Laboratory defining the sound of Umland – Bandporträt-Serie


Check Test / Society For Putting Things On Top Of Other Things/ WARE/ Tunnel & Meadow ………….

Umland ist eine Soundfabrik mit eigenem Label und Konzertreihen, aber auch eine Black Box, von der niemand weiß, wie sie funktioniert, die aber in ihren musikalischen Resultaten zunehmend Qualität und Format entwickelt.
Auf der Oberfläche scheint es nur eins von Zillionen Netzwerken, jedoch ist auf den zweiten Blick der Output so konkret, zuweilen verblüffend und eine paradigitale Welt vorwegnehmend, dass es faszikracht.

Zwar sind wir nicht  tief im amerikanischen Jazz eingebettet oder sozialisiert wie das Publikum von Donaueschingen – vergleichbar ist das, was hier passiert mit Chicago (auch Köln) in den 90-ern, Wuppertal in den 60-/ 70-ern, das Bauhaus und vielleicht Amsterdam in den starken Jahren – aber grundlegend anders (nein wir greifen nicht zu hoch). 
Permanent evaluieren wir unsere Prozesse und schaffen ein eigenes Alphabet neuer Klänge.
Als Basis für unseren Recherche Ansatz dient uns ein Text – eine komplexe Ideensammlung zur Beurteilung von Qualität der Musik. „Copy & Paste“ ist nicht unser primäres Werkzeug.
Die  inhaltliche Klammer des Umlands ist sehr weit (einige würden sagen – zu weit) gefasst und basiert auf gegenseitiger Zuwendung, Solidarität, Interesse und persönlicher Verbindlichkeit, als auf stilistischen, musiktheoretischen Kriterien – maßgeblichen Einfluss auf diesen Prozess hat sicherlich das Orchester The Dorf, das seit 2006 ein großes Experimentierfeld und Schmelztiegel für diverseste Persönlichkeiten und Ideen ist und war.

Hat das, was wir tun,  Relevanz über unseren Kosmos (mitteleuropäischer Impro Kammer-Jazz) hinaus?
Nicht wirklich, wir machen das mehr oder weniger exakt aus diesem und für diesen Kontext.
Vor allem wollen und müssen wir uns ausdrücken. 

Umland sucht nach Parametern, Klängen, Versuchsanordnungen, die nicht „uns“, sonder „zu uns“ gehören: originäre Zeichen- und Refezenzsysteme, die sich ihrer Prägung durch breite kulturelle und historische Einflüsse bewusst sind und mit dieser Prägung offen umgehen.
Wir schaffen eine neue Schlichtheit, die eine immer noch grundsätzlich positive Haltung in dieser aufsplitternden Welt ermöglicht und tragen etwas bei, Open Source natürlich, in der Hoffnung, mit diesem Beitrag nicht Resoourcen zu kapitalisieren, sondern zu generieren.

Wir werden in dieser Reihe einzelne Bands aus unserem Kontext vorstellen und erörtern, wie dort was passiert und passiert ist und werden wird.

Steffen Krebber & Ephemeral Fragments in der nmz

Dirk Wieschollek über Steffen Krebber: „Referenzielle Vergangenheit und klangliches Hier und Jetzt verschmelzen hier so ambivalent wie die stilistischen Sphären.“… und Ephemeral Fragments: „Da braut sich mit atmosphärischer Dichte so Einiges zusammen in hybriden Farbmischungen, feinen Geräuschnuancen und melodischen Restbeständen zwischen Unruhe und Kontemplation, versehen mit einem gehörigen Quantum Melancholie. Am besten spät hören…“

