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Das, was ihr im folgenden findet, ist ein Teil meines „Interviews“ mit dem Mann, der hinter dem fantastischen Album „Craven Standers“ steht. Eine weitere Passage daraus wird zu hören sein in meiner Ausgabe der „Klanghorizonte“ am 20. Juli im Deutschlandfunk, um 21.05 Uhr.

At the beginning of that radio hour, you will  hear a track from the forthcoming album from Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset.  Jan‘s background story will inspire you, amongst everything else, to give Miles Davis‘s „In A Silent Way“ another deep listen.

Jan Bang & Eivind Aarset  

Dudu Tassa & Jonny Greenwood
Old And New Dreams
Rickie Lee Jones
Nils Økland & Sigbjørn Apeland
Josephine Forster
Matthew Herbert
PJ Harvey
Craven Faults: Standers


And, when at the end, the curtain falls with Craven Standers, Craven‘s words may lead to another look into your archive, for Can‘s „Future Days“. Holger Czukay once called the album “an electric symphony group performing a peaceful, though sometimes dramatic landscape painting”.




Michael Engelbrecht
: Hello, „Craven“! You’re a bit of an enigma. I don‘t mind if you just speak into an iPhone or ancient Neumann microphone to lift the fog of your anonymity (you would stay anonymous anyway, cause who would identify you here in Germany, except your are Brian Eno or John Foxx. So, think twice…) Sam Richards‘s review in UNCUT is utterly brilliant, by the way. When Brian worked on ON LAND (another album with an archaic vibe of nature), he felt Miles Davis‘s HE LOVED HIM MADLY as a hugely inspiring track (the mix, the space). Can you name an album or composition that you have a similar feeling for, a kind of soulmate work, even a blueprint for STANDERS, in regards to a certain aspect of the music? And tell a bit around that affinity? In addition, can you name five desert island pieces or tracks, or albums that you can listen to again and again, and tell what you find so fascinating about them?

Craven Faults: There is no single album or piece of music that could be seen as a blueprint for Standers. Each individual track on the album probably takes inspiration from several sources. I don’t really think about anyone else’s music when I am writing and recording, it’s only later in the process, or afterwards when the tracks are finished that the influences appear to me. My own music comes from listening to other music, I’m sure this is the same for every musician, what goes in will come out, and I have an eclectic store of inspirational music inside me. I also didn’t really think of the album as a whole when I was working on it, it’s a collection of disparate parts which slowly came together to form a single entity. There are always, with every release, tracks that are left behind and many unfinished pieces. Just as there was no single piece of work that inspired Standers, there was also no overall plan or vision for how I wanted it to sound. It developed as I went along.





1. Can – Future Days. Probably the single most influential track on all the music I have made over the years. The rhythm is key, the way drums, sounds and instruments interlock. The end section where the band play on top of a speeded up version of the track, the different tempos from 32nd beats to a single bass note every 4 bars. The way it fades in at the start, almost unfolding and opening up to release new sounds over several minutes, the slightly unclear audio quality, the edits, everything is perfect. Future Days is simply one of so many wonderful pieces by Can, who are, and have been since the 1980’s my favourite, most inspiring group of musicians.

2. Pink Floyd – Interstellar Overdrive. A piece I have listened to regularly since the 1970’s when I was quite young. Syd Barrett was one of my first musical heroes. I came to the music first, without knowing anything about his health problems and difficulties, and I think about Syd and his music often. Syd was also a great guitar player, Interstellar Overdrive appears random, free, but I think the more you listen, the more you begin to understand that it is creativity through controlled spontaneity, Syd knew what he was doing. Controlling the music but allowing it to guide you is part of my own methodology. (I feel as though this track is almost a blessing, that EMI could have said no ‘freak-out music’ on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn!).

