on life, music etc beyond mainstream



Manafonistas Head Quarter: Steve Tibbetts, why did you decide to eleminate electric guitars from this record?


Steve Tibbetts: I just thought about rehearsing with it and figured that my neighbors downstairs would probably run up and shoot off my fingers.


M.H.Q.: Northern Song is a transition of music into silence.


S.T.: I thought if iI´d ever use silence as a color, now was the time.


M.H.Q.: The album´s cover is unforgettable. Whose idea was it to work with these amazing vintage effects?


S.T.: First there was this more or less normal picture of a street scene of the northern outskirts of Minneapolis. We liked the atmosphere, but we knew the final kick would still miss. We discussed for hours or so and then made a break. We went to a small coffee bar next corner and had some sandwiches and tea. Suddenly this girl entered the room with her mother. They sat at the table next to ours, the girl who was around twelve years old and showed her school stuff to her mother. The homework in her art class was to invent different kinds of countries as outlines and to put it on fotos to create an irritating effect. Her name war Nikita, she had short black hair and a pale face and wore a black t-shirt. She seemed to be very ambitious, as she talked about it. As her mother did not seem interested, she had a look at us, Marc Anderson, Manfred Eicher and me. Then she discovered the foto on the table we sat around. It´s great, she said. She came to our table. What are your plans with this? We told it to her. She said, „I love music, I don´t know yours, but „Trouble in Paradiese“ by Randy Newman which was just released. Is it similar?“ She laid some of her countries on our foto trying how it would look best. „This is a kind of Canada,“ she said and put it in the middle of the road. „This is where you get when you drive ahead this street, to the north, the horizon. But there is this vision of Italy I´ve never been to. And something torn in the sky. These are my dreams. Do you like it?“ „I do,“ I said, „it would perfectly fit.“ „I´ll give it to you as a present,“ she said. Marc and Manfred were enthusiastic about it as well. So, that´s the story behind. Never told it before.


M.H.Q.: Thanks so much. Our readers will appreciate it.


Steve Tibbetts / Marc Anderson: Northern Song, ECM 1982
Side A:

The Big Wind
Aerial View

Side B:

Nine Doors/Breathing Space

This entry was posted on Sonntag, 3. Mai 2015 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    This record is wonderful, but out of print. You can download it. My idea was Steve and Marc would reinvent it at the next Punktfestival. It won’t happen. And after ten years, I won’t happen, too:) Ten years is enough. I always prefer listening music at home on a good sound system instead of visting live concerts, except I drink a beer with nice people afterwards! Or Neil Young (few others) is (are) on stage:).

    By the way, did you dream this interview? I don’t get the thing with the holes, too. Seems to be a magic trick, and sometimes (more than sometimes I love not to understand (everything). Did you have think that people who know nearly everything are quite boring. The could be sucked up by books and turn into the dust of og Egyptian libraries.

  2. Martina Weber:

    I bought the record (vinyl) a few days ago, used, but in excellent condition. I couldn´t stop listening.

    The interview is a mixture between research and vision. Call it a dream. There is one thing (at least one, probably several things) in the third answer that doesn´t fit in reality. You know what it is? (You could know it or check it. Everyone could.)

  3. Martina Weber:

    Okay, es war zu schwierig. Hier die Auflösung, mit der ich journalistisch korrekt einen Hinweis darauf liefern wollte, dass die 3. Antwort mit einer gewissen Vorsicht zu genießen ist: Northern Song erschien im Jahr 1982. Die Gespräche über das Cover müssten also spätestens irgendwann im Jahr 1982 stattgefunden haben. Die von Nikita erwähnte Platte „Trouble in Paradise“ von Randy Newman erschien im Januar 1983. Da Nikita davon sprach, dass die Newman-Platte gerade erschienen ist, gibt es in der Story einen nicht auflösbaren Zeitsprung.

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