20 jun
2014

Spine of Man

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Spine of Man er nyt band på den køben­havn­ske scene. Og så dog, for vi har egent­lig at gøre med en reinkar­na­tion af ban­det Le Clé. Hvor Le Clé var lidt af et par­ty­band med ener­gi­ske, ube­kym­rede uptempo sange i kyd­se­fel­tet mel­lem pop, rock og disco er Spine Of Man en væsent­ligt ander­le­des efter­tænk­som og alvor­lig størrelse.

Spine Of Man har et klart pro­jekt med deres musik — nem­lig at under­søge det eksi­sten­ti­elle tom­rum, som den moderne mand fin­der sig selv i og for­svare man­dens ret til at græde og være sår­bare og skrø­be­lige. I selve nav­net “Spine of Man” har ban­det ind­lej­ret et bud­skab om, at man­dens rygrad, i mod­sæt­ning til hvad nuti­dens domi­ne­rende man­de­bil­lede dik­te­rer, netop kon­sti­tu­e­res af hans evne til at være til stede i sine følel­ser og vise dem frem. Spine of Man for­sø­ger i den for­stand at gøre op med myten om, at mænd der viser følel­ser ikke har nogen rygrad.

Som ban­det udta­ler i deres pressemeddelelse:

“Dan­ske mænd går sta­dig rundt og hol­der deres fru­stra­tio­ner og følel­ser inde bag sko­v­mands­skæg og skarpe side-cuts. De må ikke vise svag­heds­tegn. Det har de aldrig måtte. De skal frem­stå stærke og fulde af kon­trol. Men Spine of Man synes det er på tide at få udryd­det denne illusion. Mænd har ondt, mænd græ­der, mænd lig­ger i foster­stil­ling på bade­væ­rel­set efter kvin­den i deres liv smæk­ker døren bag dem. Mænd lider kort sagt, og hvor­for må de ikke vise det?”

Ind­til videre har ban­det to sange ude, der cirk­ler om livets svære følel­ser. Hvor ban­dets efter­tænk­somme før­ste single Ceme­tery udtryk­ker følel­sen af tom­hed efter et brud samt kær­lig­he­dens menings­løs­hed, er Sad Story mere upbeat og opti­mi­stisk i tonen i kraft af især gui­ta­ren, men tek­stu­ni­ver­set kred­ser dog sta­digt om noget så tungt som livets forgængelighed.

Lydæ­ste­tisk er Spine of Man inspi­re­ret af bl.a. Fleetwood Mac og Bruce Springs­teen. Smer­ten og den blø­de­nde maskuli­ni­tet for­nem­mes kon­stant i den lidende vokale leve­ring. Det fun­ge­rer godt på disse to sange, men jeg er dog lidt bekym­ret for, om det kan blive for patos­fyldt på et helt album. På den anden side er jeg ikke bekym­ret for ban­dets evne til at skabe gode melo­dier! Det bli­ver spæn­dende at følge Spine Of Man fremover!

Spine of Man — Cemetery

 

Spine of Man - Sad Story

 

Spine of Man | Facebook

15 jun
2014

Guldkorn maj 2014

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Artwork: http://penabranca.tumblr.com/

Der er så sinds­sygt meget fedt musik der­ude, jeg gerne vil dele med jer. Aller­helst ville jeg gerne knytte en fortjent kom­men­tar til hver kunst­ner eller track, men pga. tids­nød, er det desværre ikke muligt. Jeg er kun én mand og den gode musik strøm­mer ind endeløst.

Der­for er Guld­korns­se­rien et til­tag på Musik Mig Blidt, hvor jeg prø­ver at samle op på de stær­ke­ste styk­ker musik, jeg har opda­get i den for­gangne måned. Al den musik hvor det ville være en skam, hvis det gik din næse forbi — guld­korn. Meget af det er spl­in­ter­nyt, en del er næsen nyt og noget er lidt ældre, men med en for­mod­ning om, at det med god sand­syn­lig­hed alli­ge­vel ikke er noget, du ken­der (god musik bli­ver som bekendt aldrig for gammelt).

Det fede ved soundcloud­p­lat­for­men er, at det tit er ste­det hvor kunst­nere og pla­de­sel­ska­ber læg­ger musik op før det får en offi­ciel udgi­velse. I andre til­fælde er der tale om numre, der aldrig får en offi­ciel udgivelse.

Her føl­ger — lidt for­sin­ket, stør­ste­delen af de numre, der har gjort størst ind­tryk på mig i løbet af maj måned.