Full review: here

Hiromi in jazztokyo on „protest possible“

#2164 『The Dorf / Protest Possible』『ザ・ドーフ / プロテスト・ポッシブル』

Protest songs to achieve a utopia of expression. „Utopian beats & krautrock/jazz/trance/noise : 25-Piece sound collective“ – this is the tagline on the official website of The Dorf, which was formed in 2006 in Dortmund, the central city of the Ruhr aria of Germany. Not a big band or an orchestra, but a „Collective“. The biography says: „This large band works like a marketplace or even a pub – people come together, who didnt know each other before, constantly new faces enter the scene, old acquaintances say goodbye, some regulars can always be found.“ For more on the process of not only playing music, but also discussing the significance of the group and its ideas and reflecting them in expressive activities, see the interview with founder and conductor Jan Klare. The Dorf’s latest work, „Protest Possible“ is a „song“ album filled with a feeling of vitality which seems almost opposite of their previous work „Baobab / Echoes“ (2020) which was the ultimate in stoicism with drone music. The project started in 2018, before the Corona Disaster. The first step was to contact potential authors. The initial concept was to create new songs that could be sung by modern people with guitar accompaniment, following traditional labor songs and protest songs, but the time when simply including „Death to Capitalism“ in the refrain would work had passed. While searching for a protest song appropriate for the present age, the world was suddenly struck by the Corona disaster, and capitalist society, which had been believed to never die, unexpectedly became dysfunctional. It is not hard to imagine that such an unexpected turn of events made Klare and his band rediscover the meaning of producing this work. Recording took place between May and June 2020. The vocals and most of the acoustic instruments were recorded in separate groups in the studio with click tone, while the electronics and some guitars and basses were overdubbed remotely from each musician’s home. Three years in conception and a total of 1,000 hours of studio work resulted in this, The Dorf’s first official studio effort. The expressive and emotional vocals of Marie Daniels are featured in front throughout all the songs, and although the instrumentals are almost entirely a backing band, the richness of the ensemble, sometimes heavy, sometimes light, is a testament to their pursuit of a wide range of dynamic sounds, from drones to roaring noise. Sound-wise, it recalls me German songs like Marlene Dietrich’s, Brecht/Weill’s epic theater, and progressive rock, especially the German experimental rock of the late 60s and early 70s, known as Krautrock. The Dorf’s multi-layered musicality, with elements of minimal music, improvised jazz, chamber rock, and sound poetry sprinkled throughout, testifies to their refusal to fit into any particular genre or style. The lyrics, provided by five lyricists from various backgrounds, are all in German, with the exception of one song, so I do not understand the detail meanings of the lyrics, but there are songs that include English four-letter-words, songs that heighten tension with their rigid repetition of pronunciation, and songs that utilize a rhythmic sense of word, all of which are multi-dimensional and filled with delicate emotion. The vinyl of this album is limited to 100 copies, each in a handmade jacket spray-painted with a 12inch LP + 7inch EP + booklet. It contains instructions on how to make protest sign for demonstration with the jacket, which has „YES“ and „NO“ printed in large letters on the front and back. As it says: „So, purchase, practice and singalong! „. The Dorf, a musical community stirring in the deepest part of Europe, has created a new generation of protest songs with real D.I.Y. spirit, filled with a strong will to create a utopia of expression in an age of absurdity.Protest songs to achieve a utopia of expression. „Utopian beats & krautrock/jazz/trance/noise : 25-Piece sound collective“ – this is the tagline on the official website of The Dorf, which was formed in 2006 in Dortmund, the central city of the Ruhr aria of Germany. Not a big band or an orchestra, but a „Collective“. The biography says: „This large band works like a marketplace or even a pub – people come together, who didnt know each other before, constantly new faces enter the scene, old acquaintances say goodbye, some regulars can always be found.“ For more on the process of not only playing music, but also discussing the significance of the group and its ideas and reflecting them in expressive activities, see the interview with founder and conductor Jan Klare. The Dorf’s latest work, „Protest Possible“ is a „song“ album filled with a feeling of vitality which seems almost opposite of their previous work „Baobab / Echoes“ (2020) which was the ultimate in stoicism with drone music. The project started in 2018, before the Corona Disaster. The first step was to contact potential authors. The initial concept was to create new songs that could be sung by modern people with guitar accompaniment, following traditional labor songs and protest songs, but the time when simply including „Death to Capitalism“ in the refrain would work had passed. While searching for a protest song appropriate for the present age, the world was suddenly struck by the Corona disaster, and capitalist society, which had been believed to never die, unexpectedly became dysfunctional. It is not hard to imagine that such an unexpected turn of events made Klare and his band rediscover the meaning of producing this work. Recording took place between May and June 2020. The vocals and most of the acoustic instruments were recorded in separate groups in the studio with