Grandbrothers have announced details of their third album, ‘All The Unknown’, which is set for January 15th release on City Slang, and have also shared the album’s title track.
On the leafy cover they invite the spectator to peer through the thick foliage of a hawthorn bush, seemingly powered by a similar sense of curiosity that informed this exploratory new record. Ditching the restrictions of their former setup, with their new record the Turkish-German/Swiss duo took a leap into the dense unknown—and landed on their feet.
The album maps out a wide-open soundworld of compositional possibilities for pianist Erol Sarp and producer / electronic engineer Lukas Vogel, who have been putting their modern and unique electronic spin on prepared piano since first forming in 2012. Forgoing the need to play every single note live, this new album sees the pair juxtapose the old and new once again, venturing further into the electronic cosmos armed with a grand piano, self-built computer-controlled mechanics, and a new sense of latitude.
The debut single and title track from the album “All The Unknown” starts out with the clanging percussive piano figures that have danced across Grandbrothers’ previous terrain, but grows with stuttering digital percussion to cast out allusions of classical romance, guided by emotive, cascading keys.
Listen to “All The Unknown”:
Listen closely to this latest album and you can hear an old-school hip-hop beat enmeshed in melodic piano, or feel the cold rush of techno fly past at lightning speed. “We wanted to leave the lovely romantic piano music behind,” explains Sarp, whose affinity with dance music has always been an influence on his writing process. Motifs of club music creep subtly into ‘All The Unknown’’s impeccably textured palette, which nonetheless uses sounds found exclusively within the piano. These sounds and samples are triggered and collected using mechanics built by Vogel and placed inside the piano, then extracted, processed and shaped beyond their original identity to create alien beeps, beats and tones. Melded these with the organic piano sounds is what fuels Grandbrothers’ creativity.
Sarp and Vogel met nearly a decade ago while studying audio and video engineering in Düsseldorf. Conceiving a project that would draw on Sarp’s piano skills while also providing a piano part for Vogel through bespoke programming and mechanical apparatus, Grandbrothers was formed. They brought their vision to life with debut album ‘Dilation’ in 2015, followed by the majestic ‘Open’; a swirling fusion of electronica and classical piano, which was released on City Slang in 2017. These days, with the pair no longer both residing in Düsseldorf, they have forged a new remote working relationship that involves a lot of back and forth and more time spent on developing ideas and producing. This new album documents that process.
“The main difference compared to the last two albums, is that we set ourselves a rule that everything needed to be created on the instrument in that moment” explains Vogel. “But now that this rule is gone, we’ve started to produce or record things on the computer which means we can stack up more layers” Sarp surmises. “Previously, it has always just been me sitting at the piano playing, but now we have three or four piano parts together, which I wouldn’t be able to play at once as it’s too many notes; it just wouldn’t be possible as I only have ten fingers. This new method has opened up worlds and given so many more opportunities to write music.”
‘All The Unknown’ will be released on January 15th 2021 via City Slang. Pre-order and streaming options can be found here: https://grandbrothers.lnk.to/AllTheUnknown
‘All The Unknown’ track list:
2. What We See
4. All the Unknown (YouTube)
5. The Goat Paradox
6. Four Rivers
11. Black Frost
13. Mourning Express
From Caribou’s forthcoming album ‘Suddenly’ out Feb 28, 2020 on City Slang and Merge : https://caribou.lnk.to/suddenly
Taken from the upcoming album ‘Voyage Voyage’ : https://COMA.lnk.to/VoyageVoyage
With their debut album ‘On Reflection’ set for physical release Dec 14th via City Slang, Selling, the joint project of Gold Panda & Jas Shaw of Simian Mobile Disco are sharing a new video for album standout track “Dicker’s Dream”.
Directed by Tilly Shiner, the video was filmed around London, Essex & Japan using an iPhone, binoculars and gaffa tape. Tilly comments “I used a very DIY approach to capture footage on the street; everyday stuff, small details, the banal and beautiful.”
Gold Panda adds “In ‘Dicker’s Dream’, Tilly allows us to take a close-up look at people going about their daily business.
We are not voyeurs to anything illicit, instead we are given a glimpse of everyday and ordinary moments.
