart.

 


 

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‘Solo’ is available now on Erased Tapes Records while ‘Music For The Motion Score Victoria’ will be available on 15 June, also via Erased Tapes Records.

http://www.nilsfrahm.com/
http://www.erasedtapes.com/

Interview with Nils Frahm.

Congratulations on the new ‘Solo’ album, Nils. It’s a really incredible album.

Nils Frahm: Thank you so much. I’m happy you like it; that means a lot.

You spent just four days recording ‘Solo’?

NF: Yes, we were recording for four days with the piano. It was one session and then I mixed and compiled everything. It was last summer I think, I had it finished for quite some time and waited a little bit to see if it stayed being good.

I love how there’s little traits inside the pieces of music that you feel some may belong to ‘Felt’, some feel more like ‘Screws’ where there are elements of certain pieces that go back to a certain time.

NF: Yeah, I revisited some of my ideas and made new ideas out of them and some songs were inspired by others which I hadn’t really put out yet and some are completely new songs. It was really about the sound of the piano and this kind of sacred moment with this instrument which is really special.

I’d love for you to discuss that particular instrument. I saw some lovely videos of the Klavins 370 model and the stairs you go up. It must have been wonderful to play it.

NF: Yeah [laughs]. It’s quite a way up! Once you are up, you just start to play it before you go down again. It’s different with a normal piano where you can just get up and walk away again. But when you walk up there, you are up and then you play and it already makes it special like that.

It was timed so well to release the new album with Piano Day and what a beautiful idea and concept this celebration is. It’s amazing that nobody has thought of it before.  

NF: Sometimes you are lucky when you have a little idea and then you know you can actually make it happen. And when I found out that there was no particular Piano Day declared at any point, I thought let’s give it a try. It’s almost not necessary because the piano is very popular in the moment but I simply wanted to make an occasion for people to finish their piano work, for example and share them and give people some kind of deadline to work on some of the piano projects and to share them with us. And I think it’s always helpful for people to have a certain goal and once we announced it people were getting creative and they shared all their songs with us and we had the soundcloud playlist, which was wonderful to listen to and it’s really exciting that some of these people who usually don’t get much attention and then all of a sudden get some attention and some new fans. I think it helps people who don’t have so much experience in trusting their work yet to get more profoundly enthusiastic and interested in their own work.

And for me, it was simply good to have an occasion where you could make a present because when you have a holiday it’s usually connected to the idea of making presents and I wanted to give the album away for free because that just works in general. I think it’s a good idea to make people download it from the source and if they want to donate they can. A lot of people just download the mp3 that’s inside the record anyway and come to the concerts. It was just like a silly little idea to give the present a specific reason and on the other hand I wanted to make people do the same; to share their own piano-based work with all of us and give it away for free and make it accessible. So in general, I like this project where there is a give and take and a nice trade of ideas and all that pays back on all kinds of other levels, I think.

Oh yes, of course. Like you say too Nils, I loved how during that week or two, there was so many wonderful new tracks surfacing. It made me think also how over the last ten years or so – and if you just think of this short space of time – there’s been so much amazing music, based on the piano and in this neo-classical realm. It’s been a wonderful few years for music.

NF: Oh yeah, of course, of course. We are familiar now with the whole thing. If I had done this earlier it would have been too early and maybe in the future, I’m interested in other things. So it was just the right moment to make this album accessible and also play a little bit with the whole conception of releasing albums like artists release albums every one or two years and there is a review and an add to cart button and then you feel like you should compare the record to some other record. Usually people do that very fast because their minds are conditioned in that kind of almost judgemental way. There is a Beatles discussion like ‘Oh which is your favourite album?’ and well you know I am happy that all of them are there and the same with other big bands and influential bands like let’s say ‘Oh what’s your favourite song of Radiohead?’ I never liked these questions; it’s almost like ‘What’s your favourite kind of wine?’ I love wine because there are so many different kinds and I love artists who start a little bit from scratch on each project they are doing and make it not just another record and another record in the same fashion so people feel very intrigued to compare them but to give each record a strong identity, a strong idea and of course from music which is most important in the end but also to make these records exist under their own standards. So I only heard one comment so far where somebody said ‘Oh I likeSpacesbetter’ and all the other comments were not about that which is so fantastic.