3. The Beach Boys – Cabinessence. I could have chosen Surf’s Up, Cool Cool Water, Trader, All This Is That, The Lonely Sea, Let The Wind Blow, ’Til I Die, any number of songs… I have periodic Beach Boys obsessions, the current one has been continuing since last summer. A band I have almost infinite patience for, I even enjoy the songs I don’t like (I realise that makes no sense!) It started for me with the Smile sessions, bootleg tapes acquired in the 1980’s. Cabinessence is representative of a large body of work, the structures, edited sections, constructions. Brian Wilson’s description of ‘feels’, song ideas, unfinished sections of songs, works in progress. It’s this idea of ‘feels’ that I personally identify with. (I also love Surfin’ USA, Little Deuce Coupe etc too)

4. International Harvester – Skordetider. I could have chosen almost anything from Parson Sound through to Trad Gras och Stenar, also anything from Arbete och Fritid or Archimedes Badkar etc? Discovering the late 1960’s/early 1970’s Swedish underground, ‘Progg Movement’ has been a revelation. This track – an outtake from Sov Gott Rose Marie LP 1968 – builds slowly and gradually over 25 minutes, guitars, bass, cello, drums etc playing simple cyclical patterns. The basic recording technique, 2 microphones in a room whilst the band play live. The drums, so simple and so perfectly placed. The drummer – Thomas ‘Mera’ Gartz (1944-2012), multi-instrumentalist, brought beauty to most everything he did.

5. Terry Riley – Poppy Nogood.  Another one I have listened to regularly since the late 1970’s, it still fascinates. Another long piece (whichever version, they’re all good) which seemingly changes very little but in fact is constantly moving and altering. A perfect symbiosis of musician, instruments and technology – the tape recorder. The tape recorder is simultaneously a simple device and also very complex. This track could be why I use tape recorders (I have a pair of Revox B77s amongst other things) for sound processing, echo effects that are not sync’d to the track tempo and generate new harmonics and rhythmical complexities. It is an experimental piece in which the final result is as important, or more important than the process. It is not simply an experiment which investigates the processes regardless of the outcome.


(If I were to add a 6th track it would be The Velvet Underground – Sister Ray, or maybe some late 60’s English folk-rock, or Indian classical music, or something from composer Charles Ives.)


Thank you so much, i hope this post arrives at your place in the wide, wide north of England. Michael. By the way, Trad Gras och Stenar is a favourite of mine from the Swedish Underground! 



Robert Forster‘s new album, „The Candle and The Flame“, took shape in quite strange ways, lingering around a dark time for his family, and it ended up in a collection of heartbreakers, power pieces, singalongs (nearly), lifers, growers, invocations, „deep sinkers“, „straight rollers“, and road meditations.



The most exciting thing for me (as someone who followed the Go-Betweens and their „in-between“ solo albums from the first longplayer onwards) is how easily Robert seems to wander and stroll through different periods of his life, from teenage angst and dreams, over the sophisticated folk pop of the salad days (all the spaces between rural hinterland, his romantic days in Regensburg, to 16, Lovers Lane), towards the ways of looking back, with a sharp eye and a decent quantum of sepia tinged sincerity.



There‘s a cinematic feeling all over the place on this beautiful album. It‘s hard to not stop in the tracks at certain moments that, a gift of these pieces, come back to you  again and again, enchanting as they are!




Das Piano ist ein ganz spezielles Instrument für mich. Es ist das erste Instrument, das ich lernte, und mein Vater und meine Mutter waren verliebt in den Klang. Die Lieblingsmusik meines Vaters waren Glenn Goulds Bach-Interpretationen, und für meine Mutter überwiegend Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett und Nina Simone. Ich wuchs auf mit dem Klang des Pianos, meine Eltern spielten darauf, und obwohl ich bislang nie Musik für ein Klavier geschrieben hatte, war mir dieser Sound des „Zuhause-Seins“ unheimlich vertraut.

Was das „Drumming betrifft, gab ich mir die Freiheit zu spielen oder nicht zu spielen, je nachdem was das jeweilige Stück verlangte. Im wesentlichen sollte es eine Art Solo-Piano-Album sein, mit unserem alten Hausklavier, und ein paar Spuren des Schlagwerks. Eines meiner Lieblingsalben – auch da spielt der Raum eine besondere Rolle – ist Thelonious Monks „Alone In San Francisco“. Mich störte die Idee nicht im geringsten, für diese Arbeit nur wenige eigene Klänge aktiv beizusteuern. Mit Kit Downes sprach ich lange über den Umgang mit den Pedalen, und dass die Musik nie über eine bestimmte Dynamik hinausgehen sollte, um idealerweise  in einer besonderen Schwingungszone zu verweilen. 