We watch people crossing roads, jogging, walking dogs, passing-by. We witness people getting caught in the rain or pausing to smoke. We see them check the time, wait for the lights to change, or a fish to bite.
They are at risk of being ‘caught’ on camera and identified, but we are only given fragments of their lives before they are whisked away by a passing train”
Watch “Dicker’s Dream” above. ‘On Reflection’ is available digitally now.
Τwo giants of the electronic word, Derwin Dicker, aka Gold Panda, and Jas Shaw, one half of Simian Mobile Disco join forces to form Selling. The duo’s debut album ‘On Reflection‘ is available digitally now & set for physical release on Dec 14th via City Slang.
The decision to release the record immediately digitally was informed, in part, by the fact that Selling currently have no plans to tour or play live. Earlier this year, Jas Shaw was diagnosed with AL amyloidosis, and is receiving chemotherapy treatment – which currently severely limits his ability to travel, and as a result of which Simian Mobile Disco had to cancel their touring for 2018. We’re happy to report that Jas’ treatment is going well so far, and he hopes to return to playing live in 2019.
Across its concise nine tracks and 42 minutes, ‘On Reflection’ showcases the duo’s full mastery of the genre, moving seamlessly from undulating, driving washed-out techno to sweet, shimmering electronics.
Derwin recognises lead single “keeping txme” as the point where the two felt they had really nailed down the creative process. “It was the 15th or 16th track we made but it was the first track where we did it and it felt finished as soon as we were done. And then it was like, ‘this is good, let’s do more.”
It’s easy to eye collaborative records between two established artists with either a weary sigh or a degree of cynicism. In an age where a track or record seems to perform better directly in relation to how many artist names are on the digital byline, it can often feel like engineered circumstance or a desire to exponentially boost appeal comes before any natural creative endeavour. Selling is rooted in a long-standing friendship and prior creative history.
Having first met a decade ago, the two have prior history together: Jas has mixed two Gold Panda records, including the breakthrough debut ‘Lucky Shiner’. In between, Gold Panda and SMD played shows together in the UK, US and Japan. So further collaboration was a natural progression, but as Derwin notes, not an inevitable one: “We talked about ‘we should just get together and make some tunes some day’. But you always say that with people and it never happens”, he notes, wryly.
Happily though, the truism was dispelled. For Jas, the appeal was two-fold. “Selling was made for fun, really as an excuse to get Derwin to come to my house and drink tea. I like to think that enjoyment is audible in the record”, he notes. Additionally, Jas was drawn into working with someone who could offer a different way of creating in the studio, given he already has a successful and enjoyable partnership with his lifelong Simian Mobile Disco partner James Ford. “I have always enjoyed how natural and unschooled Derwin’s approach to music is. I know that sounds like some sort of veiled insult but it’s not at all, electronic music is littered with well constructed, sensibly arranged tracks that follow a logical harmonic theme, almost all of that music can get fucked.”
From Derwin’s side, having a collaborator for the first time was appealing. “I’ve always been a solo artist, so it’s a lot. When you work on your own, you’re highly critical of what you make because it’s all yours, and there’s no one else to enjoy it with. It can feel like work very quickly.”
‘On Reflection’ ultimately grew from a series of sounds and ideas that were quickly recorded and then edited down to their purest form. It’s a record that exists in spontaneity and quick, gut decisions rather than any sort of laboriously plotted selection of notes and sounds.
Made in Jas’ studio, which is a converted barn at his home in Kent, the record was made “in between eating sandwiches”,Jas confides. Put together at a leisurely pace, Derwin would visit a few days at a time and the two would split their time between making tunes, walking Jas’ two greyhounds and visiting a local farm shop each day. “They’ve got this farm shop called Macknades, and it’s incredible”, sighs Derwin wistfully. “We’d go there everyday and get fresh bread and cheese. A lot of cheese was eaten. Oh, and fudge.”
Touching on how the record was formed, Jas adds “The heart of the record is [Hardware sequencer] Cirklon, it’s such a brilliant sequencer. Unusually we didn’t use the pallet of Gold Panda, which is MPC-driven, or SMD, which is modular synth driven. We started most tracks out with quite cheap 90s rack-mount synths, the type that can be bought on ebay for 30 quid. Even though these are totally digital they really have a distinctive character to them, kind of grainy and shit but in a charming way. Obviously there was a bit of synth stuff, we were not adhering to any rules but I usually think that choosing a palette of sounds to start with gives you a good chance of getting a cohesive record.”