Som sæd­van­lig skal udval­get af dan­ske kunst­nere frem­hæ­ves. Du fin­der såle­des på listen Chorus Grant, Rosent­hal, Flag White/Bjøn Ala­e­xan­der, Asb­jørn, The Divers, Sweet Tem­pest og Míl­ford. Alle navne du bør dykke læn­gere ned i, hvis du ikke alle­rede har stif­tet bekendt­skab med dem.

 

Tra­ck­li­ste:

1. Death Ves­sel — Mercury Dime
2. SALES — Vow
3. Wye Oak — Glory
4. Chorus Grant — God­plans
5. Spook­yland — The Silly Fuck­ing Thing
6. Alice Boman — Over
7. Lydia Ain­sworth — White Sha­dows
8. John Hopkins – We Dis­ap­pear feat. Lulu James
9. Low Roar — I’m Leaving
10. White Flag/Bjoernalexander — Intet & Vae­ren // Mor­far & Mor­mor
11. Karl Len­nar — Tra­des (Ori­gi­nal Mix)
12. Dream Koala — Earth
13. Sweet Tem­pest — Snow
14. Out­si­des — Just Curious
15. Deru — 1979
16. Ben Khan — Youth
17. Asb­jørn — Skywal­ker
18. Son Lux & BOOTS — Troub­led World
19. The Divers — Dia­mond Dust
20. Hydro­gen Sea — End Up
21. Míl­ford — Skin & Bones
22. French For Rab­bits — The Other Side
23. Pooma — Under the Trees
24. TV On The Radio — Will Do (Avec Sans Cover)
25. Atom Tree — Die For Your Love
26. Baths — Fade White
27. Sch­merz im Herz — Dan­cer
28. YUME — Affection (ft. Chvr­ches) (Gold Wvlf Boot­leg)
29. YUME — Affection
30. Rosent­hal — Afraid of Stairs
31. Hey Elbow — Blanca
32. Noosa — Walk On By
33. Dawn Gol­den — I Won’t Bend
34. JJ — All White Everything

30 maj
2014

Nils Frahm interview, part 2 — Latter i Mørket (Laughter in the Dark)

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Her føl­ger anden del af mit inter­view med Nils Frahm i for­bin­delse med hans invol­ve­ring i Hotel Pro For­mas tea­ter­for­stil­ling Lat­ter i Mør­ket, der kørte fra den 3.-24. maj. Nils Frahm kom­po­ne­rede musik­ken og spil­lede live til samt­lige forestillinger.

I denne anden del kan du bl.a. finde ud af, hvad det er ved gamle musikin­stru­men­ter Nils Frahm godt kan lide, hvor­dan han kom­po­ne­rede musik­ken til fore­stil­lin­gen,  hvor­for han godt kan lide at musik ikke er “per­fekt”, og om han kunne finde på at bruge en san­ger eller san­ge­r­inde i sin musik? Og så kan du blive klo­gere på hvad Nils Frahm har af fremtidsplaner!

Jeg har pla­ce­ret nogle numre fra Nils Fra­hms sene­ste fan­ta­sti­ske album Spa­ces under­vejs i inter­viewet, som du kan lytte til, mens du læser.


 

Nils Frahm inter­view, part 2

(read part 1 of the inter­view here)

I know that you like old instru­ments. Can you ela­bo­rate on that? 

Yeah it’s almost cli­ché to like old stuff nowa­days. It’s part of the hip­ster cul­ture. But I’ve always been that way, even when I was very young. I didn’t feel that the new synt­he­sizers I could buy 10–15 years ago in a store soun­ded good. But the synt­he­sizers they build in the 1970’s soun­ded really ama­zing! I was lucky because 15 years ago the old stuff was really cheap since people always wan­ted the new stuff. So that was great! I could have the cheap old “shit” they didn’t want any­more! Now it is inver­ted. A high end Zoom recor­der doesn’t cost much while you pay way more for an old recor­ding tape machine. So there has been an inver­sion of mentality.

The times were more naive 40–60 years ago. The com­pa­nies actu­ally wan­ted to put out a pro­duct that was supe­rior, lasted long and made the cust­o­mers happy. The old stuff is sim­ply build bet­ter. Today they don’t care that people get annoyed that it bre­aks after the war­ranty expi­res. And it’s the same with musi­cal instru­ments today. It’s che­aply made and it sounds bad to my ears. That’s why I’d rat­her buy the over­pri­ced Ebay item from the nine­teen sixties.

 

So yeah I like old instru­ments! I get nostal­gic about that time. Not because eve­ryt­hing was bet­ter back then. It wasn’t. The 50’s in Ame­rica was hor­rible. There was racism and all kinds of bad things. But the instru­ments they made, for instance the gui­tars, where abso­lu­tely mind-blowingly good! And they last still. They’ll last 100–200 years.

