If you’re reading, or receiving, know that I appreciate you and your energy. It means the world that I’m able to give whatever amount of atmospheric positivity in creating and sharing music. I’m happy to know there’s fellow souls out there who care about connection beyond the surface.
With this format I am attempting to bypass the straits of social media: to share what’s happening with my work, as well as random thoughts and images, outside any algorithmic exploitation of aesthetics, bodies or self-expression. I’ve a ways to go before reaching Rob Brezsny levels of idiosyncrasy; hopefully each missive becomes effortlessly stranger and more joyful than the last. Perhaps one day I’ll make exclusive music and writing for a monthly contribution, but these brief updates will in any case remain free.
Since the start of 2021 I was able to refocus somewhat after the reality of the pandemic set in, and three years of solid touring before that. Back in the winter I was on a tear with writing new music, both solo and collaborative material, as well as for film. While unfortunately the film project didn’t work out (ouch) I have been able to retain these drafts, which I intend to explore as solo output (not entirely dissimilar from 2018’s Raw Silk Uncut Wood but perhaps more overtly scene or mood-suggestive).
I spent two months in Paris this spring, one week of which in the 16th at the incredible INA GRM studios by invitation of director François J. Bonnet. I spent my time running stems through a half-functioning Publison DHM-89 delay/pitch shifter/sampler; looping parts and listening to them break down beautifully with noise and hum and whine. With this new material, I am still working through form and narrative, as well as how complicated or simple the music should be. Bear with me; new music coming soon.
Awe is something you feel when confronted with forces beyond your control: nature, the cosmos, chaos, human error, hallucinations.
As some of you may already know, I launched my label Awe this year; though still embryonic and half-formed, it will be an outlet for solo and collaborative material. To kick things off with the label I started a new monthly on the mighty NTS back in January. It goes back to my freeform roots (WCBN-FM I see you) and has a heavy emphasis on beautiful, strange and mind-altering music, whatever the genre. The latest show is a summertime car mix, the one before that an all-originals unreleased ambient hour. Check both here —
Then, on a somewhat ｂｉｚａｒｒｅ ｈｏｗ ｌｉｆｅ ｕｎｆｏｌｄｓ note, I joined the latest configuration of the Moritz von Oswald trio, playing keys and the sampler, alongside Moritz and jazz percussionist Heinrich Köbberling. Moritz got in touch last summer and asked if I wanted to come to the studio to jam; a few months and sessions later a record was cut. The LP ‘Dissent’ is coming out August 5 on Modern Recordings; you can check the video for single ‘Chapter 7’ (dir. Shirin Sabahi) now. The album release show will be at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin on August 14.
Lastly, gigs coming up for the fall, subject to safety:
August 14 → Berlin, DE → Haus der Kulturen der Welt with Moritz von Oswald Trio Live
August 20 → Offenbach, DE → EOS-03 Festival @ Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (DJ)
September 11 → London, UK → Corsica Studios (DJ b2b Hodge)
October 30 → Braga, PT → Semibreve Festival (live with Oliver Coates)
November 13 → Leeds, UK → Natural Selection/Adaptations
& more TBA…
As some of you may already know, I spent time during the various lockdowns last year treading into the vast waters of jazz piano technique. I appreciate all the friends who have sent their kudos, support and memes along the way.
Unfortunately, since November I came down with a nasty case of carpal tunnel in my right hand. It means I’ve had to completely stop playing with my right hand for the past several months. Had to stop planks, downward dogs, long bike rides around Tempelhof. No weight, no pressure, no stress of any kind on that tender wrist. As someone who for better or worse both “feels things deeply” and struggles with acceptance, it was difficult to separate my self-worth from the positivity and agency of auto-didacticism. Not to mention the sheer pleasure of becoming more harmonically literate: certain voicings revealing unexpected paths and modalities, like learning a new language. Like how certain things you say in German or French and the intonation with which you say them can never be replicated in American English. So too with extended chords and the balance of dissonance and consonance, how certain scales fit over certain chords, how beautifully symmetrical diminished chords can be, etc.: file all under wide-eyed jazz beginner.
I’m working through this injury and remain positive that I’ll be able to continue on this path, however slowly and in my own time. I’m proud of the fact that I can hear the lusciousness of a #11 chord. In the meantime I can appreciate memories of Infant Eyes on a Bluetooth speaker in Grünewald.
Finally, I am currently reading and obsessed with Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. As someone who has spent brief moments in a lot of cities around the world, the observations contained within this somewhat inscrutable text, particularly those on memory and human behavior, hit rather deep. A gem of a book and perhaps obvious for some of you, but isn’t that the beauty of a first encounter?
I’ll sign off with this quote from the book, which has been a source of inspiration in recent days.
If men and women began to live their ephemeral dreams, every phantom would become a person with whom to begin a story of pursuits, pretenses, misunderstandings, clashes, oppressions, and the carousel of fantasies would stop.
More soon, thanks nochmal für ihre Unterstützung et votre compréhension.