“It’s the most immediate and natural record I’ve ever made,” concedes Derwin. “I never thought I would be a collaboration person, but I guess it’s finding the right person to make a record with.”
Derwin explains “We didn’t make this for a label or something. Initially, it was just us mucking around. There was no plan to make an album. Originally I thought we were going to make a track here and there and stick them out on vinyl. But then, we had an album that sounded quite good and it was like ‘well if we have an album’s worth of stuff, maybe we should just release it’. It became a thing, I suppose.”
“But we’ll quit if it becomes a smash hit record.”
Purchase ‘On Reflection’ here: https://selling.lnk.to/OnReflection
Ahead of their European Tour, Grandbrothers have shared an atmospheric and visually striking new video for “From a Distance”, taken from the group’s latest album Open, which was released on October 20th via City Slang.
Speaking about the video, director Dan Medhurst said: “The film is a loose adaptation of the ancient Greek myth of Sisyphus who struggled to push a large rock up a mountain only for it to roll back down and for him to start again each day. It tells a tail of eternal struggle for our lead character (played by Mark Wingett) who appears to be locked in a convoluted journey for victory, but ultimately ends up back where he started. It also plays with the concept of eternal recurrence; That the universe and all existence has already occurred and will continue to reoccur infinitely. I chose to shoot in the Brecon Beacons at night to emphasize a feeling of total isolation. We used a high powered custom built LED attached to a drone to light our character and shot on 50 year old, Russian anamorphic lenses to create haunting, unusual visuals which play with the idea of distance and anonymity.”
Watch the video for “From a Distance” here:
Grandbrothers recently announced details of their second album, ‘Open’ (due Oct 20th on City Slang) along with the enchanting track “Bloodflow”. Today they share a new version of the track, remixed by Lone, and announce more live dates including a string of shows with Bonobo this Autumn.
Grandbrothers are the sum of unique parts: progressive Swiss engineer/mechanic/sofware designer Vogel and German-Turkish pianist Sarp. Their second album ‘Open’ twins Sarp’s piano skills with Vogel’s talent for both building the formidably intricate mechanics with which he exploits his partner’s instrument and also designing its software. Sarp works at his ivory keyboard while, from behind his own computer keys, Vogel live-samples his partner’s notes, triggering further effects with the aid of homemade apparatus that physically manipulate the piano’s strings and body. “There are hammers I control,” he explains, “which hit different parts to make beats and percussive patterns. In the beginning, I just used an open circuit board I’d constructed without a proper case. It was very fragile and often didn’t work. We always had a soldering-iron when we played live.”
Düsseldorf duo Grandbrothers have signed to City Slang for the release of their second album, ‘Open’, which is to be released on October 20th 2017, and have confirmed live dates including a London headline show. Now, they share a first taste of the new record with enchanting track “Bloodflow” and an accompanying video.
Marius Lauber AKA Roosevelt released his self-titled debut album via City Slang last fall to much acclaim, with Entertainment Weekly proclaiming Roosevelt is “Breaking Big,” Last Call With Carson Daly interviewing him in a Snap Shot feature, and wide praise from The Guardian, Pitchfork, NPR Music, The Wall Street Journal, Stereogum, Paste, Clash, DJ Mag, The Independent, Dummy, and more. Today, Roosevelt announced the Remixed 2 EP, out May 12th, 2017 on City Slang, sharing the Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) remix of album single “Moving On.” Lauber says, “Feels good to finally have a retouch by the guy who signed me on his record label 4 years ago.” Listen here:
Along with the Greco-Roman label co-founder Joe Goddard,the new EPfeatures remixes by German legend and inspiration Justus Kohncke, fellow Cologne dance stars Andhim, US re-edit king Brennan Green, and personal friends Moscoman and Cleveland. Tracklist below.