It’s really hard to compare ‘Solo’ with a record like ‘Spaces’, they were completely different musical projects for me and there were different parameters and I like how the people when I release a record like this with a story and with identity and a kind of conception then people start to see there is a new idea. And it’s almost unnecessary to give this record any rating because people can listen to it in five minutes and just press the download button, they listen to it themselves and since you’re not urged to buy it or not pushed to buy it you don’t really need people to review it. And it makes the buying decision easier because there is no buying decision. So on different levels we were trying to also play with the whole marketing concepts and the old path of music distribution and I really enjoy all these elements in the reviews and write-ups which is not so much about the music but it’s obviously a wonderful piano record which I agree, I like it myself otherwise I wouldn’t have released it but on the other hand, there is so much else to say and that is the stuff where it is good to write about it.

It’s really difficult to write about music sometimes and to describe every piece and to just describe a record in words which is really difficult but it’s quite nice to give to people who want to write about this some meaningful context to work with like Piano Day or the whole 450 Piano building idea. These are stories which are easy to write about and also good to write about and the actual music should just be listened to, it’s a very personal record and I would be very disappointed if people would rip it apart for any reason because for me it’s one of the most personal things I’ve ever done and the most radically me sounding thing, just a record that I did for myself and that’s also the reason why it had to be free because I don’t want to sell myself.

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I love how ‘Solo’ begins with the track ‘Ode’ and the slow, meditative chords that feels like the perfect opening piece.

NF: Yeah, this is more elegant and grown up sounding than some of my other stuff which is a little bit more romantic or harder to listen to or something.

With a song like ‘Immerse’ – the album’s wonderful penultimate track – I wonder did it blossom over a long period of time?  

NF: Yeah that’s the personal stuff that I was taking about. For me that song is a song which is just in me which I will play in different versions all my life. Sometimes you know this already and sometimes you just make different versions of one song and this is a very important song for me. This song is basically my dialogue with the world and living and the reflection – like the most broad reflection – of what resonates with me and this song had to be on there, this song is the centerpiece and it comes in the end because it sounds heavy and I want people to be relaxed when they experience this song.

And I love how ‘Wall’ comes just before it. There is a wonderfully cathartic feel to the piece and how it builds and builds and how it works and goes into a song like ‘Immerse’.

NF: Yeah, for me the playlist or sequencing of the record was where I spent most time with experimenting because it wasn’t really obvious which order was the best one and so I had a lot of versions – like eight different versions that I was listening to for some time and changing things – and in the end when I heard the version you know now this was really meaningful in some way, when you have to decide A of the vinyl being really quiet and B is overflowing and in many ways it was a lucky choice to make the sequencing like this. For instance even Robert [Rath] from Erased Tapes, he helped me with the last final tweaks and he said ‘Oh I think this song should be first’ and so he put ‘Ode’ in the very beginning which knocks on your door and says ‘Hello, here I am’ and so it’s beautiful in that kind of way.

It’s very interesting too what you say Nils about giving the music for free – and something similar to ‘Screws’ – but it works so well because the physical ownership of the album counts for so much too and to have the beautiful artwork so it only comes natural that fans would seek this out as it’s not enough to have it just as a download.

