The Berlin-based producer will release his debut album in March.
German Ralf Schmidt is probably best known for his recordings on his own Aleph Music imprint. The Berlin-based producer makes melodic dance music with an array of hardware, which we described as "bubbly weirdo house" in a past review. The album continues this tradition with 12 previously unreleased tracks recorded mostly in Schmidt's home studio, and the title refers to his tendency to "[travel] off the beaten path," inspired particularly by extended stays in Peru and Bolivia. We caught up with him via e-mail to discuss the LP.
How long have you been working on the album for?
I did a lot of field recordings and recorded some sketches while on the road in South America [in 2011]. When I came back to Berlin, I started working full time again, so it took me another six months to finally finish the album. About one third of the tracks on the album actually came together in just one week, while I was at home with a heavy flu, in a burst of feverish productivity. The other tracks were produced on the weekends, or whenever I had some spare time.
Did you approach it differently than your singles? What made you want to do a whole album?
There are two stages to it; first, there is the actual process of writing the music. This didn't really change too much, as I record music all the time without trying to think about it or analyze it a lot. It just comes naturally to me, it's like breathing. After this comes the process of selection and editing, which is rather difficult for me as there's just so much music! My girlfriend helps me a lot with that, choosing which tracks to consider, and how to order them. That was certainly approached differently this time, just because I knew I had more space to fill up with sound. You can create a different sort of tension, and are able to let things run a bit more freely as well. Let's just say while a single is more of a short story, I was finally able to write a complete novel.
What's your studio setup like?
It's an ever changing mixture of all kinds of stuff, old and new, digital and analogue, outboard and plug-in based. I try not to limit myself in that regard—I use whatever feels right and gets the job done. My latest toy is a Mutable Instruments Shruthi-1 which I am really proud of. It's a little DIY synth that you have to solder yourself, and it has an amazing sound and flexibility.
01. Kiss Off
02. Baby - Comet - Face
03. Fever Beach
05. Leaving The Fiction
06. Die Pferden
08. Viejo Loco
09. Flipside Of Time
11. Iguazu Express
12. By The Red Lake
Aleph Music will release Offseason Traveller on March 4th, 2013.