Sublime simplicity from Berlin Composer Jonas Hain

WIth the almost unlimited sonic possibilities at the fingertips of today’s producers it’s refreshing to hear a composer go back to the basics of strictly expressive instrumentation and emotive musicality. And this is exactly what 27 year old Berlin based composer and pianist does with his recent track MMXV.

Originally written for a director friend’s film project with an imminent deadline, the track was quickly composed in 2015 over a single night of spontaneous creative composition. Afterwards, Jonas still felt that something was missing, so he recorded a synth and added a bassline to serve as the counterpoint to the stark, organic piano arrangement.

Although just a brief 2 and a half minutes long, MMXV serves as an excellent introduction into the music of the young German composer. Emotive piano notes fall like a blanket of fresh snow as the electronic counterpoint provides some synthesized heat. Excellent use of panning as the piano and synth lines communicate back and forth for a memorable lesson in sublime simplicity.

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Ambient dream-time from Germany's BLCKCSTLS

As Brian Eno once said “Ambient Music must be able to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.“

We’d definitely like to think of the ambient music of German producer Georg-Christoph Stadler, aka BLCKCSTLS, as falling in the latter category, being dynamic and intriguing sonic creations deserving the listener’s undivided attention. And while this is certainly true, there is an effortless unobtrusiveness flowing through his productions which also makes them the perfect companion for an evening of studying, relaxing or getting work done.

And this is the real beauty of a good ambient album, appealing to the various layers of a listeners attention without imposing any sort of will upon the observer. Leaving it upto us to decide how closely to listen or how deeply to dive. Allowing the listener to complete other tasks or close their eyes and let the sounds envelope them. This is indeed a unique freedom, rarely afforded by other genres of modern music.

This kind of passive beauty can be witnessed in Stadler’s recent EP entitled ‘Secorder’. The album description reads “A quick and unmastered EP made on a cold Autumn evening to shorten the wait for Notes from the Dust.” Although only running about 15 minutes in length, the uncluttered and spontaneous EP gives us a good taste of things to come from the rising ambient composer.

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Tape-tinged techno from audio/visual creative- Daniel Brandt

London / Berlin based filmmaker, composer, and musician- Daniel Brandt, is set to release his second full length solo album ‘Channels’ on October 12th via London imprint- Erased Tapes. As co-founder of the infamous ‘Brandt Brauer Frick’ trio which has been dubbed by the BBC as “concert hall compositions for the clubbing generation”, Brandt is no stranger to intricate and impeccably executed studio productions and live music performances. As both a filmmaker and musician, this multi-disciplinary creative approach ensures an inventive and original artistic output where boundaries are blurred and inspiration spontaneous.

Take the most immersive, club-ready track ‘Sailboats III’ from the album for example. As Brandt explains:

“The song is named after a painting by Roy Lichtenstein which is not one of his typical ones but rather a kind of abstract cubist painting of sailboats on the sea. I wanted to make a song that feels like an electrified sailing voyage and tried to imitate the feeling of this imagined trip.”

This type of cross-disciplinary creative communication is a common thread throughout the album, with many of the tracks referencing rich visual palettes. The blossoming cosmos of ‘Cherry Dream’ is informed by Tangerine Dream’s iconic soundtrack to the film Risky Business, a compelling reinterpretation of Love On A Real Train replete with darker, electronic elements and live orchestration. ‘Daze’, co-written with guitarist Pascal Bideau, chimes with an acoustic melody and is carried by a rhythmic percussive pulse, whilst the understated ‘Ltd’ was stylistically inspired by Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint.

As we can see the album draws from a variety of sources and creative ideas, but still manages to remain original and organic, with an almost effortless spontaneity to it. Perhaps Lichtenstein said it best when he stated “Art doesn't transform. It just plain forms”.

Pre-order ‘Channels’ over on the Erased Tapes Bandcamp

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Idm-tinged ambient-techno from German duo 'qrauer'

Creating a variety of left leaning electronica, from micro house to ambient techno, Christian Grochau and Ludwig Bauer aka qrauer are a breath of fresh air in the often formulaic world of modern dance music. With a 4/4 framework driving their tracks, the duo’s productions are heavy on lush sound design and sonic experimentation while remaining reined in enough to sit comfortably within an eclectic DJ set.

With both Christian and Ludwig coming from strong musical backgrounds, Christian being a virtuosic percussionist and Ludwig being a skilled pianist, composer and multi-instrumentalist, the two are able to find the perfect balance between danceable musicality and genre pushing electronic aesthetics.

Their debut EP ‘Aracus’ fully harnesses the duo’s creative powers and concentrates them into 4 tracks of organic sidewinder rhythms and awe-inspiring moments of cinematic brilliance. Brokebone is the concluding track of the album, with an off-kilter chorus of impressively honed percussive elements and richly coloured brutish leads, the track wraps up the EP nicely while leaving us hungry for the next sonic ‘tour de force’ from the ingenious German duo.

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Indie Electronica from Hamburg's Lukas Oppenheimer

Lukas Oppenheimer is a musician originally from Hamburg, Germany currently studying computer science and making music on the side in Berlin. Growing up with an American mother and German father gave Lukas a unique cultural perspective from a very young age. Whether it be his open-minded approach to music or travel, his family upbringing exposed him to both European and American walks of life. 

Throughout his youth, Lukas always enjoyed playing instruments and experimenting with music. Whether it was bass, guitar, drums or old synths, Oppenheimer naturally took to being creative with sound. But it wasn't until he was 11 and got a copy of FL Studio that he began down the path of an electronic music producer.

Starting out making unconventional music and sound experiments, it was more the process of creating than the result that intrigued Lukas. To this day he carries that same kind of curiosity and creative energy, often incorporating new outboard gear and workflow into his production setup.

'Never Thought' certainly contains this creative spirit and unique, inquisitive approach.  The track is a 6 minute sonic adventure, progressing through experimental atmospheres, deep rhythms and emotional keys. 

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Lush Lofi from Misc. Inc and Leavv

Based in Dresden, Germany Misc. Inc creates dreamy, chilled out soundscapes perfect for studying, reflecting or relaxing. Starting out making beats in 2012, the young producer took cues from some of his favourite lofi artists such as bsd.u, Tycho, and Jinsang. Now, 6 years later, Misc displays a complexity and confidence in his music well beyond his years. 

The Misc. Inc sound combines organic, soulful elements with crisp sound design and groove-infused, infectious beats. Never one to settle within a comfortable niche, Marc is always striving to improve his sound and broaden his horizons. This pursuit often leads him to new, exciting collaborations resulting in music that is more than the sum of its parts. 

His Oblivion EP is a great example of this collaborative approach. Joined by fellow countryman, Leavv, the 2-track release features dusty chords, soothing rhythms and organic atmospheres. 

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