NF: Yeah I mean this is what we trust the fans in and this gives us an advantage because we don’t try to prevent crime like illegal downloading and all this energy that you would put into preventing leakage and having music being converted to bad mp3 quality and be put on a server or something. This you can only avoid if you just do it yourself with your way and of course we spend so much money on special paper artworks and all these things that people want to have one of my records and feel like ‘oh this is a collectible item’ and most of all I trust that this record – and I hope all my records – are records which you don’t want to sell after five or six or seven years. I mean there is a lot of music which you totally have to say goodbye to after a while because maybe they’re dated. I mean imagine if you’re a drum ‘n’ bass DJ and you have all these early kind of cheesy drum bass records and you really don’t have any parties to play at and what do you do with it? Maybe you have to throw them all away at some point and you feel like you shouldn’t buy that many vinyl records when I’m not sure I will spend time listening to them. But why I am confident that people will buy the record is that we are trying hard to make it a product which lasts, which is sustainable and which is also interesting after a couple of years and maybe even more interesting. So hopefully that makes sense in the conception of giving things away for free on one hand and on the other hand, trusting the people who actually want the physical item because they may want to give it to their kids at some point or something.

As time goes on and you pass the point when a particular record was released, memories and music are always intertwined as well and saying that, you can get new meaning and perspectives from any of your previous albums any time where there is always something new from an album like ‘The Bells’ for example even though it’s one of your early albums.

NF: Yeah exactly. Since ‘Wintermusik’ and ‘The Bells’ and my solo records, I imagine they will all age gracefully . . . hopefully [laughs].

I must ask you about the Klavins 450 instrument that is being made at the moment. It’s an amazing venture and creation in itself. I would love for you to discuss the collaboration between yourself and David Klavins?

NF: David is of course important in this whole release and the future, and the next couple of years. I just love him as a person and he is very, very wonderful and I would even say a wise man, fun to be with and really great to talk to and most importantly he’s a fantastic and talented engineer who is absolutely fearless of challenge and fearless of failure. He reminds me of myself in many ways, I think it’s a mutual thing and we fell in love with each other [laughs] in some way.

So he built this Una Corda piano for me – a small piano which I will be bringing on tour – which was the first project we worked on together. And since it was a full success I didn’t have any doubt that we should try a bigger project. And of course the 450 is almost too big of a project – and I would say it is too big of a project – and I think this is also why nobody would really invest in it or nobody had the balls to do it. Since I know the prototype, the 370 and love it to pieces and I imagine the recording of ‘Solo’ proved that it’s a wonderful sounding instrument with quality no other piano really has. I thought it would be a shame if we missed this opportunity to realize this piano because on the time there is a limit, David is already sixty-two and of course in ten years, he’s not sure if he could make a big project like this and for him time is running out as well and I felt like OK maybe I’m the crazy one who has to make it happen because I can’t imagine anyone else putting the money on the table and realizing it. So in the end I was the one who had the infrastructure to realize the project and do also certain part of marketing.

I always love to talk about things I really, really want to support and this is something I truly, fully believe in. The conceptualization of long, long piano strings is a very good idea and we’ll find a very beautiful and humble economical way of making this big piano happen and everything on the piano will be for the sake of sound. It won’t have any compromises that all other pianos will have and I feel like it’s striding for something like a completion in some way and I feel like if I want to take care of the piano while I’m here, it would be that one. I need to take responsibility for the financial part, I have two years now to make all the money for it and most of it I probably have to pay out of my own pocket but if it’s done I would really like to find a room for it and build a studio around it, to make wonderful recordings and have as many people get access to that and make it part of piano festivals so people can experience it and after I’m gone, I want to donate the piano to someone or some better cause like a wonderful institution maybe or museum or whatnot but it should definitely belong to the public and as long as I’m here, I will take care of it and make sure a lot of people will have fun with it.

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That’s the beautiful thing too Nils with a project like this and how it’s being promoted, it feels like all the fans have their own part in it too.

