Located on the Darss Peninsular, overlooking the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, is a log cabin, nestled among the jungle-like overgrowth of surrounding birch and willow trees. The cabin is Christian Loeffler’s atelier, where he locks himself up to work on both his visual art und his music. In the centre of the room is a huge oak table, splotched with multicoloured oil paints, surrounded by canvases, cameras tripods, tools, brushes. There’s a great view of the sea, and the wide patio windows allow the light to flood inside, casting shadows of the leaves and branches across the walls and onto the table. There’s a small fireplace which allows him to work during the winter, so that he can continue his introspective creative process during the cold months too. The place is very basic – working, sleeping, cooking, all in one room; yet it’s these modest and in some ways rudimentary parameters that allow Loeffler to make sincere and honest music, concentrating on just the essentials.
‘Mare’ is his second studio album and follows in a similar vein to his self-released debut, 2012’s ‘A Forest’. However a key difference is that while his first album was heavily sample-based, ‘Mare’ is much more organic, in which nearly every sound and every instrument is self-recorded. Many of the album’s ideas are based on field-recordings taken from the surroundings. On top of this, several microphones were set up in the room ad left to run on for whole sessions. The microphones collected everything, from tapping, singing, playing, footsteps, as well as percussive elements added on the fly such as bottles, sticks, a set of keys, or basically anything that was lying around. Sometimes he would open the sliding patio doors, where sounds from outside would blend into the mix. Among the instruments placed around the table were an old marimba, a mandolin zither, some self-modified synthesizers, and various other sound tools accumulated from his travels.
There are also four tracks that feature the vocals of previous collaborator Mohna (‘Haul’, ‘Mare’, ‘Vind’, ‘Wilderness’). For Loeffler, another interesting aspect of the album is that it’s the first time he himself sings on a record (‘Lid’, ‘Pacific’, ‘Nil’). “The meaning was not intended to be essentially different to ‘A Forest’ but where the first album sometimes still felt to just be on the surface of what I can say with this project, it now feels like that I’ve come closer to the core of what I want to express.” The instrumentation, the setting, and the process, make ‘Mare’ a highly individual body of work that sees him expanding the limits of his set-up. The LP features the highly emotive sound that Loeffler’s become known for, using deep house as a stylistic framework with which to base his tracks. Exploring spaces of emotional and physical loss, getting lost, as well as arriving, he blends wistful melodies, drum machines, and found sound into a wandering, melancholic mélange.
Christian LöfflerThursday November 28 2019