Das Stück „This Tune Your Ears Will Never Hear“ war das letzte Stück, das ich schrieb, aber es sollte den Anfang des Albums markieren. Ich sehe das Stück als eine Art Torweg, fast wie eine Begleitung meines Vaters auf seiner nächsten Etappe. Zugleich spielte diese andere Empfindung hinein: wenn du ein Elternteil verlierst, kann es sich anfühlen, als wäre man ein kleines Kind, das in den Abgrund ruft … so there are some lines in the tune that represent that to me.

Obwohl wir geplant hatten, das Album gemeinsam abzumischen, entwickelte es sich so, dass Manfred Eicher die Aufnahmen allein mischte, und im Grunde war es wohl genau das, was ich wollte. Ich war so nah dran an der Musik, und fühlte, dass er sich ihr auf eine Weise annehmen konnte, zu der ich nicht fähig war. Nicht nur technisch, auch aufgrund der fehlenden Aussenansicht. Als ich mir seine Abmischungen anhörte, war es fast so, als würde ich das Album zum ersten Mal hören. Als hätte ich bis dahin gar nicht realisiert, was ich wirklich gemacht hatte. Er brachte alles auf den Punkt und steigerte die Intensität vieler Details. Es erschien mir wie die stärkste Version der Musik.

Was die Raumcharakteristik des Klanges angeht, nun, wir hatten bei den Aufnahmen auch einige Raummikrofone benutzt. Zum Beispiel platzierten wir ein altes ACR-Mikrofon im Kamin, um etwas von der Resonanz des Steins hinter dem Feuerplatz einzufangen. Und das ist ein anderer Aspekt der nachträglichen Bearbeitung von Manfred, dass er dem Sound des Raumes treu blieb, ohne je darin gewesen zu sein.

Und, ja, das Stück „Silver Light“ kam mir in den Sinn, als ich im Hausflur stand … ich erinnere mich daran, wie ich nach meinem Phone greife, und die Treppe hinauf gehe Richtung Schlafzimmer … ich singe in das Phone hinein, die ganze Zeit über, während ich die Treppe hinaufgehe, und die Melodie nimmt im Nu ihre fertige Gestalt an. Ich habe die Aufnahme gespeichert, und wenn ich sie mir anhöre, klingt sie genauso wie auf dem Album. „Silver Light“ repräsentiert für mich den Moment, in dem ich mit meinem Vater zusammen war, als er starb.



The sensuality, the inventiveness – and the intricacies of a broad palette of moods and colors make „Overpass“ this solo bass work, recorded in Sao Paolo, Brazil, so outstanding. In his early years, Marc was captivated by listening to another solo bass album, meanwhile a classic, and for good reasons, Dave Holland‘s „Emerald Tears“.




Man könnte es ja auch eine Geistergeschichte nennen, und die gesammelten psychedelischen Pilze dazurechnet, die in solch einem Dschungel beheimatet sind, würde jeder Film, jede Dokumentation, auf Farbenpracht setzen. Wer nun in Xpujil und um Xpujil umherstreift, und daraus Klänge filtert, hat so viele Chancen zu scheitern. Man denke nur an die neueren Dokumentarserien von Richard Attenborough, etwa „Blue Planet 2“, die ohne Frage beeindruckend sind, aber hinsichtlich des Soundtracks stets auf Nummer sicher gehen, und beispielsweise Hans Zimmer daran zimmern lassen: da setzt die Hollywoodisierung der Wahrnehmung ein, und leicht lässt man sich gängeln von 1:1-Relationen zwischen Bild, Sound & Emotion. Die fremdeste Unterwasserwelt wird so in einen vertrauten Horizont der Ohren übertragen. Wie anders sind  da Nova Materia mit ihrem Trip durch einen von den Überresten der Maya-Kultur geprägten Dschungelabschnitt umgegangen, auf ihrem Ende Juni erscheinenden Album „Xpujil“ – hier wird nicht geraunt, geschwelgt, gewabert, in grellen Farben aufgetragen.



Wieder und wieder traut man seinen Ohren nicht, und kann nicht anders – da in Momenten der Ergriffenheit  die Sprache einfach wird, fast schon Halt sucht in einfachsten Wortreflexen – als diese Musik von Caroline Chaspoul und Eduardo Henriquez „unheimlich schön“ zu nennen, unheimlich und schön. Anbei zu hören, was Eduardo und Caroline mir über das Cover erzählten. In voller Länge von 40 Minuten ist diese Arbeit zu hören in der Radionacht Klanghorizonte am 19. Juni. Versuche am besten gar nicht, vorher im Netz irgendwelche Kostproben zu finden, lass dich am besten unvorbereitet auf diese Reise ein! Ich gebe dem Album fünf Sterne.

