Sonar Kollektiv News

Sonar Kollektiv Kurier

issue 352-361  §  Page 1  §  Sonar Kollektiv estb. 1998  §  circulation 60,000  §  free

@ Tue 28 Apr 2015 03:02:50 AM CEST

14 Tuesday, April 14th 2015
New reissue label.
Yes, the rumors are correct. We started a new reissue label, called "Notes On A Journey".

For more than 25 years now, next to various activities (as a band, as DJs and as curators) the Jazzanova crew distinguished itself as a bunch of passionate record collectors. And that’s why it really had to come to that: the cumulative load of knowledge, the almost manic urge to consistently dig deeper and deeper in music’s history vault and thereby the increased quality standards regarding these findings is made accessible to public now since spring 2015. With Notes On A Journey (NOAJ) the two Jazzanova members Stefan Leisering and Jürgen von Knoblauch together with Sonar Kollektiv labelmanager Oliver Glage brought a label into being which will exclusively take care of re-issues of lost, forgotten, overlooked and never before released music.

The first release is already on presale: Spinning Motion - Confidence In The Future (limited edition of 500 copies).

[1] Notes On A Journey
[2] presale
[3] Spinning Motion - Confidence In The Future

top of page 20 Friday, March 20th 2015
Kasar releases improvisation album
Kasar about his improvisation album:
„Two years ago, when I pressed the record button and played these short piano improvisations, I really didn't expect that the music I played would bring me such a close and intimate connection to myself and to my home. I had once again begun to play on the piano I used to have as a child. There was something about this piano that had always bothered me in my childhood, or rather, stopped my ideas from developing how I wanted them to. It lacked a bass frequency here, a resonance there, or had something else I couldn't figure out. Now as an experienced musician and sound engineer I know what was going on: the sound chamber of the piano was too small and the room it was sitting in - the living room of my parents house with wooden walls, heavy carpet and bookshelves full of books - swallowed up the overtones and created a dull, expressionless sound. Maybe this is getting too specific, but it really bothered me in my youth! But, when I started that "Devil's Kitchen" recording session two years ago I found myself hugely inspired by the very same set of circumstances. The piano has a "practice" pedal, which when pressed, puts a felt cloth between the strings and hammers, and as a result makes it sound particularly poignant and quiet - like being under a warm blanket, close and intimate. So I recorded it exactly like this and consequently I found myself playing more carefully and with more delicately. After a couple of days I had the framework for a whole album. Eighteen months later it was released as "WALK ON" after elaborating on these piano recordings with additional electronics and vocals from my studio in Berlin.

When you've found a room, a sanctuary, which inspires creativity and inspiration in such a strong way, you shouldn't change it. Never change a working system! From now on it will be: head south for piano recording. The work emerges unique with the rediscovery of old places, the old home - as I've now been living in Berlin for twenty years - and memorable times with family and old friends. I see these old places now in a new light and they have a much deeper meaning to me now: Ödland, Jungholz, Krai Waag Gumpe, Engelschwandt - and Devil's Kitchen. Places I've known since I was a child and now experience differently. I even called my studio 'Devil's Kitchen' after the beautiful secret waterfall hidden away in a Black Forest valley.

Improvisation is always the base. From there songs grow and everything else blossoms.

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Sometimes the improvisation is the finished piece. I've been improvising for as long as I could play piano, in my own systems and patterns, but always 'in harmony'. When I moved to Berlin and started producing electronic music, the piano fell out of the central creative role and almost completely fell out of view. But the piano was always there in the background and has now pushed itself back as the focus of my work. These improvisations are very important part of my work. Sometimes they seem like the left over remains of a chemical reaction, but they're far too precious to simply throw away and have become very dear to me. So I have compiled a few of them for my album "INSIDE DEVILS KITCHEN". I don't think I've ever sounded as authentic and direct as on these recordings because they're all improvised out of nothing, created in the place where I grew up. From here the road could lead in many directions. New songs, maybe new sounds on another piano, but this is the foundation. Purity and tranquility. I went back to the beginning so that I could keep going forwards.“

[1] iTunes

top of page 27 Friday, February 27th 2015
The third 12inch round of the Daniel Grau remix orgy.
This time Ray Mang, Soul Clap, Debonair and Trujillo together with Miguel Molina are in on it.
The Venezuelan six-piece combo Los Amigos Invisibles did re-record „ El León Bailarín” off
Grau's album by the same title from 1980 and the UK disco king Ray Mang hand-crafted a bass driven, dubfunky slammer out of it. That's the music the most beautiful girls in town want to wiggle their hips to.

