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
Niklas Paschburg Releases Hypnotic Video for ‘Anew’. The video uses footage from legendary surfer and filmaker Bruce Brown’s ‘THE ENDLESS SUMMER’.
Niklas Paschburg was born in Hamburg in 1994 – but he knows how to charm and bewitch with melodies and notes; mesmerising sounds and a cinematic atmosphere, intense crescendi and a pop flavour that moves and fascinates. Following his first EP “Tuur mang Welten”, he released his debut album ‘Oceanic’ with 7K! back on in February: a moving trip full of both melancholy and energy; twelve instrumental songs between neo-classical, ambient and electronic music, inspired by nature.
The video for ‘Anew’ uses original footage from a short film shot legendary surfer and filmmaker Bruce Brown, who became famous for producing and shooting much of the film footage for ‘The Endless Summer.’ It features skateboarding manoeuvres performed by a group of young boys, using slow motion and a variety of camera-angles which were not typical in 60’s.
Paschburg’s story is intriguing: Paschburg spent as much time as possible on the coast throughout the past year, catching the mood, breathing in the sea breeze, listening to the constant flow of the waves and transposing it all into his music. This period was a defining experience for the young German composer, grown up as a pianist and then attracted by the so-called “neo-classical scene”: “As a teenager I used to listen to Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Hauschka and all that world, and my EP was influenced by those artists. Then I moved in other directions: for my first record I really wanted to make something different, something between piano, classical and electronic music, but also with some pop flavours incorporated – not in harmonies, but in the songs’ structure”.
The result is a soundtrack of a landscape with echoes of Bonobo and Kiasmos, on the electronic side, and with Bon Iver as Paschburg’s main pop reference, co-produced and mixed by Gijs van Klooster (who has previously worked with Joep Beving and Tom Trago). And another feather in the cap for 7K!, the hub launched by the Berlin-based company !K7, to promote neo-classical, ambient and experimental music.
28th October – SIlent Green Kulturquartier, Berlin (Germany)
31st October – E-Werk, Erlangen (Germany)
22nd November – Šv. Kotrynos bažnyčia, Vilnius (Lithuania)
5th Decemver – Nochtwache, Hamburg (Germany)
23rd January – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht (Netherlands)
25th January – Westerliefde, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Following his first EP ‘Tuur Mang Welten,’ 23 year-old Niklas Paschburg is poised to release his debut album ‘Oceanic ’ on 7K! on 9 February 2018: a moving trip full of both melancholy and energy; twelve instrumental songs between neo-classical, ambient and electronic music, inspired by nature.
To compose and record of the album Paschburg decamped to the Baltic Sea. The story is intriguing: he spent as much time as possible on the coast throughout the past year, taking in the mood, breathing in the sea breeze, listening to the constant flow of the waves and transposing it all into music.
This period was a defining experience for the young German composer, grown up as a pianist and then attracted by the so-called “neo-classical scene”, listening to Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Hauschka and other peers. Yet he comments, “for my first record I really wanted to make something different, something between piano, classical and electronic music, but also with some pop flavours incorporated – not in harmonies, but in the songs’ structure”.