1 – Am Ende eines Gespräches


In my next radio night I will play a long track from Robert Ashley‘s masterpiece „Private Parts“. A special voice tells a story full of apparently marginal things (but nevertheless a meditation on life), accompanied by interesting „background music“. Recommended for your ears, Kurt, also,  because of the way you are working with  language on Showtunes.“

“The  name rings a bell, Michael. Special background music – that was the  case, too, when Bob Dylan read his speech for the Nobel Prize, just being accompanied by a piano.“

“A propos piano. In a review of Showtunes, I put your album alongside some other albums from different genres that, for me, have a similar kind of nakedness, intensity and intimacy. And one of them was a piano solo album by Paul Bley: „Open, to love“.  Go for that, Kurt, it‘s awesome midnight music.

„I will, Michael. I love ECM“.


(transcribed from memory, from yesterday‘s Zoom-interview with Kurt Wagner (Lambchop) in Nashville, Tennessee)





2 – Einige dieser Sommerabende


Der Sommer, der morgen beginnt, und obwohl er schon ein paar Tage offenkundig war, rasch wieder von einer Regenfront und kühlen Winden verprellt wird, hatte genug warme Wiesen parat, um sich darauf zu räkeln, in die neuen Kurzgeschichten von Haruki Murakami abzutauchen,  oder sich vom feinsinnigen Humor der Essays von John Green entführen zu lassen – und obendrein gab es die angenehm kühlen Abende mit verlangsamten Blicken zu den Restlichtern dieser Tage (Laternen, Abendrot, Grillkohle), sowie Alben, die, wie in alten Zeiten, zur Nacht hin, abwechselnd den Plattenteller blockierten: immer wieder „Showtunes“ von Lambchop, „Promises“ von Floating Points, und das Album mit mehr als einem Hauch einer alten Stadt der Mayas. „Every repetition is a form of change“ (Oblique Strategies, oder Heraklit, ganz wie man will).



3 – In bester Gesellschaft von „Showtunes“


Mark Hollis’ solo album, Joe Lovano’s „Trio Tapestry“, Nico‘s „The Marble Index“,  Paul Bley‘s „Open, to Love“, Brian Eno‘s  „Another Day On Earth“, Prefab Sprout‘s „I Trawl The Megahertz“, John Cale‘s „Music For A New Society“, and the last album of Jacques Brel, the one with a pale blue sky and pale white clouds



4 – Nachspiel


Trio Tapestry‘s sense of melody, space and  letting-go  is immaculate. I will always remember their first record, one of the jazz miracles of 2019. For me, it was the best album Joe Lovano ever made, with Manfred Eicher’s perfect sequencing of the tracks. Listen to the vinyl: suspense, sound and silence in perfect union. It is quite natural that this follow-up lives up to the high standard of the first meeting in New York. Now with a deeper touch of Provence pastel and colours at dusk. You can think of every jazz writing cliche of praise, from „filigree“ to „elemental“, and be sure that Lovano, Crispell and Castaldi are breathing new life into it. After the first three pieces of pure baladry (written by soul, not by the book), the appearances of sound take more and more adventurous side steps, from moments of pianistic unrest and upheaval, to an exploration of metal and sound in Castaldi‘s drum figures. A zen-like purity‘s bold pairing with an adventurous spirit. „Garden of Expression“ delivers everything with grace, selflessness and the most nuanced sense of  tempo, time standing still and a flow of undercurrents. If this sounds slightly over the top, let the music take over, dim the lights and follow the tapestries!