Sitting still will also be no option hearing the extra funked-up remix of “To Night” by US duo Soul Clap together with Bosq. This is, by the way, a brand new track by Daniel Grau (after a 30 years enduring creative sabbatical) and is up to now only available on „The Magic Sound Of Daniel Grau – compiled by Jazzanova & Trujillo” (SK281CD / LP).

The Australian Debonair comes in with his remix for „Atlantis“ (off Grau's 1979 released album „Disco Fantasy“) not less lascivious at all and pyramids the synth chords with added delays in a fashion you start to feel like somebody is pulling the rug out from under your feet. That was probably his initial intention and he succeeds brilliantly.

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On the digital release you get another remix of „Delirio En Fa Menor” as a bonus track. On Reworks Vol. 2 (SK289) there was already an adaption by Berlin based Max Graef and Delfonic. But while their remix could be assigned to the new school of beatmaking, the remix by Trujillo and Miguel Molina belongs explicitly in the crate labelled „Nu Disco“, right before the „Cosmic“ shelf.

This is the sexy sound of Venezuela today!

[1] Webshop
[2] iTunes

top of page 20 Friday, February 20th 2015
"Daniel Grau - Reworks Vol.3" #Soul Clap #Bosq #Ray Mang
And here we already are, in the next, the third 12inch round of the Sonar Kollektiv/Daniel Grau remix orgy. This time Ray Mang, Soul Clap, Debonair and Trujillo together with Miguel Molina are in on it.

12inch see light of day 27/02.

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[1] Soundcloud

top of page 12 Thursday, February 12nd 2015
Neve Naive releases new EP
It's been already about two years since their last album "The Innerpeace Of Cat & Bird". Since then, Neve Naive spent quite some time again in their studio and recorded a good deal of new material, so we get the 4-track EP at hand, “Thin Air”.

The opener “Thin Air” is a breezy ballad suddenly picking up pace in the second part unexpectedly. Accompanied by a piano, guitars and unobtrusive but all the more ingenious beats Neve is saying good bye to a bygone love. Equally mature the EP proceeds with “Through The Glass”. An instruction for more courage and adventure. And Neve Naive seem to have followed this directive as well.
“The Sleeper” suprises with twisted guitar sounds and a rather compelling arrangement over which Neve's vocals hover sinuously.

Till we hear from her and Ulrich again, which will be, as promised, very soon. “Thin Air” whets the appetite for more properly.

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[1] Soundcloud
[2] iTunes

top of page 18 Thursday, December 18th 2014
Pitto - Fly Like A Bird (Remixes)
With "Fly Like A Bird", multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and libertine Pitto from Utrecht, Netherlands, demonstrates once more his remarkable skill to package strong feelings of happiness into a both melodious and melancholic dance composition.

"The idea of flying like a bird feels incredibly romantic to me — it was the inspiration for this song," Pitto remembers. At the same time, however, there is this longing to be found by somebody very special. The longing for love and bonding. "Many of my songs have to do with love and all of its facets. At first sight, they are impulsive and full of energy, but deep inside there is some melancholic and sad quality to them. I believe in the power of opposites."

Beatport exclusive!

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[1] Soundcloud
[2] Beatport

top of page 27 Monday, October 27th 2014
Reunion Remixed - T-Shirt & WAV Bundle
Almost to the day, a year ago the brilliant solo debut album by Alex Barck, „Reunion“, was released and caused quite a stir amongst the fans of sophisticated and boundaries-exploring dance music. A buzz lasting to this day, only considering all the different remixes that came out over the last twelve months. You can find them now, fourteen in number, nicely assembled in this digital release package. The ten reworks already officially released are joined by another four exclusive remixes, which haven't been available so far.

