Major label’s aren’t necessarily on my musical radar, so it was only by chance that I found about the new project by Moritz von Oswald (hat tip to Matthias!) In recent years, the dub techno veteran was involved in several collaborations, ranging from rather unlikely reworks of classical material to his fairly recent album with Juan Atkins. For his latest record, he teamed up with Norwegian jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and the project was released on Universal earlier this month.
A few minutes into my first listen, and my mind already plays an updated version of Louie Malle’s 1958 movie Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, based in the cold concrete landscape of 21st century Berlin. The comparison is as simple and obvious as it might sound: Molvaer’s playing is taking the part of the original Miles Davis soundtrack, while von Oswald’s doings add a sense of reverbing urban night life. That said, one might argue whether the record would’ve worked better as an actual soundtrack, but in the end that depends on your listening habits or your willingness to submit yourself to an album of one kind of sound. To make up your mind, head over to German website Die Zeit for a full album stream.
1/1 was released earlier this month and is available on vinyl, CD and digital.
1. Electric Garden (Original Mix)
2. Electric Garden (Deep Jazz In The Garden Mix)
4. Mars Garden
5. Digital Forest
According to the records, the paths of legendary producers Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald first crossed in the early nineties, when the latter and Thomas Fehlmann invited the Detroit techno innovator for their 3MB project. By 1995, von Oswald remixed at least twomore Atkins productions, so a collaborative album was somehow a logical step to follow. Fast forward two decades later and that’s exactly what is about to happen, as Berlin’s Tresor label is readying an album by the two.
Titled Borderland, it will be available on June 24 as limited three part vinyl series and a CD release . You can listen to snippets of the record above!
I didn’t expect another record with remixes of last year’s Recomposed album, but being a big fan of Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, I’m glad about the news. The first volume included remixes from Ricardo Villalobos and Carl Craig himself, now it’s Moritz von Oswald and François Kevorkian stepping up.
On the A-side comes a dancefloor-oriented collaboration between Kevorkian and Oswald. The flipside holds a solo mix from Oswald, reminiscent of his Rhythm & Sound output – quite dubby with very subtle use of percussion.
Even before Deutsche Grammophon‘s Recomposed by Carl Craig & Moritz von Oswald was out, rumours of Ricardo Villalobos remixes made the round. This week, a 12-inch finally proved this to be true – at least one Villalobos remix accompanied by another by Carl Craig made it on the record. As you can expect, both are taking the material originally written by Mussorgsky and Ravel and transform it into more dancefloor-oriented versions, and both break the 10 minutes limit easily. If you ask me, they should’ve added an Isolée remix as well.
The third installment of Deutsche Grammophon‘s Recomposed series comes from techno godfathers Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald (Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound). Together the joint forces of Detroit and Berlin put their hands on classical material from Maurice Ravel and Modest Mussorgsky. Now, I would understand anybody’s scepticism towards such projects, but Craig and von Oswald treat the samples with respect, using them to compose their own arrangements, slowly progressing into an electronic, orchestral something. Still, though parts from Ravel and Mussorgsky are present, the final outcome resembles more the works from the likes of Steve Reich, Philip Glass or last year’s album-collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Christian Fennesz. Whether it’s how Carl and Moritz reacted to each other, or it’s just the awstruck the originals may have caused – together they achieve to create a new exciting sound which is neither much like any Carl Craig or Basic Channel production.
The album consists of an introduction six Movements and one more interlude, but basically it should be considered as a whole, one track. Having had access to Deutsche Grammophon‘s immense back-catalogue, Craig and von Oswald picked the works Rapsodia Espanola (Ravel) and Bilder einer Ausstellung (Pictures of an Exhibition, Mussorgsky). What a struggle it must have been whether to attempt Bolero or not!01. Intro
02. Movement I
03. Movement II
04. Movement III
05. Movement IV
07. Movement V
08. Movement VI
So how do you review this? It’s difficult! Basically you either like it or not, but you definitely have to take time for a good listen to get a chance to like it. As I said, think of it as one track – you don’t have a skip button anywhere, it’s a one hour journey. And that’s why Recomposed works so well, because it takes its time to build up a performance. The standout track is clearly Carl Craig‘s Movement V, the absolute climax of the journey, perfectly combining the two worlds of electronic and classical music. Everything before was a just-but-necessary introduction to that point. Oh, rumour has it that Ricardo Villalobos was asked to do a remix of this. The finale is von Oswald‘s attempt on this combination of the old and the new. Movement VI blends in and turns the performance in a new, a more ambient direction with soft strings and a conga-beat.
Not quite news, but prior to the album release, the two collaborators have been performing live with a classical ensemble at Berlin’s Staatsballet. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to track down any footage from the performance, but with Carl Craig releasing live-recordings recently – maybe one of the tracks will make it on a release?
Now how will you get Recomposed? There’s the standard CD, but also a very beautiful vinyl double longplayer. Suprisingly, digital downloads are not available from Deutsche Grammophon‘s own web-shop, but you can buy a copy on iTunes.
Oct 29, 2008 here is a video of Carl Craig performing with orchestra in Paris