It’s the same with old cars. You can always change a fuse on an old car because it’s made of very simple mate­ri­als. You can always fix it. But a new car with all the com­pu­ter tech­no­logy will never become an old timer because in 30 years all the electro­nics will be fucked and nobody will know where to get the parts for it. The old com­pu­ter chips is not build any­more so you won’t be able to fix it and start it. That makes me sad! We are now at a point where there won’t be old times like that anymore.

I can’t imag­ine that my car, which is pretty new now, will look appe­a­ling in 30 years since it’s all made of pla­stic. By then it won’t drive because it’s bro­ken and nobody wants to repair it. They would rat­her buy a new one.

So of course that’s also my poli­ti­cal idea about my whole live setup – that you can reuse things. I also buy all my records on the flea mar­kets. The few new vinyls I buy from arti­sts I like…I feel almost bad. I’ll be like “oh new stuff..lots of waste pla­tic and so on”. But if you find a great record on a flea mar­ket which was alre­ady pro­du­ced, which was alre­ady bought before you had it… There is somet­hing beau­ti­ful about that, I think!

 

Let’s get back to tal­king about the music of the play. In the pro­cess of wri­ting the music for Laugh­ter in the Dark, what inspi­red you? If you are even aware of that?

I’m not really sure. I think it’s the overall atmosp­here when you sit there on stage and the actors act. Then it’s time for your musi­cal cue and you play somet­hing. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just a belly fee­ling. There is on one hand the “Mickey Mouse way”, you know? Where you put eve­ryt­hing on the move­ment to under­line it. And then there is more like the Stan­ley Kubrick way where you use musi­cal con­trasts. I’m pro­bably somewhere in between that. The qua­lity of music for the­a­ter or film lies, I think, in sup­por­ting the emo­tion. And some­ti­mes the music should add somet­hing which is not there yet.

 

So you com­po­sed the music on stage?

Yeah, all on stage. All on the same PA system. Always the same volume. All in one set­ting. That allowed me to really figure out how to tune the details to the room and the stage. I hel­ped me decide for instance “okay, here I only need this bass note which makes the left cor­ner of the room rattle.” I would not have come up with that in the rehear­sal room because I don’t have the sub­woo­fer set. Then I would have had dif­fe­rent ideas pro­bably. That’s why I think it’s good not to pre­pare some­ti­mes. Not make up your mind and have an idea when you arrive alre­ady. Then you want to hold on to the idea because you put work into it even though you rea­lize it’s not the right direction. That way it might end up like a big waste of time. You have to start over and you are fru­stra­ted to start with.

I’m not sure it works for eve­ry­one but for me it really works to not worry about the next tour in 6 months, to not worry about the next big col­la­bo­ra­tion and so on. I start to worry about it when I’m there. Then I have time for it and I dedi­cate myself only for that. It helps me to stay focu­sed and eve­ry­body I’m wor­king with can be sure that I’m fully with them.

 

Human imper­fections seem to play a big part in the story of Laugh­ter in the Dark. And I know you like imper­fections in music as well as in your own. What is it about imper­fections that attract you?

When you don’t use play­ba­cks and when you do eve­ryt­hing at once there will always be certain things where you think “okay, on the gran­der scheme it was good but there were 3–4 notes which I didn’t hit right. They rang out too short or too long or were too loud or too quiet. Or they were not there at all. But overall it was a good atmosphere.”

This is what musi­ci­ans had to accept for so long. Espe­ci­ally when they recor­ded on expen­sive tape back in the days. On a big roll of tape you can’t cut a little hole here and there. You can only cut the whole thing! So if the trum­pet was really good but only the drum­mer mes­sed up, then the drum­mer would say “cut it” and the trum­pet player would say “I want it!” and the band would agree “let’s keep it”.

They played a 10 minute song and then the drum­mer mes­sed up one fill in the mid­dle and for the rest of his life he would need to listen to that mes­sed up fill because it was sim­ply not pos­sible to change it. People got tired of that under­stan­dably. Because they didn’t have a choice.

Today we have the choice. We can change it. We can record it digi­tally track by track. So wit­hout chan­ging track 1 we can change track 2 anyway. We can leave it in or leave it out. That gives us lots of respon­si­bi­lity and people are not really aware of that, I think. I don’t want to blame eve­ry­body but I think people should try to be more aware that it is some­ti­mes good to leave it (an error) in and that it didn’t destroy music cul­ture in the last century.

