The New Continent is the third album of Sonar Kollektiv’s LARS BARTKUHN. The talented artist from Frankfurt is a passionate music lover from his earliest childhood on. LARS grew up with the sound of THE BEATLES and THE BEACH BOYS in his ears and never stopped exploring the world of music from Jazz to Rock over to Funk and to Brazilian Music. He also has a long-standing experience as professional musician. He played in many different formations from Jazz quartets to Funk crews over to Brazil bands and Fusion combos, where he refined his skills and discovered new vibes in music.
His fascination with the deep and soulful side of House and with the music of LARRY HEARD and KERRI CHANDLER amongst many others brought him to create his own label Needs with his brother MAREK and his good friend DJ YANNICK.
Needs and the production of the trio rapidly gained recognition from the best Djs worldwide. LARS and his crew have been asked to remix countless producers and bands such as FRANCOIS K, JAZZTRONIK, ENNIO MORRICONE, IAN POOLEY and ATJAZZ and their label Needs became synomyn for open-minded and timeless House music. LARS BARTKUHN’s own productions have been played by many DJs around the globe and the seminal anthem Worlds from his project PASSION DANCE ORCHESTRA has been heralded as a true dancefloor classic. LARS also released 2 wonderful full-length albums Dreamland and Choreographies respectively on the Needs and Impartmaint labels. On the DJ side, LARS, his brother MAREK and DJ YANNICK were hosting their legendary Needs (Not Wants) nights at Robert Johnson.
While regularly playing all over Europe. LARS also worked for the prestigious Red Bull Music Academy as a lecturer (Rome/Ekaterinenburg) and studio producer (Seattle). He recently released the excellent Dimensions 12” (SK171/elektrish) on Sonar Kollektiv that also features a great remix of his friend MARCUS WORGULL of Innervision’s fame and his tune In Harmony With The Elements made it to JAZZANOVA’s new Secret Love 5 compilation. These 2 tracks were just a taster of things to come for LARS. He is now back on Sonar Kollektiv with his third full length album called The New Continent (SK 197CD/illicity), an exhilarating musical escapade and his best album to date.
For The New Continent (SK197CD/illicity) LARS explored all the styles he has been studying and incorporated all the influences that he gathered after all those years of music digging, listening, playing and producing from Classical music to Psychedelic over to Afro and Carribean Jazz. LARS also focused his mind on harmony, his philosophy and a very specific musical feature that drives his creativity for many years already. Harmonies are used to express many different feelings and enable the most experimented compositors to switch from a particular theme to another one without breaking the overall mood of the composition. Through his search of harmonies LARS innovates and bridges the gap that between all the different styles of our contemporary music landscape to create a musical masterpiece that will take you to some unexplored musical lands.
LARS gets the dice rolling with Goodbye Dancing Hello God. This excellent opening song fuses elegantly soulful Jazz, harmonies of voices and subtle drum breaks in a JAGA JAZZIST fashion. Foundation Suite follows the same path and bridges the gap between Jazz and Folk music with good use of guitars and old-school keyboards sounds. Once again LARS’ complex arrangements show a very wide understanding of music that goes far beyond the realm of House and Electronic music. The next composition entitled The New Continent starts like a breathy conversation between a piano, a guitar, and a harmonica. But LARS departs from this nice and moody atmosphere and suddenly takes us to another dimension where Folky and Jazzy elements unite with mesmerizing choirs of male voices and electrifying solos of guitars. The musical excursion finishes in an orchestral whirl made of tight drums, piano, guitars and keyboard pads. This grandiose ending contrast with his next composition In Harmony With The Elements, a very deep and emotional number, made of mellow piano melodies, classic/electric guitar riffs, electronic beats and effects over a syncopated drum groove. Paradiso is a very relax and feel good nu-jazz tune that stays true to its name and The Uprising speeds things up with impressive drum sequences and arpeggiated guitar melodies. Prayer / Dance Into The Sun has a nice afro-Caribbean feeling that could get people dancing and smiling all day long. The last track called Marianna is introduced by a slow-motion interlude called Born Again, whose melodies remind us of the opening title. This ultimate track is the result of LARS’ search for the perfect harmony. Symphonic and slightly psychedelic, this last composition is the ideal conclusion to the musical heaven created by LARS BARTKUHN.
“In summary this is a wonderful record from Lars Bartkuhn. The entire disc is a delightful listen. You can hear the influences from the likes of established artists like guitarists Marc Johnson, Pat Metheny and pianist Lyle Mays. Kudos to Sonar Kollektiv. They continue to fill their roster with exceptional artists making beautiful music.”