NF: Yeah this is my idea of group effort. Nobody has so much money to buy it themselves and if they have too much money, they should give it to people who don’t have so much. If I would be able to pay this right away with no questions asked out of my pocket, I would wonder that something is wrong because this is too big for one person and this is a shad effort. Basically something that is owned by humanity let’s say, I mean when people started building big bridges and they started building the Eiffel tower or let’s say they built a big planetarium with a monster telescope which are bigger than anything before; there always had to be one crazy person who had to believe in it so much to make it happen and I like that idea in that respect. In this project I’m the crazy one who tries to convince everyone else, let’s make it happen, let’s make it happen. So far, it looks like people get the point which is a big relief and also great to see.

It’s cool too Nils it reminds me of those stories of people with synthesizers some decades ago and how they would collect all these parts and how it would take up a huge room or even a house.

NF: Yeah, yeah and they were expensive already and of course someone had to believe in it so much to just reach out for something unknown and uncertain risking that it could be total failure or maybe actually totally amazing and I totally love that look to gamble in that way and just imagining something, believing in it, seeing that it’s purposeful and makes sense and then start to invest in it.

In many ways I feel like I am slowly starting to realize why I am here and what my role is. For others also, not just to play the piano, make concerts and make records but also to act in a way that people may imagine, Oh I would like to do something like this or I want to lose my mind as well [laughs]. I just want to work on something fun and crazy like this and just to inspire people who you just can’t lose, you just risk things and with a lot of risk there is a big reward waiting and with the whole campaign I feel once again, this is more than just making piano music at the moment and I really like the direction that it takes.

I also want to go in the direction where I think of more instruments that I want to build and find people who can help me do this. Starting from scratch and believe that even something like a Steinway could be different or beautiful or better. This is something where we as a society has lost a little bit of belief because at the moment we are thinking back too much, we are looking back to the old days, we all want to have an old record player, we want to have an old hi-fi system or an old lamp; mostly old because things back then were often better. It is no secret anymore and a lot of people know this already and we need to start to think about how we want to change this. And my little contribution is to make a piano that we believe is the best piano in the world and it doesn’t have to be old, it’s new. What we are doing now because we want to believe that we can make things better than they were and this is giving me a lot of hope and a lot of strength and I can only recommend believing and imagining that what we are doing now can be better than let’s say our father’s and mother’s and grandfather’s and grandmother’s.

Have you had any other breakthroughs or discoveries with any of the other concepts in your mind and working in your studio?

NF: The studio is a little bit abandoned because I am in the rehearsal room right now and my rehearsal room is full with my new instruments like this organ I was building and some mellotron. I don’t know if you know this instrument but it’s a tape for each note like thirty-five keys and each key activates a little tape running inside and I recorded my own sample banks for these three sounds, from Anne Müller on cello, Katinka Fogh Vindelev – the singer from Efterklang on the choir sound – and Ruth Velten on saxophone, so three wonderful girls played their beautiful instruments and I recorded them on tape and made a mellotron out of it. And then there’s the pipe organ which has fifty-six reed pipes like a proper church organ but mobile so you can bring it on tour and then there is a lot more new instruments that we are making new works and making new sounds.

I feel like I’m just starting now. I feel like I’m fully developed now [laughs] and now I really get the results I was always going for and looking for. It is a beautiful experience and 2015 is already a really good year and promising and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun.

It’s very exciting to hear of all these extra new instruments and sounds. It feels like you have this complete canvas to work from and no limit to the scope of your projects.

NF: Yeah there are totally different colours to work with, almost like you worked in black and white before and now you have blue, red and green and it gives you so many new pictures to paint with that, it’s fantastic. And I’m only just exploring and this also what I love about the tour is that it’s also crazy because you have all these old instruments which are old and fragile and could break on the tour so I have to bring technicians to repair them and we have to make a crazy production plan to make the show happen and this is already so demanding and a little too far. But on the other hand, I’m making music which is not released yet but I’m making the tour so I get better at these songs. I will start in Copenhagen with the first show, the first will be more like trying and looking and probably also making more failures but also really giving everything to make it work and to have a lot of charm and character. And in the end after six weeks of playing it every day, I will slowly refine my ideas and when I come home, I have the rest of the year off to make a record out of these new experiences and so I will have a lot of time to practice before I go to the studio and I think this way makes much more sense than making the record first and then going on tour.

