On ten albums so far, Sounds Of New Soma have repeatedly pursued new approaches to give Krautrock a modern shape suitable for the 21st century. With "Musique Bizarre" they are once again breaking new ground.
in 2013 Alexander Djelassi and Dirk Raupach joined forces in Krefeld to form the duo Sounds Of New Soma. Already in 2014 the debut album "Beyond The Acid Dream" was released. With the Tonzonen label founded by Dirk Raupach in 2012, the most suitable release platform was immediately available. The list of bands signed to Tonzonen grew steadily, as did Sounds Of New Soma's back catalog. Now - Djelassi and Raupach thought - it was time for an even closer collaboration. "Musique Bizarre," Sounds Of New Soma's eleventh album, begins quite idyllically with ocean waves and seagull cries. But what follows, the two explain in the eclipsed interview.
eclipsed: So you were at the sea. How wasʼs it? Did it inspire you?
Dirk Raupach: Sunny, few clouds, a pleasant breeze. Especially calm, because it was the secret meeting place with Clumsy and Jokey, who contributed vocals on the last track of the album. Definitely inspiring
Alexander Djelassi: Yes, it's always nice to relax and unwind by the sea.
eclipsed: You've already tried out a motto or an idea for an entire album on previous albums (for example, just one long track on "Trip" or the theme of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser on "Nachdenken über Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser"). How did you now come to record the album with different musicians who are signed to the Tonzonen label?
Raupach: "Trip" was my wish. One track over just under 45 minutes playing time. I like something like that very much. "Musique Bizarre" is now already our eleventh album. We are always looking for new ideas and challenges. The concept that other musicians provide us with guidelines that we structure into complete songs is something we haven't had before. Who came up with the idea, when, how and above all why, I don't know exactly anymore.
Djelassi: The idea for the album we had developed, as so often, in joint brainstorming. As a counterpart to the beauty on "La Grande Bellezza" should follow with this double album something bizarre and yet comprehensible. Ultimately, each album should develop in the best case an atmospheric story in the head of the listener.
eclipsed: Why these musicians in particular? Did you choose the musicians? Or did the musicians choose you?
Raupach: That it should be musicians from the label was clear from the start. We see ourselves as a large homogeneous "family" at Tonzonen. I had presented the idea to many of our bands and left it up to them to decide who wanted to participate. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for some of them due to time constraints, but quite a few musicians did participate. We are very grateful for that.
eclipsed: How did the work take shape? Who gave whom guidelines?
Raupach: The only specification we gave the musicians was that they were completely free to provide us with what they wanted in the end. It was totally exciting what we received little by little. From obscure sound files to half-finished tracks, everything was there. A mixture of free jazz, oriental sounds, space rock and so on. Our task was to form the whole thing into a unity, into an album with structure.
Djelassi: Absolutely. Everything was free and spontaneous. There were no guidelines as far as the format, the sound, the structure or anything else was concerned. We then sent the respective result to the musicians involved in advance. Without exception, everyone was behind the concept and what we did with their contribution.
eclipsed: What was new for you? Did you gain any new "insights"?
Raupach: For me personally, the whole concept was a completely new experience. With the songs on the album, which were created with other musicians, we had to react to what was made available to us. Listening, analyzing, developing ideas, tinkering, trying things out and coming up with a concept. Not always easy, but always exciting
Djelassi: For me, dealing with the different formats and sound qualities was a huge challenge. As was working with basic tracks where certain structures were already predetermined by the artists. Some things came naturally, but Dirk also had to direct me in a certain direction every now and then. It wasn't easy to create an overall round and harmonious thing out of it. I always call it the "curse of meticulousness". Without Dirk, I would probably continue to tinker and optimize endlessly.
Raupach: That's his penchant for perfectionism. It's just as pronounced as it is for obscure sounds
eclipsed: In the end, how big was the influence of the other musicians on the final result?
Raupach: That's very different. With "Waidmann" and "Berlin Marrakesch", the musicians provided us with sound snippets that we could work with. We created a framework around the files and finally let a track develop. With songs like "Gökotta" (Moop) or "Balkenspirale" (The Spacelords) you can clearly hear the influence of the respective band. Here we were already given large parts of a whole by the bands. We then worked out the specifications and formed them into a complete song.
Djelassi: Exactly. The influence is certainly audible and it should be. Nevertheless, we managed to integrate everything into our SONS cosmos and make something completely independent out of it.
eclipsed: In my opinion, the new album offers even more effects and gimmicks than usual. Do you also see it that way? Wasn't there a danger that the music itself would suffer?
Raupach: It has become a very varied album, which plays with different genres. Of course, this is also due to the musicians, who have different orientations in their sound. Certainly, with such a concept there is a danger that the result will seem inconsistent. But I don't think that at all with "Musique Bizarre". I think we have brought a good flow to the album.
Djelassi: We've been using effects and gimmicks since the first album. I think that's an important part of our sound. So it still remains exciting even after a few runs through. Thereʼs always something new to discover with us, because depending on the mood, the levels of personal acoustic perception also shift ...
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