Jan Wagner "Nummern"
Klangbad78LP incl. Download Code
Pre-Orders will be shipped 25.10.2018
P+C: Quiet Love Records / Klangbad 2018
Picture a cozy atelier / studio where all the windows are flung open, a pair of mics set to high gain hang in front of a piano, and the door to the space is locked. The thing is, if he’s going to play, the door has to be locked. A click track pops away relentlessly in the headphones, measuring off time. A seemingly insurmountable feeling rattles the bones, and with every chord which fills the room and spills out into the courtyard it’s slowly taking on tangible shape. It’s being released and translated, completely impromptu. The room tone, the kids playing in the backyard causing a raucous, the cat perched on the window sill about to jump off (making a thud), the creaking chair, the sound of the mallets and all the percussive, mechanical guts of the piano – everything that the mics pick up becomes part and parcel of the composition, and will eventually be woven into the very fabric of the finished full length.
I just wanted to play and have a way to blowing off tension, without any thoughts of releasing it or showing it to anyone. The studio where I recorded the tracks is my sanctuary. When I go there and close the doors I´m in a vacuum, a place between the outside world and me. – JW
Jan Wagner’s debut – titled Nummern (Numbers) – was recorded as a series of sonic diary entries, between the spring of 2016 and December of the same year. If not for a serendipitous meeting with producer James Varghese, during which Jan played him one of his compositions, this record would have probably never seen the light of day. James loved what he heard, so Jan had asked him if he would be up for adding some bits to the recordings. This is how the biting synth arpeggios, the thick subs and the fractal like swirling synths that on occasion envelop the piano like a fierce string section, found their way into the final arrangements.
James is like my second pair of ears. He added some stuff and took some stuff away. He gave me perspective when I was too deep into it. He filled the gaps, sometimes they were big gaps, sometimes it was just a tiny slot. Regardless, he always wanted it to be a „Jan Wagner“ track. – JW
Nummern is a personal record, a real diary. However, since Jan is a firm believer that everyone experiences and process music differently, he decided to completely leave out the personal narratives that informed the recordings, to allow the listener to have a very pure, unmediated and personal experience of the music. This is why the record is simply called “Numbers” and each track is referred to as a Number–letter. The fact that improvisation is just as much a musical revelation to the artist as it is to a listener, was also a factor in conceptualising the experience of the music / the record. Ideally, every listener will be privy to this type of revelation, at least on the first listen.
My work with Hans Joachim Irmler and the Faust Studio opened my mind. Irmler became my musical mentor, he showed me how to create music without thinking, just playing. Ostgut showed me how to create emotions with just changing tiny bits. Techno is honest and true and I try to translate this feeling into my music. – JW
If there’s a single quality that would accurately describe Nummern, it’s that it’s an emotionally searing experience; a perpetual scaling movement towards a crescendo that never really comes, a vanishing point of sorts and a constant rescaling of emotional intensity. It’s an austere affair in that every song is stripped down to its essentials: the piano at its core and, at most, a couple of layers of synthesised sound. The fact that Jan is a seasoned engineerand has been shaping the sonic aesthetic of Berlin techno label Ostgut, for years now, might explain the effective resourcefulness of his playing and the minimalistic efficiency at work here. But really, in his own words, what Nummern is truly about: I wanted it rough and honest. I wanted it to be 90% finished so that there would be some space left for the listener to finish the music in their head.