„Der Name des Ortes wird gern mit dem Namen der Meeresgöttin Ran in Verbindung gebracht (was wahrscheinlich völliger Blödsinn ist; Anm. v. m.e.). Rantum als Ort der Ran. Wahrscheinlicher ist jedoch die Ableitung aus der alten Schreibweise des Ortsnamens Raanteem als Ort am Rande.“ (den  Zufall sollte man ebenfalls nicht ausschliessen – random / rantum; Anm. v. m.e.)  (Wikipedia)

„Diese Kompilation zu machen, war ganz schön schwierig. Klar wollte ich (für „Film Music (1976-2020)“; erg. v. M.E.) einige sehr bekannte Stücke dabei haben, weil es seltsam wäre, etwas von meiner Filmmusik der letzten 44 Jahre vorzustellen, und die grössten Hits wegzulassen (lacht) – einige Leute würden das ziemlich enttäuschend finden. Ich wollte aber auch etwas von den weniger bekannten Arbeiten einbeziehen. Aus mehr als 200 Stücken hatte ich schliesslich eine Wahl zu treffen. Es war nicht leicht, es gab bewusste Beschränkungen, und vor alle  wollte ich ein Werk anfertigen, das man als Album von vorne bis hinten hören kann.  Meine einfache Vermutung ist, dass es immer noch Menschen gibt, die sich ganze Alben anhören willen,  statt einzelne Tracks auf Spotify. Und so entstand eine Art Suite, mit der ich ganz glücklich bin.“ (Brian Eno im Klanghorizonte Interview, Dezember 2020)








Interview with Kateryna Zavoloka, Ukranian sound artist, composer, performer, and visual artist, who is now based in Berlin. Living in Kyiv in 2006, Zavoloka founded the label Kvitnu with her partner Dmytro Fedorenko (aka Kotra) and designed and curated the visual appearance of the label’s releases, while also releasing her own music through the label. Cluster Lizard is a duo project with Dmytro Fedorenko.


I mainly became really aware of Kvitnu and of your visual design work with the release of the Pan Sonic concert album Oksastus – Live In Ukraine. It was released in 2014, but Mika and Ilpo had already ended the Pan Sonic collaboration a few years prior, so for their fans – like myself – it was a great surprise and event to hear some new music from them (and the album had been recorded at the end of their collaborative years). Can you talk a bit about how you approached that album design? An impressive artwork, it’s just as unusual for Pan Sonic as it is mysterious, opening up a really strong atmospheric world, before one actually listens to the music on the album. It’s a peculiar combination of organic, abstract and artificial elements; the image on the front reminds me of a seed of some sort of grain, but also of an egg from the movie Alien. What’s the story behind it?


We invited Pan Sonic to play at the Kvitnu_live event in 2009 in Kyiv, and it was an amazing and very powerful concert. We recorded it properly and asked them if we could release it on Kvitnu, and five years after the concert we made the double LP. The first release was on 20th of February 2014, and it was the last days of the Maidan revolution in Kyiv, Ukraine, during the clashes of protesters with Berkut special forces, police troops, and that day the snipers shot protesters. Those were the most tragic days and a transformational period for Ukraine – and of course for us, and I will remember this day forever. Pan Sonic called the release Oksastus – the Finnish word for process of grafting or cultivating of plants. That is why I decided to use some plants in the design for the artwork, I wanted to make it abstract and organic. I found the slide films of different seeds made by my grandfather Oleg Kozlov, who was a biochemist, scientist and inventor. In the 1960s he made the “scanning microscope” that could make very sharp images of very small objects like insects or seeds. So I used his slides, transformed the images and added textures and special print techniques like UV-lacquering, bronze paint and foil to create a metallic effect. The vinyls me made in white for a contrast, and Dmytro then stamped each LP label with the Pan Sonic logo by hand. Real art work.



Can you talk about the relationship between your visual work as a designer or graphic artist and your work as a musician/composer? Having the mission and the chance to come up with designs for other artists’ musical worlds must be a bit of a challenge sometimes, I guess.


I always asked musicians if they wanted anything particular, and most of the time they answered that they trusted me. While I made artworks, I always listened to their music, kind of sinesthesia. Sometimes musicians would give me some image or photo and I would transform it, and we would add some special effects, like hot foil pressing or the glitter, metallic paint, embossing or silk-print. I’d the say musicians have been happy with my designs for them, as we always would listen carefully. But we never compromised our visions of Kvitnu.


You grew up in in Kyiv when Ukraine was still a Soviet Republic – so you experienced the changes from the 80s through the challenging years after 1991. Where did your path as a visual artist and musician start?


Yes, it was during the Soviet Union, and I hated it. I was a kid when the union collapsed and Ukrainians were very happy to have independence in 1991. It’s true that those were challenging years for us, but it was wonderful; finally, we we allowed to travel abroad, have private property or make business, listen to music in the end! From my childhood I was interested in visual art and music, my father and mother were painters and designers and I went to millions of different art workshops for kids and sang in a children’s choir. Somehow from my childhood I already knew that I would design artworks for other musicians.


