Category Archives: video
Nearly two years have passed since Niklas Paschburg presented his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Oceanic’ in February 2018. Niklas’ musical ideas have crystalised and become cogent through a combination of extensive live performance – playing over 100 shows in the last two years – and experimentation in his Berlin Studio. Written between 2018 and 2019, his second album ‘Svalbard’ will be released in February 2020 via 7K!. Niklas’ use of the piano; electronics (synth and computer) and his Grandfather’s piano accordion allow him to communicate via a number of musical traditions and languages. This versatility has allowed him to work on a variety of projects ranging from an inspired reinterpretation of Bach’s Preludes in C Minor (“Blooming”), to well received remixes for pop artists such as RY X and Asgeir. Today he releases the second single lifted from ‘Svalbard,’ and he had this to say on its creation:
“Little Orc is a gem driven by contrasting feelings: nostalgic solemness runs through it and becomes a struggle which is articulated through Niklas’ own breathing which is suspended between tension and escape – underlying the environmental anxiety. Referring to “Orc.” In Svalbard there’s a bird called Auk, which I dedicated a song to, but when Andy asked about the title, I made a spelling mistake when writing it down. But I liked it and decided to keep it that way”. NIKLAS PASCHBURG
Upcoming album ‘Svalbard’ was written in the winter of late 2018 to 2019 on the Norwegian archipelago, far away from his birth place in Hamburg. The islands are isolated and their relatively rapid changing landscapes, display immediate and visible effects of climate change. These thoughts weigh heavily in the heart and mind of the 25 year-old artist, who’s process was enriched by the environment which he chose to write in. Niklas was at once ensconced within the dark azure palette of winter – a piano waited for him and he brought Grandfather’s Accordion and a new Electric Harmonium along with a small number of other instruments. In Svalbard, throughout December and January the temperature never peaks above minus twenty degrees celsius – sunlight hours are numbered at zero. “Sometimes during the day I was opportune to get a peak of blue, but I knew that the daylight wouldn’t come. There’s no sun in Svalbard in the first half of January, there’s no sunrise, there’s no sunset. It’s always night.” Niklas chose this as an “inhospitable and uncomfortable” place to convalesce and write – cocooned away from the darkness of our times.
Once Niklas had finished writing, he took these compositions to Andy Barlow of Lamb (U2, Fink and Willie Nelson). In Brighton they worked together and Andy recorded, produced and mixed ‘Svalbard’ it into its final state. ‘Svalbard’ opens with “If”, a song which articulates the traces which these environments have left in Niklas’ mind – something pressing is present in the music. All these impressions come from a piece of music which is both melancholic and positive, something which can cradles us from anxiety. ‘Svalbard’ balances a turbulent outlook with peaceful embraces. A relationship inspired by the Norwegian archipelago – situated in the Arctic Ocean, a place where climate change – an issue dear to the German composer and his generation – is most evident.
Niklas goes on to explain that “It was after the release of “Oceanic” that I gradually developed a vision of what I wanted to achieve with my second album: with ‘Svalbard’ whilst still working with ambient music, I also explore darker and louder territories”. The island landscape provided inspiration, faced with blue and white arctic light he was compelled to an awareness of his own fragility.
The delicateness of his situation was further emphasised when he was caught outside, unaware that a -20°C storm was due to take place. “The previous day the locals had warned each other to stay inside on the following day, but I was alone and missed the warning! Moments before it had been peaceful and silent, and then suddenly there was an almighty wind that was so strong it knocked me over. I couldn’t see anything and I was absolutely petrified, but when I went back to the studio I wrote the second track of ‘Svalbard’, “Cyan””. The thrashing of the storm is present in the rhythm and textures of the piece: it impresses the feeling that one is facing the enduring power of the wind – before being forced to flee.
Listening to ‘Svalbard’ one dives into the fascinating world created by the German Artist. Here we are presented with a more mature Niklas Paschburg, aware of his purpose; an artist who has found his voice. Paschburg’s music is unique in its ability to be both melancholic and positive, an embrace to lift anxieties and encourage meditation, whilst also making the listener want to move, dance and run.
“SVALBARD” IS SET FOR RELEASE VIA 7K! ON FEBRUARY 28th
Bathing In Blue
Greece’s “synth punk” act Mechanimal (Giannis Papaioanou, Freddie Faulkenberry) unveil the first taste from their forthcoming album, Crux. “Stolen Flesh” arrives with an emotional clip shot and directed by Christos Karalias.
“Stolen Flesh” follows the single “Holy Punk” which was a teaser for what’s to come. Mechanimal’s 4th album is out January 27 via Inner Ear.
Giannis P. says about the song: “”Stolen Flesh” is dedicated to the loving memory of a dear friend we lost. It’s about how it feels when you lose a dear person: all the love unveils in its magnitude in a very painful procedure. But we remain here to keep this love and all memories alive by beautifying every little crack and detail in our everyday life.”
A survival guide in the age of regularity by listening to electronic music.
“Crux” is an in-depth exploration of the past, present, and (possible) future of everyday life with the aim of personal awakening. It focuses on an idea that can account for the melding of seemingly incompatible musical worlds and theories with respect to the mechanisms of each one of them. It could easily be described as the absolute “crossover” album of Mechanimal, or simply the one where the ideas and obsessions of its members meet at the heart of the mechanical animal.
“Crux” is the Mechanimal manifesto. It consists of electronic music, spoken word, cut-up images and videos, deconstructed slogans, ideas and actions. A multidimensional collage inspired by the harsh reality, or otherwise the violent regularity that is “enforced” (by the new music industry to home entertainment and by “fake news” to climate change), and at the same time criticized.
Believing that everything is political and that we are all guilty of what is happening, Mechanimal, without limitation, use a fragmented sound palette to describe ten stories of reality deconstructed. From the death-trap of “Ghetto Level” and the raw industrial resonances of “Easy Dead” and “Scavengers” and from the pagan techno of “Razor Tube” and “Vanquish” to the feverish post-punk of “Red Mirror”, Mechanimal want, not only to escape the inherent limitations of each genre, but also to break down the barriers that do not allow all genres to become one.
“Crux” recording sessions began in January 2019 and ended in August at the band’s own studio. This album hosts guest musicians: Jimmy Polioudis (guitars on “Sharon” and “Easy Dead”), Henrik Meierkord (cello on “Scavengers” and “La Poverina Delle Ossa”), Vasiliki Mazaraki (violin on “Scavengers” and “La Poverina Delle Ossa”) and George Theofanidis (guitars in “Red Mirror”).
Freddie Faulkenberry: Vocals
Giannis Papaioannou: Electronics & production
Antonis Charalambidis: Drums on stage
Angelica Vrettou: Album cover & art direction
1. Ghetto Level
3. Stolen Flesh
4. Easy Dead (CD)
6. Razor Tube
7. Red Mirror (CD)
8. Hospital of the Storm
10. La Poverina Delle Ossa