A musical collaboration can be a truly beautiful thing when executed in the correct way. It is a meeting of minds: a meeting of ideas, personalities and character. Each individual inputs his or her own sense of self into the project and the end result is a creative collage, something completely original in its own right.
Based in Germany, Jan Schulte and Christian Pannenborg make up the Montezumas Rache duo. Independently they operate in similar musical circles; Jan produces under the alias of both Wolf Müller and Bufiman whilst Christian is the owner and founder of The Record Loft. Together they produce music of a worldly influence using hardware and live instruments.
Dominik Von Senger has been a key figure in Krautrock music since the early eighties. Based in Cologne he has released music independently and as part of The Phantom Band. More recently he has been producing music on a number of EP’s for Golf Channel.
The three make for an unlikely collaboration. It apparently all began when Christian managed to make contact with Dominik in a hunt for old records by The Phantom Band, but since then the relationship has grown wings.
After several weeks of trying to pin down a date for a discussion about the threesome’s new EP for Emotional Response and Golf Channel we eventually manage to agree on a time that suits. Unfortunately Christian was unable to join us on the day but was more than happy for Jan to speak on his behalf.
The three first came to meet at a gallery in Dusseldorf which led them on to an evening spent in the renowned Salon Des Amateurs club.
Jan describes a reunion like scenario at the Salon where “Dusseldorf music heads, old school music lovers from Cologne and heads from Berlin” all came together across the evening in the small club to form friendships.
Dominik talks about his first experience at the club:
“I had lots of old records in my car that I could give to Chris. It was really great to finally find out about that place and of course Jan was playing records.”
Following that evening Dominik and Jan explain that it was quite some time before they all finally managed to make it to the studio together. They joke about the nature of the delays to the extent that they could never manage to meet on time even when it had been booked in the diary for months. However, when it finally came together the three found themselves overwhelmed and immersed in creativity.
Dominik speaks excitedly about a continuous stream of ideas as one track followed the next. They worked to exhaustion and Jan laughs as Dominik recalls sleeping on the studio floor. He summarises his creative process:
“I compose in the moment. I explode when I’m in the studio with people like Christian and Jan and I had millions of ideas and opportunities when I was around them.”
The EP itself is quite beautiful. Somehow it manages to incorporate elements of each of the artist’s musical ingenuity. The release was recorded in a tiny space with minimal PA and each take was recorded roughly without reconstruction. It all sounds like a very natural process.
Jan reflects on the sound of the record and tells of the ambience surrounding the studio. He talks about the relaxed nature of the production process and describes the physical surroundings that might have led to an influence on the sound of the release.
“The parrots that were flying around the studio were kind of an influence. I don’t know if you know but Dusseldorf and Cologne has a recent population of white parrots. It’s not clear where they came from but the number is growing all the time. We were surrounded by tropical birds in the garden where we were recording.”
It’s fascinating to reflect on the nature of the relationship that existed between Dominik, Jan and Christian when producing the record. Over the course of the interview it becomes clear that Dominik’s expectations of the end product had been very different from Christian and Jan’s. Jan laughs as he reflects on the meeting of their musical minds.
“The funny thing is that Dominik thought it would be some very new, modern, electronic thing to come out but from myself and Christian’s perspective we wanted to make music which didn’t sound new. We wanted it to sound like the older music that we liked from Dominik.”
The overall result of the record is wonderfully intriguing. The worldly electronic influence of Montezumas Rache is present alongside the melodic input of Dominik and the music is stunning. There is a sense of honest respect and admiration between Jan and Dominik, a sense that they really have created something of unique value and importance. They sign off kindly, who knows if the three will collaborate again, the spontaneity of the release is in part what has made it so wonderful in the first place, time will tell.
Listen to the EP HERE.