Over the past years Hamburg-based producer Martin Stimming established himself as one of the more adventurous figures of Germany’s restless electronic music scene. Similar to colleagues like DJ Koze, Christian Löffler and Robag Wruhme Stimming is keen to take his sound to more adventurous sound territory than just the standardized club music patterns. His freshly released EP Die Luft, der Garten und das Meer (‘The air, the garden and the sea’) is another testament of that ambition. And it proves that inspiration can come from various places as he explains in the following guest article for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION.
‘I’ve been working on this EP for nine months; longer than any other EP I’ve recorded. I have sent a combination of the pieces twice to my friends and colleagues asking for their feedback – and each time I noticed that I had repeated myself and couldn’t progress. Sometimes reinvention seems much harder to me than the fresh approach I had when I first started recording music. On the other hand, I have more experience and skills than I had 10 years ago…
This EP started with the bells in the piece Der Garten (‘The Garden’). Two years ago I came across the ‘Koshi Chimes’ in a mail-order catalogue. They are great-sounding wind chimes, which instantly create a strong mood. I bought two of them and thought that this is actually the finished piece, but one shouldn’t get ahead of oneself. To record these high bells so that they do not lose their magic was a monumental task. After the fifth try I had them about halfway to how they sound on the finished piece, (still not perfect, but good enough!). They are further in the background than I would have liked; I just do not have a space good enough to properly record such a difficult signal. Nevertheless, the garden now tingles quite decently, I think. ;-)
Another very important element on this EP is the nonlinear labs C15 synthesiser; the masterpiece of Native Instruments founder, Stephan Schmitt. The c15 is a digital synth based on an intel nuc, which is the essence of his 25 years involvement with digital sound generation: for me, it’s the Rhodes of the 21st century. The c15 has two very strange characteristics; on the one hand it has no midi – that means all the sounds that come out HAVE to be played by my hands, and I cannot program anything afterwards. On the other hand, you can edit its sound via wifi using a browser, meaning it doesn’t matter which device you will use. Crazy.
The surface in the piece Das Meer (‘The Sea’) also comes from the c15 – a simple sound based on sinus tones, but modulated so well with itself that it sounds as deep as the Mariana Trench. Also, the incredible fresh and airy guitar-like sounds in the piece Die Luft (‘The Air’) come from the c15. For this I had to play for a very long time and of course always record everything directly to get these beautiful sounds. Speaking about Die Luft, I actually thought I was done with the EP, having worked on it for nine months – and suddenly I had this combination of two ideas; each of them on their own would not have worked, but together they made perfect sense. When something like this happens it feels like a gift; when everything suddenly makes sense after months of work it seems like a wink from a higher power. Therefore the highlight of this EP – for me – is the fresh air.’
Die Luft, der Garten und das Meer is out now on Ki Records.