Track By Track: Sascha Funke – Lotos Land
The latest album from the Berlin based producer has been a while in the making. It is almost ten years since he released his last full length LP back in 2008, now he is set to return with ten tracks on Tokyo’s Endless Flight titled "Lotos Land". The album features an array of exquisite productions which includes wonky electronics, delicate soundscapes and an assortment beautiful twists and turns. Sascha Funke also invites a selection of friends to feature which includes David of The Junto Club, Emily Evans and Autarkic.
We caught up with him as he guides us through the new album.
Whilst working on my album, I was reading a book from Christian Kracht called “Imperium“. It’s the story of an adventurer who decides to leave his “normal“ life, in South Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century, to land on a lost island in the South Seas. He believed in the power of coconuts and that’s all he ate. At one point he quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘In the hollow Lotos Land to live and lie reclined on the hills like Gods together, careless of mankind.’ Taking inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey, Tennyson portrays the Lotos Eaters as soldiers who – while fighting in the war – were given hallucinogenic lotos flowers. While tripping, they started questioning the purpose of their lives and finally chose to retreat forever in the peaceful Lotos Land. Somehow it felt like a good metaphor for music, and how I feel while listening to, or making music. As much as Tennyson’s soldiers’ entrance in the Lotos Land is dark, I wanted mine to be euphoric and for that Pogo Logo felt the right way to introduce the album.
Comala is very special to me. The first version was without vocals but after listening to it many times, I felt something was missing. Ever since their first release on Optimo Music, I’ve been a fan of The Junto Club and always played their tracks in my DJ sets. I got in touch with David Wilson, the lead singer of the band, and together with Emily Evans, they sung on the track. I was amazed at how well they managed to catch the atmosphere of the instrumental and make it their own. The title name Comala was taken from the book “Pedro Paramo“ by Juan Rulfo that David was reading at the time of the recorded, and inspired the lyrics. In the book it is the town where the story takes place.
One of the instruments I used a lot on Lotos Land is the Arp Odyssey. I played around with the portamento fader and recorded a thirty-minute jam, which became the lead sound of the track. The pan flute is, I guess, reminiscence of the time when I was listening to trance music in the early nineties.
Lotos Land was the last track I made and as I finished it, I felt the album was complete. It was the last piece of the puzzle. It’s probably the slowest track I’ve ever made. The tempo opened new possibilities as to how I could present the musical elements in a different way than I usually do. The music transforms into various phases throughout the track, as we start getting deeper into the Lotos Land.
I quite often played guitar while producing this album. I am still a total amateur and it takes me half-an-hour to record two seconds I can actually use. That’s how it started for Twirl. But sometimes my lack of skills with the guitar produces something interesting. I kept the main loop of the song as wrong and non-tight as it was when I recorded it.
That was the first track I made for the album. My last solo album was in 2008 so I took a long time in between to collect ideas and as soon as I started working on Lotos Land, the process went really fast. The first nine sketches were made within a month. I chose to work on a rather limited set up instrument-wise (focussing mainly on the Moog, the Prophet 8, the Arp Odyssey, a Korg MS20 and a guitar) so I could keep unity in the sound of the album. Saint Seven originally had beats on it and at the last minute, I decided to take them off, and only keep the essence of the track.
Amber Light went through many changes during the production. Quite often after finishing a sketch it is hard for me to decide which sounds I’ll keep in the end. The track was packed with melodies and sounds. I had to delete a lot of them and forced myself to keep only the essential parts. It took me weeks to finish the track and it’s probably the one I spent the most time on.
Im Feiern und Feuer
The second vocal feature of the album comes from Autarkic, whom I am a big fan of. His first album came out recently on Disco Halal and it is one of my favourite albums of the year so far. We got in touch when he did a remix for my single on Multi Culti last year, and since then I really wanted him to play a part into my album. For the first time, he’s singing some lyrics in German and although he tells his personal story through the vocals, I think it works perfectly with the theme of the Lotos Land. He’s definitely been a great fellow lotos-eater.
I am an old raver and one of my key influences was The KLF. This is kind of my little tribute to them. Probably no one else than me will make the connection but this simple chord sound in Shepherd’s Crook reminded me of the trademark sound I discovered when I was 14 and danced to the beat of Last Train To Trancentral. The title name is inspired by the artwork of the The KLF’s Chill Out album.
O, Rest Ye, We Will Not Wander More
The sketch of this track has existed since early 2014, and then was lost in a folder for more than two years. When I found it again, I realised that it fit very well on the album. I made all the sounds with a Korg SV1. The title quotes the last words of Tennyson’s poem; hence it felt the right way to round off the story of the album.
Buy the release HERE.