Then at some point in time you moved to Vienna and later to Berlin, so in a way you are now in between here and there — also artistically?


Dmytro and I moved to Vienna because we wanted to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. A year after graduation we moved to Berlin. It was the most transformational period for me. I think it is very important for any person to have such an experience, and especially for any artist. Living in other countries shifts your perception of everything, removes clichés and patterns in your head, causes tectonic transformations in your consciousness; you start to question your reality more and more, and therefore make more right choices for yourself. This is so important for creativity when you have a more clear vision, of what you want, and what you would not accept anymore. This period made me more balanced and happier after all these stormy times, and this first year in Berlin was actually shiny fruitful in my art.


Usually it’s rather the other way round: People from stable Western countries like Germany say how transformational it has been for them to live in much more unstable and messy places for a while. In what way have Vienna or Berlin had such a transformative impetus for you?


Maybe it was not very clear: I meant that moving to any other country from your own home country and living there would shift the perception and would offer you different perspectives. We moved to Vienna in 2014 to study and we lived there for five years; and in the middle of 2019 we moved to Berlin – actually, not so long before all the lockdowns. I think when you live in your homeland you have some vision of some sort of spherical happiness in a vacuum about another countries, which is not true for sure. For us, living in Austria was not stable and not comfortable at all, as for immigrants with a non-EU passport it has been extremely tough.

Transformational experiences don’t come from the country itself, but rather from extreme situations, more like a shock therapy that wakes you up, like if you plunge yourself into boiling water and then have to pull yourself out of it. My album Promeni from 2018 is about that.


So what kind of things – in art – do you not want to accept anymore?


In general, I don’t want to accept compromises with myself, I would rather think and meditate a thousand times and ask myself intuitively: does that resonate with me? Does that what I really need? And after that make better and calm decisions.


You had already several years of experience, working as an artist, working with music, sound, visuals, as well as, through the label, with lots of different musicians and artist. What caused both of you to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna?


I wanted to learn more about video and motion graphics, Dmytro had math and economy educations and wanted to study at an art academy, that’s why we applied. Well, it was my second art education, as I also used to study at Kyiv State Institute of Decorative and Applied Art and Design before, where it was more academical and technical, whereas in Vienna it was more conceptual and ideological. For artists, it is important to be free thinkers, and free from any ideology templates installed in the head by educational institutes, and I am very glad that I don’t need to study anymore.


Earlier you worked with vocals on some releases – you even made a whole collaboration album with AGF, who is a well-versed vocal artist, and I also like your remix of Колискова Для Ворога (Lullaby For The Enemy) by Стасік (Stasik).


Стасік is a young Ukrainian singer, songwriter, and a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war. She doesn’t have many songs yet, but all of them are like the sharpest knife into the heart, very strong. When Lullaby for the enemy came out, I was so strongly impressed that I immediately wrote to her and suggested making a remix. Then we decided with my partner Dmytro to release these two remixes on Kvitnu as an exclusive EP.


On my new album Ornament I also worked with my voice, but it was kind of hidden, and I didn’t want to draw attention to it, but rather work with the voice like an expressive sound source, untraceable in the sonic fabric.



On the last few albums your music on the one hand seems to have become more reduced, compositionally – but on the other hand, sound-wise, also more high-energy“. I often find a curious combination of smooth, or mellow elements in your music – while it is still very energetic, these more recent releases, too. Did living in Berlin have an influence on the new album?


I don’t think it’s influenced by Berlin, because the music came from the period of the album Syngonia, which was written around 2016. Just before that, I spent several years looking for the sound I needed. I even wanted to stop composing music, I was not satisfied and thought that I was tired. I think it’s a natural evolution, and it’s natural for an artist to have such peaks of negativity and positivity, and it’s really great to find a middle way and balance in creativity.


Right before Syngonia I was going through a difficult period. Syngonia and Promeni were the last two volumes of the series of “Purification by Four Elements: Air, Water, Earth, Fire” and I felt relieved when I finished them. Ornament was written in 2019–2020 and is a stand-alone album with a different concept, where ornament is the coding element for the unique algorithm that modulates an intention, path, state, and a space.