There is a good Fle­etwood Mac song where the gui­tar player is a little bit off. But would it make the song bet­ter if it was per­fect? That’s the question. It might be good for the song! Some­ti­mes we are very dog­ma­tic and react to a fail­ure with a desire to fix it. But we are dea­ling with art and we have to ask our­sel­ves “why do I want to fix it?” Is it really a good idea to fix it? It’s often really hard to answer these questions so it’s some­ti­mes easier to not have the choice at all.

This is in live con­certs very easy. I can’t turn back the time. If I mess it up I mess it up. It’s not that bad, the world keeps spin­ning! In that way I feel like all the human imper­fections on recor­ded music didn’t do any harm to the music. They are good actu­ally! Isn’t it much more inte­r­e­sting if people get used to certain imper­fections? Then the more often you listen to this song the more you notice these little things and you come to like them because you feel they add cha­ra­cter. It’s like some actors put on a birth mark on their face to add somet­hing to a per­fect face. It’s a bit like that.

 

There is a strong sense of some sort of nar­ra­tive in your music in gene­ral; it has a very cine­ma­tic qua­lity I think. Is this more in focus when you are scor­ing for a piece where there is alre­ady a story line?

Pro­bably. I have much more the fee­ling of somet­hing fragile going on (in the scene) that I should not destroy. While when I’m alone on stage I’m often like a bul­l­dozer: “Yes! It’s my stage, I do what I want!” I’m trying to find my place here and not overtake anyt­hing since I’m used to entertai­ning the whole crowd myself. But I should not do that here. I should only add where it’s nee­ded and take out what’s too much.

 

Is this the first time that you com­po­sed for some­body else or have you scored for the­a­ter or film before?

I’ve done low bud­get things. Film, docu­men­tary, the­a­ter plays, dance per­for­man­ces, etc.

 

But it hasn’t been publis­hed, right?

Nope! I’ve never put out a score or somet­hing like that. If I would put out every little side pro­ject I’m doing, it would be like 3 or 4 records a year. It would be too much. When I put out a record the music on it has to be inte­r­e­sting of course but also the whole story behind the record needs to be somet­hing I want to tell! It’s almost like put­ting out a book. Spa­ces has a story; recor­ding all these shows on dif­fe­rent pla­ces. Screws has a story; it’s a record about a bro­ken thumb. Felt is a record about pre­pa­ring your piano and playing the quie­test pos­sible music ever.

So every album kind of has this little nar­ra­tive aro­und it. And I only feel like “this is a release” if I see the story which con­nects the music. I write a lot of music but for me to be happy about a release it needs to have a little more focus than just like “10 more piano pieces”.

 

So there is no plan of put­ting out the music you play here (Laugh­ter in the Dark)?

No, but I’m alre­ady thin­king for myself it would be nice to put out an album with some of my favo­rite com­mis­sio­ned works. It would be nice to go back in my archive and remix or rework some of these ideas. Say like, “okay this is music for somet­hing else”.

 

That could be the title…

Yeah! (both laughing)

I feel like this could be beau­ti­ful. This is a nice little idea. If I have an easy time wri­ting the A4 page of liner notes for it then I would put it out. But I’m not sure yet. I do record all the music here (for Laugh­ter in the Dark), that’s for sure! I make recor­dings of the pie­ces and put them in the archive.

 

Have you ever con­si­de­red wor­king with a voca­list like your buddy Ólafur Arnalds has been doing recently with Arnór Dan (listen to an example  here) or do you pre­fer to let the piano and the instru­ments speak for them­sel­ves?

I think I would work with a voca­list but I would not work under my name. I would work under the vocalist’s name to help the voca­list make their music. If let’s say St. Vin­cent asked me to pro­duce her new album I would be like “yeah, I like your music a lot. Let’s write music for it. Let’s play the piano.”

But I think it shouldn’t be my album then. It should be hers. I would just help.

The vocal is so strong. Sin­ging is so strong. It has to be the “head­line”. I think with Ólafur, it’s inte­r­e­sting because he still puts his name on the record and have a fea­tu­red artist sing on it. It’s not the first time it ever hap­pe­ned but it’s not somet­hing I would do.

How do you like it? Do you think it works (with the vocals on the Ólafur Arnalds songs)?

 

I’m not sure actu­ally. In the begin­ning it felt che­esy some­how. I’m not sure why but I wan­ted the vocals to be gone so I could just listen to the instru­men­tal ver­sion. But I don’t know, it has grown on me. Yeah, I think it works bet­ter now, but I’m not sure why. I think it nee­ded some time to grow on me.

Yeah, I think I know what you mean.

