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Off Land: Capturing tiny layers of space and time

img  Tobias Fischer

Why did you decide on release „Anniversary“ on Resting Bell rather than your own netlabel No Source?
No-Source focuses on releasing certain styles and genres of music including folk, indie, pop, and electro-acoustic. One could argue that Anniversary, being an acoustic album, might fit with the No-Source aesthetic. I felt that the abstract nature of Anniversary would find a larger audience on a label that primarily releases ambient music. No-Source is a great outlet for many musicians including some of my other projects such as Background Radiation.


It would seem that while some people take photographs, you compose - is music a way of remembering, archiving and evaluating experiences for you?

To an extent. Music, like photography, is a way of conveying a concept or emotion. My music evolves from many starting points – sounds, pictures, memories.


„Anniversary“ revisits your wedding day. What kind of a day was it?

It was a wonderful, calm, and joyous day. I don't hold it in higher regard than any other great day. It was just a peaceful day that I will always fondly look back upon.


I'm asking because „Anniversary“ doesn't sound the way one would imagine a wedding-day-album – it's very peaceful, introvert and quiet ...

I recorded this album in about one week. I had just gotten laid off and needed to get away from the present. Being so stressed out and looking back on a peaceful time in my life forced me to create some very meditative music. The present is always going to shape my music. If I had made this album a year earlier it would have all sounded like the song Marriage off of my album Blue Narration.
As a starting point for this album, I looked at images taken by my brother during my wedding day hike up a mountain engulfed in clouds. Instead of focusing on the joy of the day, I tried to musically capture what that hike felt like and what the woods felt like.


Did anyone at the time think it strange that you should be field recording the event?

My family is very musical. There was a lot of live music from family members at my wedding. My father-in-law actually did the field recording. I don't think anyone thought it odd.


What were your feelings when you went back to that day?
Listening to the raw audio recordings allowed me to re-experience the day in a way. I was reacquainted with the dialogues and music of the day. In fact, making this album helped strengthen my fondness for this day.


You mentioned that you used acoustic instruments only as source materials. How did you later process these into the refined drones of the EP?
It's a bit of a time consuming process but I've always have been happy with the results. For example, if I'm using a glockenspiel for a drone, I record each note in isolation, usually one to three octaves above what you hear on the song. I then pitch-shift the recording down and delete the initial hit so all you hear is the long, drawn out reverberation of the instrument.


What, more generally, prompted your move towards more organic source materials such as a glockenspiel after your first albums were mainly culled from Keyboards?

I think it's a personal preference. I really like the unique sounds I can get using certain acoustic instruments. I have been using them (though sparingly) since my first EP back in 2006. This doesn't mark an end for synths though.


Assuming you played the music to other people present that day, what were their thoughts on the pieces?

Here are a few quotes from those at my wedding when asked what they thought of the Anniversary album:
“Having done the ascent after the wedding, you captured the feeling of it very well.”
“I think having been at the wedding allowed me an even larger window to paint a picture in my mind but you definitely accomplished it with music, allowing others to feel the atmosphere and serenity of the weekend...”
“The way you've put the music together makes me think of seeing the world as many tiny layers of space and time. I like that something new was created from the field recordings, so it got transformed as well as being just a record of what happened.”


Is the theme of revisiting past events one you'd like to explore more in the future?

I don't have any specific plans at this time to do another retrospective album. I've done two albums now based around the recording of past events – one built on the everyday sounds of my daily commute, and the other adapted from recordings of my wedding day. I would do it again if another event in my life is recorded and I feel the need to further explore this memory through music. Right now I'm working on two theme-based albums. One album is about late night car rides, while the other is based upon the concept of being indoors while the world around you changes.

Homepage: Off Land
Homepage: Resting Bell Records

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