click tone, while the electronics and some guitars and basses were overdubbed remotely from each musician’s home. Three years in conception and a total of 1,000 hours of studio work resulted in this, The Dorf’s first official studio effort. The expressive and emotional vocals of Marie Daniels are featured in front throughout all the songs, and although the instrumentals are almost entirely a backing band, the richness of the ensemble, sometimes heavy, sometimes light, is a testament to their pursuit of a wide range of dynamic sounds, from drones to roaring noise. Sound-wise, it recalls me German songs like Marlene Dietrich’s, Brecht/Weill’s epic theater, and progressive rock, especially the German experimental rock of the late 60s and early 70s, known as Krautrock. The Dorf’s multi-layered musicality, with elements of minimal music, improvised jazz, chamber rock, and sound poetry sprinkled throughout, testifies to their refusal to fit into any particular genre or style. The lyrics, provided by five lyricists from various backgrounds, are all in German, with the exception of one song, so I do not understand the detail meanings of the lyrics, but there are songs that include English four-letter-words, songs that heighten tension with their rigid repetition of pronunciation, and songs that utilize a rhythmic sense of word, all of which are multi-dimensional and filled with delicate emotion. The vinyl of this album is limited to 100 copies, each in a handmade jacket spray-painted with a 12inch LP + 7inch EP + booklet. It contains instructions on how to make protest sign for demonstration with the jacket, which has „YES“ and „NO“ printed in large letters on the front and back. As it says: „So, purchase, practice and singalong! „. The Dorf, a musical community stirring in the deepest part of Europe, has created a new generation of protest songs with real D.I.Y. spirit, filled with a strong will to create a utopia of expression in an age of absurdity.Protest songs to achieve a utopia of expression. „Utopian beats & krautrock/jazz/trance/noise : 25-Piece sound collective“ – this is the tagline on the official website of The Dorf, which was formed in 2006 in Dortmund, the central city of the Ruhr aria of Germany. Not a big band or an orchestra, but a „Collective“. The biography says: „This large band works like a marketplace or even a pub – people come together, who didnt know each other before, constantly new faces enter the scene, old acquaintances say goodbye, some regulars can always be found.“ For more on the process of not only playing music, but also discussing the significance of the group and its ideas and reflecting them in expressive activities, see the interview with founder and conductor Jan Klare. The Dorf’s latest work, „Protest Possible“ is a „song“ album filled with a feeling of vitality which seems almost opposite of their previous work „Baobab / Echoes“ (2020) which was the ultimate in stoicism with drone music. The project started in 2018, before the Corona Disaster. The first step was to contact potential authors. The initial concept was to create new songs that could be sung by modern people with guitar accompaniment, following traditional labor songs and protest songs, but the time when simply including „Death to Capitalism“ in the refrain would work had passed. While searching for a protest song appropriate for the present age, the world was suddenly struck by the Corona disaster, and capitalist society, which had been believed to never die, unexpectedly became dysfunctional. It is not hard to imagine that such an unexpected turn of events made Klare and his band rediscover the meaning of producing this work. Recording took place between May and June 2020. The vocals and most of the acoustic instruments were recorded in separate groups in the studio with click tone, while the electronics and some guitars and basses were overdubbed remotely from each musician’s home. Three years in conception and a total of 1,000 hours of studio work resulted in this, The Dorf’s first official studio effort. The expressive and emotional vocals of Marie Daniels are featured in front throughout all the songs, and although the instrumentals are almost entirely a backing band, the richness of the ensemble, sometimes heavy, sometimes light, is a testament to their pursuit of a wide range of dynamic sounds, from drones to roaring noise. Sound-wise, it recalls me German songs like Marlene Dietrich’s, Brecht/Weill’s epic theater, and progressive rock, especially the German experimental rock of the late 60s and early 70s, known as Krautrock. The Dorf’s multi-layered musicality, with elements of minimal music, improvised jazz, chamber rock, and sound poetry sprinkled throughout, testifies to their refusal to fit into any particular genre or style. The lyrics, provided by five lyricists from various backgrounds, are all in German, with the exception of one song, so I do not understand the detail meanings of the lyrics, but there are songs that include English four-letter-words, songs that heighten tension with their rigid repetition of pronunciation, and songs that utilize a rhythmic sense of word, all of which are multi-dimensional and filled with delicate emotion. The vinyl of this album is limited to 100 copies, each in a handmade jacket spray-painted with a 12inch LP + 7inch EP + booklet. It contains instructions on how to make protest sign for demonstration with the jacket, which has „YES“ and „NO“ printed in large letters on the front and back. As it says: „So, purchase, practice and singalong! „. The Dorf, a musical community stirring in the deepest part of Europe, has created a new generation of protest songs with real D.I.Y. spirit, filled with a strong will to create a utopia of expression in an age of absurdity.