First of all we'd like to put a spotlight on the extraordinaire works by Ada (for “Doubter”), Kalabrese (for “We Get High”) and ComixXx (“Like A Drug”). Three remixes operating at the intersections of house, pop and leftfield you can't classify, and therefore influencing the sound of 2014. Even a lick more unorthodox come in the remixes by VECT, Full Crate and Mao. This is refreshing club music, somewhere between deep house and the sinister reincarnation of RnB.

But now let's shift the attention to the four remixes, which you don't know yet: Ronni Vindahl from Copenhagen goes one step further and turns „Move Slowly“ into a proper Soul-Funk track, including horns and guitars. This is as cheerful as it ever can be!
The two Berlin based producers Chopstick & Johnjon have a go at „Spinning Around“ and club the arrangement straight to the peak time of the (imaginary) best dance floor in the world. Captivating as well with the current sound of Berlin, one half of Âme, Frank Wiedemann does a mesmerizing job in remixing „Oh Africa“. Two times absolute world class and highest warranty for dance floor frenzy. London's Alex Patchwork, on the other hand, dismantles „Doubter“ in a fashion that only Jonatan Bäckelie's voice remains to be the single fundamental element floating on a fascinating, sentimental sea of futuristic sounds. Music for the morning after.

„Reunion Remixed“ is not just paying tribute to the infinite talent of Alex Barck, but is also a chronicle of all the prevailing trends and tendencies of current club music – be it in Berlin's underground clubs or on your headphones.

[1] T-Shirt Bundle
[2] Digital Release

top of page 19 Friday, September 19th 2014
The Magic Sound Of Daniel Grau - Compiled by Jazzanova & Trujillo
Daniel Grau has recorded nine legendary LPs between 1974 and 1983; all of them never available outside of Venezuela though. Born 1950 in Caracas the thoroughbred musician first and foremost was one of the most sought-after studio engineers in his country. Almost any respectable artist in Venezuela (Vytas Brenner, Aldemaro Romero, Aditus, La Misma Gente etc.) was at least once in the Studio taking advantage of Daniel Grau's mastery.
Just for the fun of it Grau asked some of the musicians who frequented the studio on a regular basis to use the free studio time to record some own songs and compositions under the name of “La Orquestra De Daniel Grau”. The fist two albums from 1974 and 1976, released under this moniker, already display perfectly what an adept composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass and keyboards) Grau was and still is. The influences and references, which characterize his entire, short and Venezuela-only career, are unmistakeable: North American Fusion Jazz, orchestral Bossa Nova and Latin American funk in the sense of Eumir Deodato and Sérgio Mendes.

Daniel Grau's variety of musical styles doesn't end here though. At the end of the 1970's he moved more and more towards disco music and incorporated what we today all call Cosmic Disco. And it's exactly this scene, which started to become a worldwide movement about ten years ago, which embraces now the forgotten work by Grau and numbers his nine albums among the “holy grails” of this genre. Jazzanova member Claas Brieler was aware of this when he visited Caracas in 2012 as part of the cultural exchange programme by the prestigious Goethe Institute. Together with befriended Venezuelan DJ Trujillo all the stops were pulled to make Daniel Grau's music accessible to a worldwide audience.

In close dialogue with the by-now 64-years-old Daniel Grau the show case compilation at hand was compiled. As a CD release it encompasses 27 of the best tracks out of Grau's archive. The vinyl edition confines itself over two LPs to the 15 tracks that are the most danceable. On both formats you find a new composition (“To Night”). More than thirty years after his last official release Daniel Grau returns with “To Night” and looks ahead confidently.

"I like it all. A wonderful and weird trip into a musical world of its very own that was hidden from the world for too long. Impressive!" - Gerd Janson

"It's an honour and a deep pleasure to be remixing the Venezuelan disco godfather Daniel Grau, I've been a fan for many years. So glad his music now has a chance to reach the masses instead of the lucky few that owned the precious original gems." - Danny McLewin, Psychemagik

"Two Wonderfully enchanting versions from the camp of Daniel and Jules taken from the exceptional retrospective of the works the Venezuelan master 'The Magic Sound Of Daniel Grau" Essential!!" - Ray Mang

"Spacey , like it a lot, Daniel Wang & Jules reworks are cup of tea...full support." - Michael Reinboth, Compost Recordings

"Whole album full of surprises, always on the edge to "cheesy" but then again pure niceness!." - Michael Rütten, Soul Patrol

