Located on the Darss Peninsular, overlooking the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, is a log cabin, nestled among the jungle-like overgrowth of surrounding birch and willow trees. The cabin is Christian Loeffler's atelier, where he locks himself up to work on both his visual art und his music. In the centre of the room is a huge oak table, splotched with multicoloured oil paints, surrounded by canvases, cameras tripods, tools, brushes. There's a great view of the sea, and the wide patio windows allow the light to flood inside, casting shadows of the leaves and branches across the walls and onto the table. There's a small fireplace which allows him to work during the winter, so that he can continue his introspectiive creative process during the cold months too. The place is very basic – working, sleeping, cooking, all in one room; yet it's these modest and in some ways rudimentary parameters that allow Loeffler to make sincere and honest music, concentraing on just the essentials. 'Mare' is his second studio album and follows in a similar vein to his self-released debut, 2012's 'A Forest'. However a key difference is that while his first album was heavily sample-based, 'Mare' is much more organic, in which nearly every sound and every instrument is self-recorded. Many of the album's ideas are based on field-recordings taken from the surroundings. On top of this, several microphones were set up in the room ad left to run on for whole sessions. The microphones collected everything, from tapping, singing, playing, footsteps, as well as percussive elements added on the fly such as bottles, sticks, a set of keys, or basically anything that was lying around. Sometimes he would open the sliding patio doors, where sounds from outside would blend into the mix. Among the instruments placed around the table were an old marimba, a mandolin zither, some self-modified synthesizers, and various other sound tools accumulated from his travels. There are also four tracks that feature the vocals of previous collaborator Mohna ('Haul', 'Mare', 'Vind', 'Wilderness'). For Loeffler, another interesting aspect of the album is that it's the first time he himself sings on a record ('Lid', 'Pacific', 'Nil'). „The meaning was not intended to be essentially different to 'A Forest' but where the first album sometimes still felt to just be on the surface of what I can say with this project, it now feels like that I've come closer to the core of what I want to express." The instrumentation, the setting, and the process, make 'Mare' a highly individual body of work that sees him expanding the limits of his set-up. The LP features the highly emotive sound that Loeffler's become known for, using deep house as a stylistic framework with which to base his tracks. Exploring spaces of emotional and physical loss, getting lost, as well as arriving, he blends wistful melodies, drum machines, and found sound into a wandering, melancholic mélange.
Invited to experiment with Deutsche Grammophon's Shellac Project – a collection of digitized material restored from early 20th-century 78s in a collaborative initiative with Google Arts & Culture – German musician, visual artist and producer Christian Löffler has created his own experimental electronica tribute to Beethoven. Löffler's digital EP Parallels (Beethoven), featuring "Pastoral", "Fate", "Freiyheit" and "Funebre", released on 27 November 2020 on the Yellow Label.
"When listening to the recordings, I got the idea that Beethoven's music was actually very human and accessible but became somewhat unearthly with decades of replaying and overthinking it," Löffler explains. "I wanted to bring it back to the very basic feels."
The artist was given open access to the Shellac Project by Deutsche Grammophon – he took the complete set of recordings to his log-cabin studio on Germany's Darss peninsula and started improvising around individual tracks.
While well-intentioned, makeovers by electronic producers of classical works often miss the mark for any number of reasons. The integrity of the original can suffer, for example, if the interpreter goes so far that the essence of the composer's work gets lost in the process. Christian Löffler (b. 1985) achieves a smart balance on this EP (now available digitally and as a physical release in February) by handling Beethoven's material respectfully but not so reverentially that creativity's stifled. Löffler clearly took the project seriously and dedicated obvious care to his fashioning of the EP material. Parallels (Beethoven): Shellac Reworks is an exceptionally well-crafted and, as important, thoughtfully considered recording.
SEE THE FULL textura PAGE