Since you commented on your art or process becoming clearer: The artwork of Ornament is probably your most reduced and minimalist cover – at the same time it also seems to be inspired by some sort of extreme contrast, it’s almost aggressive.


The artwork of Ornament is more minimalist because I wanted to make it like a colourful contrast of extreme states of consciousness, where balance is the key. As it is contrasting sonically.


The album is very contrasting in atmospheres and in sound, it is like travel.


And Prophecy, the 2018 Cluster Lizard album, was the last one you recorded in Vienna? What’s the main idea behind it? I notice the tracks are quite long (as are the track titles, which are quotes from poetry). What kind of prophecy does the album title refer to?


Prophecy is like a message of revelation. The tracks are as long as their poetic titles, we wanted to create narrative atmospheres, sonic trip.


So Kvitnu has been running since 2006 with around 70 releases. So what caused you to start another label, Prostir, in 2018? 


Yes, we started Kvitnu in 2006 in Kyiv and made it for 14 years, until 2020. At first, it was only for Ukrainian experimental electronic music, but soon we received so many demos from around the world, so Kvitnu became international. We helped many musicians to release their music, it was truly an honour for us to discover wonderful artists and to help them from the heart. We have decided to close Kvitnu, because it was an art project, like an art movie with a good ending. We already heard several melancholic stories about other labels, and it was extremely important for us to make a positive finale at the highest peak of development. We became friends with our artists, we have a very grateful audience, and the release of Kotra & Zavoloka Silence became the final endless silent loop with the question written on the EP label: What do you hear, how much you hear nothing?“

Prostir me and Dmytro started in 2018 for only our own music and arts with the second release by Cluster Lizard, Prophecy. So it was natural that I wanted to release my solo album Ornament there. We consider Prostir not only as a music label but also as an art space (“prostir” / “простір” means “space” in Ukrainian) for any other art forms and other dimensions we might imagine.


Which direction would you like to see your music moving towards?


Our plan is to release the new Cluster Lizard album, which will sound different from our previous albums. We already composed several tracks. Dmytro has played on his guitar and bass with various effect processors and pedals, so the new album will sound more bright and fresh. And after we finish the album, I want to compose for my solo work – I have some thoughts already.


How is your view on the situation among your friends in Ukraine today? Would you consider moving back sometime, or do you think the political situation is too dire — and you prefer to stay in Berlin?


We moved to Berlin for music. Now, of course, it’s a bit quiet everywhere, but I hope it will change soon. Somehow now I play more often in Ukraine than before and love to travel there. And I am very glad that so many very good events and professional promoters have appeared in recent years; it’s wonderful! As any Ukrainian has a cherry-blossom garden in their heart, whenever I will be bored here, I will move back.



Finally, which music has been the most evocative and inspiring for you in 2020?


For me, 2020 has been precious as the most productive and intense year in my own music and I believe for other artists too. I liked the new albums of my friends – Kotra’s Namir and Ujif_Notfound’s Neumatonic. Amazing new album by Liturgy, Origin of the Alimonies, Simon Posford‘s Flux & Contemplation – Portrait of an Artist in Isolation, and Extrawelt’s Little We Know and many others. Of older music, I opened for myself this year Japanese collective Geinoh Yamashirogumi and the last album by Jack White, Boarding House Reach, and Muslimgauze’s Salaam Alekum, Bastard are great.

I think we are currently in a time of beautiful transitions and transformations in music.

The conversation between Kateryna Zavoloka and IJ.Biermann, was conducted in Berlin, in December 2020.

2020 28 Aug

Ein nie wahrgenommener Satz

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Als ich den Text fertigstellte zur Wiederveröffentlichung von „Wrong Way Up“ (s. „From the archives“), las ich auch quer über andere Texte zum Album, und staunte nicht schlecht, als ich über eine Songzeile stolperte, die ich nie bewusst wahrgenommen hatte, obwohl ich das Album unzählige Male gehört habe und dachte, mittlerweile in jeden seiner Winkel gekrochen zu sein. „If It all fades away, let it all fade dancing away.“ Das ist so eine Zeile, die sich mir unter normalen Umständen so tief eingeprägt hätte, wie der eine oder andere Vers von Cohen oder Lennon/McCartney. Aber ist es nicht genau das, was wir an Alben lieben, die uns durchs Leben begleiten: sie überraschen uns nach wie vor, und ihre Tiefenwirkung lässt einfach nicht nach.

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