" Great find and splendid mixes by Daniel Wang & Jules Etienne. Will play these."
- Peter Kruder

"Love the remix of "Robot Magico"... very playable. Originals versions are nice as well. quality package, looking forward to hearing more." - Francois K

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[1] iTunes
[2] Webshop
[3] Youtube

top of page 12 Friday, September 12nd 2014
Stee Downes first single from his upcoming album.
It has been more than a whopping five years now since Stee Downes released his last album (“All In A Day”, SK203CD) . But the Dublin born, Amsterdam based jack of all trades has been simply too busy with numerous other successful projects and his renowned DJ gigs to take the time to record its follow-up “The Bigger Picture” in Berlin's Jazzanova Recording Studio. This longplayer is set to be released in 2014 / 2015.

Now, for starters, we are treated with the pre-12inch “Caught Up”. It's almost take for granted by now that Sonar Kollektiv A&R-manager Alex Barck and Paskal & Urban Absolutes, the label's unofficial in-house remix duo, have looked after the track. And that's how we actually get two times uplifting vocal house that works as well in the club as on the airwaves.

Further on, the currently massively uprising siblings Kyodai take no prisoners and go for a thriving club burner and give the arrangement a fantastic sweeping beat and pump the bassline all up to the front.

All the way, from Australia comes the contribution by Rocco Raimundo, who prowls audibly in calmer climes. This way “Caught Up” wins even more points and could molt to become – in form of this remix – a proper summer smash.
On the digital release you'll find on top of Raimundo's remix also the instrumental version of the original. You won't regret to give it a try: Next to the ultra funky bass by Alex Grube, the guitar by Arne Jansen, the drumming by Michael Grabinger and particularly the piano and rhodes, played by none other than Sebastian Studnitzky, put you in an outrageous good mood.

That's then how the summer 2014 sounds!

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[1] iTunes
[2] 12inch

top of page 05 Friday, September 5th 2014
Kasar's debut album on Sonar Kollektiv!
Arnold Kasar is a musical jack of all trades: in countless projects around the Berlin based label Sonar Kollektiv, the musician grown in the southern area of the picturesque Black Forest left his traces, among them Nylon, AtomHockey or with Volksbühne-player and latest Internet-Hype Friedrich Liechtenstein („Supergeil“).
However, the trained sound-engineer is also capable of going solo, as he proved with his solo debut „The Piano Has Been Smoking“ in 2012. Now he returned to his first instrument and his timing couldn't be better, since the piano returned to new strength in the music world, as the numerous releases of pianists in the past few years have shown.

„I really hope that the timing is good, but I can't influence it. At last I do it for my own. When I started doing music as Kasar back in 2010, I just didn't know Nils Frahm or Brandt Brauer Frick. All these people weren't on the spot by then. I listened to Gonzales and of course Hauschka and Craig Armstrong were there, too. Yann Tiersen was totally famous at that time“, the pianist explains his view on his colleagues when he started making music by himself. But, with releasing his second album „Walk On“ at this point, he didn't intend to flirt with a hype. The piano, which has accompanied Arnold Kasar from his childhood on, always just fell out of the recordings in the past. Due to this enduring relationship to his first instrument he got bored of it. Instead, he preferred to dedicate himself to sample-based electronic music with his friend Friedrich Liechtenstein or making Nu Jazz in several musical projects around the world-famous Berlin based Sonar Kollektiv (home to Jazzanova, The Black Seeds or Solomun). But sooner or later the piano had to return to the centre of attention.

That was in 2010: at that point the work on the new LP „The Piano Has Been Smoking“ had started, being released in 2012 and fully concentrating around the piano. By then Kasar already used the technique of the prepared piano, which once was introduced by John Cage and nowadays is excessively used by Hauschka, among others. For this Kasar used erasers, tea bags or patches to manipulate the sound of the piano and to bring out unheard and exciting tones of his instrument. Only one song, the designated single „Put A Light On Me“, was supposed to have a vocal track, but after he didn't find the right voice for it, he simply sang it himself. Like this, for the first time the world got to hear the dark and melancholic timbre of Arnold Kasar. The desired airplay (i.a. Austrian „FM4“ or Berlin's „RBB RadioEins“) was achieved easily and from that moment on Kasar was delighted by the idea of singing on his own productions, since he had closed the chapter of producing an album on a prepared piano anyway. For this reason the comparison with an artist such as Hauschka, who made this technique the concept of his own creative work, is merely adequate. Kasar rather walks on, restless and always willing to try something new.