It’s like that classic way of testing out new songs and the idea of road testing the new material.

NF: Exactly like you would make a small club tour first, then make the record and then you play the big rooms. [laughs] I wish I had a small club tour first but unfortunately I’m playing the big rooms [laughs] from the very beginning. So it will be an absolutely unpredictable experience and I’m very curious.

But I think that’s fundamentally the most inspiring part. As you mention the unpredictability, but for any live performance, I feel the audience reacts completely when you know it’s something that’s very much there in the moment as opposed to just someone going through the motions.

NF: Yes, I think that too.

I wonder if you had time to listen to any new records in the last while?

NF: Not really I must admit since I’m in this creative phase, I’ve stopped listening to music really. I just want to be in this bubble. In the car, I listen to talk radio and when I’m home I’m not listening to anything. It can be very irritating to be listening to too much music when you’re trying to hear your own songs but what I just got from a friend is ninety unreleased Boards of Canada tracks which I didn’t have. They don’t say if they really did it or not but you obviously hear it and I’m such a big fan of theirs. When I listen to something at the moment I’m listening to a big, big pool of great little songs.

 

 


 

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‘Solo’ is available now on Erased Tapes Records while ‘Music For The Motion Score Victoria’ will be available on 15 June, also via Erased Tapes Records.

http://www.nilsfrahm.com/
http://www.erasedtapes.com/

 

Fractured Air 34: In This Place (A Mixtape by We Like We)

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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.

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Fractured Air 34: In This Place (A Mixtape by We Like We)

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-34-in-this-place-a-mixtape-by-we-like-we/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony #5, 4th Movement, Adagietto, Sehr Langsam (with The Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle) [EMI Classics]
02. Jordi Savall ‘Ductia’ [Astrée Auvidis]
03. Ligeti György ‘Hungarian Rock’, Barrel organ performed by Pierre Charial [Sony Classical]
04. Joni Mitchell ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’ [Reprise]
05. Martin Lohse ‘In Liquid’ 1. movement [Dacapo]
06. Feist ‘The Bad in Each Other’ [Arts & Crafts]
07. Marius Neset ‘Birds’ [The ACT Company]
08. Dmitri Shostakovich ‘Song of Ophelia’ from Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok Op. 127
09. Stravinsky ‘Concertino for String Quartet’ [Sony Classical]
10. Per Nørgård ‘The Gentle, The Penetrating’ from I Ching [BIS]
11. Julia Holter ‘City Appearing’ [Domino]
12. Hans Abrahamsen ‘Schnee, Canon 2a: ‘Lustig spielend, aber nicht zu lustig, immer ein bisschen melankolisch’ [Winter & Winter]
13. Quadron ‘Jeans’ [Plug Research]
14. Leonard Cohen ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ [Columbia]
15. Maurice Ravel ‘La Valse’ [Columbia Masterworks]
16. Tenniscoats ‘End Of The Day, Slight Hunger’ [Room40]
17. Maria Callas ‘Tu Che Di Gel Sei Cinta’ (Turandot) [EMI, Columbia]
18. Franz Schubert ‘String Quintet in C Major’ D. 956, 2nd Movement, Adagio [Deutsche Grammophon]
19. Kuku Sebsebe ‘Feqreh Beretabenye’
20. Tys Tys ‘In This Place’ [Loretta Records]
21. Isao Tomita ‘Clair De Lune No. 3’ [RCA]

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.

 


 

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‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is out now on The Being Music.

http://welikewe.com/
http://thebeingmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Written by admin

March 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Step Right Up: We Like We

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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

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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.

http://welikewe.com/
http://thebeingmusic.bandcamp.com/

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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.


 

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A New Age of Sensibility’ is out now on The Being Music.

http://welikewe.com/
http://thebeingmusic.bandcamp.com/

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