It’s such a power­ful thing to include a voca­list. I would have a hard time fin­ding the right sin­ger, I think. The sin­ger would pro­bably be so famous and well known alre­ady that it would make more sense to put the record out under her or his name.

I think for me — with the music I’m cre­at­ing, my big­gest chal­lenge is to cre­ate a movie wit­hout showing the movie and cre­ate a nar­ra­tive wit­hout giving away the nar­ra­tive. So when you listen to Fami­liar (track from Felt) today your mind will wan­der into certain directions. You will have a certain asso­ci­a­tion. But in 20 years you will listen to that track. And you alre­ady chan­ged so then you will put some other nar­ra­tive into the same track. It gives more space and it makes a track timeless.

 Nils Frahm — Familiar

This is why I Iove old jazz recor­dings. You know, some old Miles Davis bal­lads. Kind Of Blue for example. It would be bad if there were all these vocals on. It’s sim­ply beau­ti­ful with just the trum­pet tel­ling the story. No mat­ter when I listen to that album I always have dif­fe­rent ideas. It’s more libe­rat­ing and more cre­a­tive that way for the liste­ner to find its own place in the music and not be told like “this is the story of the song”.

And if you want that, then listen to Bob Dylan because that’s really good stuff. Or Neil young. Then it’s about the words, it’s about the mes­sage and so on. It’s really important that there is sin­ging in some music. But if it’s just like this techno DJ who has some fea­tu­red vocalist…just to go into pop music ter­ri­tory, you know. Why? Like all these fea­tu­red voca­lists on the 90’s jazz scene with sub­gen­res like dub, chill out and electro­nic loud stuff. They had 5 dif­fe­rent sin­gers on one album. They all sing quite well but it’s not par­ti­cu­larly inte­r­e­sting. It’s just vocals for the sake of vocals – for the sound of vocals.

Jean Michel Jarre got away with no doing that. He just always played synt­he­sizer music and he’s one of the big­gest French natio­nal her­oes of all time! So I think you can reach a bro­a­der audi­ence with just instru­men­tal music.

To use vocals is kind of like the last big thing you can do to try to become a big­ger artist. I’m not saying Ólafur did it only to sell more records but of course he wants to deve­lop and grow as an artist. And he felt at that point it would be a good idea to put some vocals on. But I would per­so­nally have said “try wit­hout that. Keep that thing for later. Try to make somet­hing cat­chy, appe­a­ling and beau­ti­ful with just the ele­ments you alre­ady use and deve­lop them furt­her! You are not at the point where you need to put vocals on”.

Nils Frahm — Hammers

 

What are your plans after Laugh­ter in the Dark?

I’m going on tour. I’m having so many con­certs this year. This year Spa­ces still needs to be performed.

 

And after that? An EP or album or an album of com­mis­sio­ned work, maybe?

I have a couple of albums alre­ady in archive. So if I can’t think of anyt­hing new, I know alre­ady what I wanna put out (laug­hing)! No really, I told eve­ry­body that the next thing is that I’m just gonna be in the stu­dio and be doing many albums and then afterwards decide what I wanna put out. I just wanna make eve­ry­body certain that I’m serious about hiding away in the stu­dio at home – maybe for a whole year or somet­hing. I wanna go back to that place where you just only make music because you want to. That’s how I star­ted making music and it would be good to back to that place.

Now I’m wor­king a little bit too much. It’s good work, you know, it’s fun work but what I sacri­fice is these 3 or 4 days in the week where I don’t need to worry about anyt­hing else but just play with my own ideas. So I think after this year – next year I will start cut­ting down on con­certs – and just explore!


 

Nils Frahm kan næste gang — og for­ment­lig sid­ste gang i et godt stykke tid, ople­ves i for­bin­delse med Distor­tion Festi­vals nye sats­ning på klas­sisk musik (ja, du læste rigtigt!).

I sam­ar­bejde med Wil­helm Han­sen Fon­den præ­sen­te­rer Distor­tion Wil­helms Sce­nen — en gra­tis 6 timers lang uden­dørs, klas­sisk kon­cert i Eng­ha­ve­par­ken den 5. juni. Nils Frahm spil­ler til sidst kl. 21.30 i et pro­gram der også byder på bl.a. Nigh­tin­gale String Quar­tet, Chri­stina Åstrand, Ars Nova, Juli­ana Hod­kin­son og Messerkvartetten

Face­book event

Her er en trai­ler for eventet:

 

Og så slut­ter vi lige af med denne magi­ske live-opvisning fra Nils Frahm, der i den grad demon­stre­rer hans ene­stå­ende til­ste­de­væ­relse på scenen!

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