But this doesn't mean that he has to quit it completely: also on „Walk On“ one finds a few pieces with the support of the prepared piano, but this time the singing is clearly in the foreground. Like this, the whole vibe of the record changes: „I'd say the last record was way more a city record“ referring to the by then used techno-elements, for example, „and the new one is a record for the countryside.“, especially inspired by Arthur Russell's most intimate album „World Of Echo“. On this record the composer who rose to cult status in the past years leaves the disco era behind him and presents a fragile artist using voice, cello and a lot of reverb only: „A song like „So Called Lover“ mainly emerged from Arthur Russell listening sessions“, Kasar tells full of admiration for the musician who died of AIDS in 1992.

Other role models are surprising as well as comprehensible: „I like singers like the early Manfred Krug a lot, this warm and tender voice – of course, in German, but the way he sang – or Japan's singer David Sylvian, those were the things I acted on. Much songwriting-inspiration came from Wilco, Nick Drake, Aimée Mann or also Bill Callahan.

But how Kasar came to the definition „countryside record“ is a story of its own: „It is way more singing this time, that's a huge leap, it's much less electronics and there's more space. It's less town and much more landscape and for me it really is this countryside record. „Jungholz“ for example is the name of a village in the southern Black Forest, „Ödland“ is the name of the highest mountain in that area and „Ein Engel Verschwand“ is an adaptation of another village's name there called „Engelschwand“. „So Called Lover“ takes place in „a shady town in the shore“, which in a way is a reference to the Rhine, which could be the mentioned river, and this „whipping willow“, all these are things coming out of my memories, since I originate from that area. It's not autobiographic but I simply imagined how it was back then, sitting under the willow by the river. Partly I recorded the songs right there: „Ein Engel Verschwand“, „Jungholz“ and „Ödland“ and nearly all playbacks were recorded on the piano on which I practiced when I was a child. I always hated it to play this piano: a Hohner, awful sound, but once you used the felt pedal it got such an odd sound, really strange – that's not the sound of a great Steinway, but small and odd.“ So all of this isn't supposed to be autobiographic but without all these experiences Kasar gained in the depths of the southern Black Forest, „Walk On“ probably would never have come into being.

The song that gave the album its title was the first Kasar had written for „Walk On“, right after the release of his debut record. At this stage the theatre art graduate was in a downright stream of composing. Many songs were quickly outlined, however he took ages to get to the finished product. The production phase lasted – with interruptions – from spring 2012 to fall 2013. And since February this year the record is waiting to be thrown onto the market, but haste makes waste. Songs like those you find on „Walk On“, where the piano sounds like raindrops rolling down the scale, while there's an electronic tempest in the background („Ödland“), or which are so fragile they bring tears to your eyes („Care“) simply have to be released in the dying season.

But who thinks that everything on this album is melancholic and sad is proven wrong by „Dawning“, which isn't at all like the rest of the LP: with a jagged new wave beat, a sexy 80s sounding sax and an optimistic chorus, Kasar also shows his up-tempo side and gives some unmissable signs towards radio airplay.

A whole lot slower is the collaboration with long-time friend Lisa Bassenge, singer of Nu Jazz outfit Micatone and Kasar's colleague at Nylon. Together they sing the hypnotic „Dance To The Mallet“, which starts off jazzy, but also offers itself – with its electronic substructure – as a huge playground for remixers. However, the way this liaison came up is rather unspectacular: „One time we went out for dinner and I told her about the album I was working on and there she immediately offered her help if I needed some. So a few months later I called her and played the song to her and she instantly liked it. She wrote the lyrics to it and then we quickly recorded it in one take. Her musical director Paul Kleber is also involved in the song „You“ and Sebastian Borkowski from Jazzanova plays sax in another song. So it's sort of all around the Sonar Kollektiv and Micatone”. It stays all in the family.

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[1] Kasar - Walk On
[2] iTunes
[3] Amazon

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