Coming soon: »Amphiference« von Steffen Krebber

Wir freuen uns auf eine ganz besondere Veröffentlichung am 18.02.2022:

Wechselseitiges Verständnis. Gegenseitiges Begreifen. Vermischungen. Amphiferenz.

Auf dem zweiteiligen Konzeptalbum Amphiference lässt der Kölner Komponist Steffen Krebber zeitgenössische und psychedelische Musik intraagieren. Er bringt unterschiedliche musikalische, historische, ästhetische und soziale Kontexte zu einer konstruktiven Zusammenarbeit in einem gemeinsamen klingenden Lebensraum zueinander. Es entsteht eine so detailliert auskomponierte wie körperliche und ekstatische Musik.

Das titelgebende Stück des Albums verschränkt sich mit Pink Floyds legendärem Konzeptalbum Meddle (engl. für sich einmischen, sich eindrängen) von 1971. Der Gebrauch eines analogen Synthesizers (Ulrich Löffler) in Kombination mit dem Drumset (Dirk Rothbrust) zeigt direkte Verknüpfungen – Vermischungen – mit dem Epos Echoes der Pink Floyd-LP auf. 

Are You Prepared Experience mischt sich mit Jimi Hendrix, einem weiteren Erneuerer der Rockmusik in den 1960er-Jahren. In diesem kürzeren, noch zupackenderen und durchaus „rockigeren“ Stück trifft das Schlagzeug (Dirk Rothbrust) auf das Cello (Jan-Filip Tupa) und (wie in Amphiference) auf zwei Lautsprecher als Co-Akteure.

Die Vermischungen und Amphiferenzen zeigen sich auch konkret im Setup der Stücke. Steffen Krebber greift direkt in die Sound-DNA der jeweiligen Instrumental-Akteure ein. Ein konstanter Faltungsfilter beeinflusst den Klang entscheidend. Der Filter analysiert das Klangspektrum jedes Instruments in Echtzeit und transportiert es in das Spektrum seines jeweiligen Duo-Partners. So hört man nie allein den „reinen“, ungefilterten, isolierten Schlagzeug-Klang, sondern immer eine amphifizierte Version davon. Im Spektrum des Drumsounds stecken auch immer Klangspuren von Cello bzw. Synthesizer, und umgekehrt. Die Lautsprecher entsenden einen resultierenden Klang, der erst durch die Vermischung beider Instrumente entsteht. 

Steffen Krebber bezieht sich mit dem Neologismus Amphiferenz auf philosophische Ideen aus dem „agential realism“ bei Karen Barad und dem „Neo-Animism“ bei Isabelle Stenger. In diesen Gedankenräumen lösen sich tradierte Trennungen zwischen Subjekt und Objekt auf und gehen in einem Raum der Eigenaktivitäten, Abhängigkeiten von- und Beziehungen zueinander über. Auf Musik übertragen bedeutet das eine Abkehr von  kritischen Haltungen; in Steffen Krebbers Worten eine Hinwendung zur „Erfindung grenzauflösender, überraschender, abenteuerlicher, musikalisch-diskursiver Praktiken in unkritischer Zusammenarbeit mit gesellschaftlichen Agenten und Compounds“, zu einer „Musik, die denken darf – denkender Vermischer ist“.