Ballads . Ekkehard Ehlers & Paul Wirkus
staubgold digital 1
Written and produced by Ekkehard Ehlers and Paul Wirkus. Double Bass played by Werner Dafeldecker and Achim Tang. Clarinet played by Kai Fagaschinski.
"Well, maybe it is a jazz record. Most parts are imrovised by Paul and me by playing on the keyboards of our laptops (using strange Reaktor patches) and were recorded directly to a third computer. Sometimes we used a doublebass backing (played by Werner Dafeldecker and Achim Tang) to play on, and sometimes Kai Fagaschinski added clarinet. And, of course, we used drums played by Paul. We tried to avoid loop-strucures while playing together which is always the most difficult thing. As samples we used string instuments like oud, guitar and so on and transformed them to more organ-like sounds. And we used two Alice Coltrane samples for some tracks and a Henry Flynt sample flying around during the tracks.
When we started working together, we had the idea of making a sound installation in Poland. For that we wanted to travel the German-Polish border and play somewhere on the countryside and record it on a mobile unit. But the weather was too bad and we had no money. So finally we got stuck in my studio exchanging experiences and experimenting with patches. We had five sessions in four days for recording. The post-production and mixing took another two months.
Everytime Paul and I met we did heavy jazz listening sessions. My wife told us to name the cd "Ballads", maybe because we looked like it."
(Ekkehard Ehlers, February 2009)
In addition to his solo career, Ekkehard Ehlers has recorded under the monikers Auch, Betrieb and Ferdinand Fehlers and as a member of the duo Autopoesies and his band März. In 2001, Ehlers began recording 'Plays', a series of singles to serve as tributes to some of his aesthetic heroes. These releases brought Ehlers notoriety outside of experimental electronic music circles and led to collaborations with the Red Hot Chili Peppers among others.
He followed 'Plays' with the far more abstract 'Politik Braucht Keinen Feind' in 2003, and then with 'A Life Without Fear', which incorporated blues in a typically oblique way, in 2006. Since 2000, he has been working on ballet scores for choreographers William Forsythe and later Christoph Winkler and theatre music for Ulrich Rasche. As a curator Ehlers has been responsible for the 'Lux Aeterna' festival at Berlin's Berghain and 'Audio Poverty' at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt.
Paul Wirkus' background as an improvising percussionist still informs the pointillist perfection of his output, developed through a series of solo albums and extremely varied collaborations with Barbara Morgenstern and Stefan Schneider (Mapstation) as September Collective and the free jazz trio with Kammerflimmer Kollektief's Johannes Frisch and Mikolaj Trzaska. His previous musical history includes performances with Polish punk group Karcer and late 1990s post-rock group Mapa, which may account for his favouring a live, lo-fi approach to recording.