Roosevelt – who sold-out multiple dates, including 2 NYC shows, on his first ever headlining U.S. tour last fall – returns stateside for a brief run before playing Governors Ball and crossing the pond again for festival season. A full itinerary is listed below. Roosevelt also recently shared the Hector Prats-directed video for “Moving On”: https://youtu.be/-4FWJmHfLC0
Written, recorded and produced by Lauber over a period of two years, Roosevelt the album is a pillow-soft hallucinatory dreamscape of nocturnal reveries and a lilting sense of melancholia, where sounds build and swell like waves. From a pinch of French electro pop, a smattering of LA yacht rock, the hypnotic repetition of German pioneers like Ash Ra Tempel/Manuel Göttsching, and Neu!, to classic floor-friendly 80s pop from Chic, Talk Talk, and New Order, even Todd Terje and Metro Area are all weaved into his own unique sonic tapestry.
Remixed 2 EP tracklist:
1. Moving On (Joe Goddard Remix)
2. Moving On (Andhim Remix)
3. Wait Up (Moscoman)
4. Fever (Justus Kohncke Remix)
5. Heart (Cleveland Remix)
6. Belong (Brennan Green Remix)
After the release of his third album ‘Good Luck And Do Your Best’ in May, followed by a year of worldwide live shows, a surprise EP release (June’s ‘Kingdom’ EP) and the release of a photography book in collaboration with London-based photographer Laura Lewis, Gold Panda ends 2016 with a new EP and a headline show at London’s Oval Space on December 6th.
The EP, ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning’, comes out this Friday November 18th via City Slang and features remixes by Fort Romeau, John Roberts & Daisuke Tanabe – more information below.
To accompany the EP announcement, Gold Panda has shared a new video for title-track ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning’. Filmed in Norwich Arts Centre by Robbie Knox, the video was edited by and features imagery from Gold Panda’s touring visual artist Dan Tombs, who has also worked with the likes of East India Youth, Jon Hopkins and Blanck Mass and has spent the majority of this year touring with and developing the Gold Panda live show.
Watch ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning’ here:
The ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning’ EP will be available as a 6 track collection both digitally and on CD and also as a limited edition 3 track 12″ featuring the key remixes. The digital and CD six-track collection is led by the elegiac, hopeful final track from his album ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning’, an emotional masterpiece pieced together from heart-tugging piano stabs and soulful trumpets. The song is backed up with a re-imagining of album highlight ‘Chiba Nights’ that is flipped into ‘Chiba Days’, plus three remixes of music taken from his latest LP by a talented and varied cast.
Having previously re-worked the Panda track ‘Community’, Berlin-resident Fort Romeau once again takes the reigns with a gorgeous, nine-minute pulsing, percussion driven recreation of the track ‘Time Eater’ complete with ghostly synth motifs that twirl around Japanese instrumentation culminating in a frenetic release. US producer John Roberts, who himself released one of the best deep house records of the year, remixes ‘Chiba Nights’, transforming it into a thumping, acid-tinged affair that mixes space and warped electronics beautifully.
Finally, the contemplative ‘Song For A Dead Friend’ is taken on by Japanese musician Daisuke Tanabe, whose wide ranging musical influences of electronica, folk and jazz all come to bear on this track. Radically different to the two that run prior to it on the 12”, it’s more akin to the likes of Boards of Canada and Plaid, as it slowly ebbs to a wistful conclusion over three different musical phases. The final track on the ‘Your Good Times Are Just Beginning ’EP is a cover of ‘Time Eater’ by the Korean-based duo Sssigghborggg that also features the talents of Luna who performing the traditional Korean stringed instrument, gayageum on the track. The gorgeous, slightly eerie take on the original is rooted in post rock but has a unique beauty all to itself, as it unfurls to a dense, math-rock psychedelic jam.
As well as this, Gold Panda has also recently released a photography book with London-based photographer Laura Lewis entitled ‘Good Look And Do Your Best’, which is the counterpart to his highly acclaimed recent album of the same name. The pair set out to capture the rich sounds, moods and colours of suburban Japan that they had fallen so in love with during a trip in 2014, which became a catalyst for the record. It is available at selected shops and online via Bandcamp.
See Gold Panda live:
Nov 26th – Neon Lights Festival, Singapore SI
Dec 6th – Oval Space, London UK