Four years after III, German musician and sound artist Thomas Bücker aka Bersarin Quartett recently released a new album. Methoden und Maschinen is out now via Denovali Records. We had a talk with him about the new work, experimentation, Denovali Records and much more. Check it below.
“Methoden und Maschinen” is your new album. How was born the idea of the album and what drove the inspiration of this work? Can you explain the title “Methods and Machines” and the idea behind the new full-length? And how, this new album, is different compared your previous works?
Generally speaking with this “Bersarin Quartett”-project I really like the idea of creating fictional soundtracks for imaginary, unconcrete films. I´m using lots of strings and orchestral elements in order to hopefully create a deep emotional impact – like good filmscores also do.
Drowning in intense melancholy – and trying not to fall into the kitsch-trap has always been the challenge for this idea of my abstract filmscores.
If my first three albums have some sort of “film-noir”-nostalgia in it, the perspective of the fourth album is directed more towards the future – but not without its melancholy elements of course. Now there are more experimental electronic elements in it — beside the analog sound aesthetics you can expect after the first three albums.
“Methoden und Maschinen” to me is the best expression for “The Future”. This title contains so many questions, answers and challenges regarding all aspects of our social system we are all living in already and we will surely have to face more and more in the next decades.
The Artwork has a hypnotic power. How did you choose it?
The cover artwork works best on physical media (like cd or vinyl). Here we have two separate layers: a digital noise layer (a white, transparent structure) and behind that the noise from an old picture tube tv set (a pure analogue structure) which is shimmering through — this also corresponds with my methods for making music: analog organic sounds sampled by digital sampling technology — two layers of different aesthetics.
To be honest nobody has to notice this visual concept exactly as I planned – at the end its also cool that it’s perceived as an artwork that has a hypnotic power. (thanks a lot!)
Considering your path, what is your way to give new shape to the sound and what is your idea of experimentation in art? Is it important?
I guess from album to album I’m more and more focused on sounds, noise, details — and I hope to progress with every release. I think in electronic music it’s all about progression – maybe in art in general. Progression and resonation.
Of course lots of experimentation is necessary and helpful to shape your sound – in best case you develop some kind of unique aesthetic regarding your art without constant repititions. Actually for me it’s most important keeping focused on a special idea or concept and not being lost in all these endless possibilites nowadays.
You are with Denovali Records since 2012. What does it mean to have a label like Denovali behind your works?
For me Denovali is truly an exceptional label. They fully trust the complete output of every single artist of their roster, and they never disagreed or give advices contentwise. They don’t think mainly in commercial target groups for the hard-fought music market, but support the artistic development of all their indivdual acts. They have a thankful scene especially for this attitude I guess. And I´m very happy to have had the opportunity to play with lots of great artists at their festivals in the past (and still have of course – we are all looking forward to 2020).
You recently played at Funkhaus Berlin and you will play some gigs in 2020. What kind of show we can expect from you to introduce the new album? There will be a visual part?
In 2020 you have the possibility to get two different “bersarin quartett”-live-performances:
On the one hand there will be 7.1 surround sound shows in complete darkness with some live-parts in it (guitars and keys) — this could be a real listening experience I guess. Sitting with the audience in complete darkness and only listening to all these sounds from all directions … I love this idea very much. We were very lucky to have had the opportunity to perform some special concerts in Russia, Slovenia, Poland and Germany with this concept – there is more to come in 2020.
On the other hand there will be a “pure-analog-live-set” as a complete “regular” band. My studio music is mainly made with a computer, in this context it’s actually rearranged for bass, guitar, drums and keys only. Finally, there will be a stage with 4 human beings like a real “quartet” (This is a bit crazy if you remember this all starts as a computer music project.) I really love this idea to present my music stripped down in this performance in the most authentic, transparent, “honest” and “vulnerable” way possible.
Maybe as a graphic designer I´m quite picky about visuals in general. There are lots of really great vj artists out there but if I don’t have something very interesting to say visualwise it works best for me (and hopefully for the audience as well) that 4 musicians simply are making music – or turn off the lights completely. It really helps a lot to focus on the main things … the sound, the music, the plot in your head.
Ritual question. What are the best releases you recently appreciated?
Yesss … so much good music these days. Let me just check my recent boomkat-/bandcamp-receipts and my last.fm-profile …
Most played albums in 2019:
DIIV – Deceiver
Deft – Cracks
Deaf Center – Low Distance
And some recommandations:
Quirke – Steal A Golden Hail
Shed – Oderbruch
Konduku – White Heron
Rrose – Open Cell
Adda Schade – Partikel I
Offthesky – Fallow
[ … and so many more! ]
For more recommandations feel free to listen to a new ambient-mix I made lately for “Quiet Calm/FWD.DJ”. Cheers!