Pianist Tobias Schößler and electronic musician Bernhard Wöstheinrich both come from the Gütersloh region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, but their artistic collaboration only came about after Bernhard moved to Berlin. On the seventh and eighth of February 2020, the two rehearsed intensively together and invited friends to Tobias’ house in Harsewinkel for the final concert.
Schößler and Wöstheinrich take us and their guests on an extensive improvised journey against the backdrop of a wall of books and a view of the wintry garden. The 12 pieces we hear are excerpts from this concert. These pieces document the improvisation of the two musicians, the room, the space, and the close, intimate sound of piano and electronics recorded by four microphones. We can perceive how the tones of the synthesizer make the strings of the grand piano resonate, and we even hear the creaking of the piano chair. Bernhard plays on an electric piano with weighted keys and dynamic touch. His portable setup — the laptop with several virtual synthesizers — he uses simultaneously, alternating, interweaving and crossfading via his mixing console. He brings in samples of abstract natural sounds, creating subtle loops. He refrains from setting the rhythm and responds to the pianist like a live film musician supporting and accompanying the action, emphasizing the mood or letting it tilt, interpreting, leaving space.
Tobias develops harmonic and melodic motifs on the piano very dynamically, from light lovely phrases to dramatically powerful climaxes, but he also leaves room for the thoughts and moods of the audience.
On the eighth of February 2020, the name COVID-19 had not yet been given, curfews were just being put in place in China, and the first Germans returning from there had to go into quarantine. During this year of isolation, the album was mixed, and journeys like this in living rooms have become a popular practice. Suggestions for imaginary journeys are given by the piece’s titles, which literally interpret the concert in all directions from a meeting at the hippies‘ bus stop on their way to Afghanistan to the floating of submarine flora. “Der Ort” (“The Place”) is a wonderful soundtrack for that.
The German titles underline how much this music is influenced by its place of origin and how big the difference is from being here to getting there.
releases June 11, 2021
Tobias Schößler: Piano
Bernhard Wöstheinrich: Keyboard, Sampler & Synthesizer
Recording Engineer: Florian Thoene
Editing: Bernhard Wöstheinrich
Mixing and Mastering: Markus Reuter
Cover Photo: Telemach Wiesinger