We spoke to the German producer about his next full-length, which was recorded in Japan.
Though production began in his Berlin studio, Phillip Sollmann recorded Decay while living in Kyoto as part of a three-month artist residency. Sollmann immersed himself in the local culture while in Japan, attending ceremonies with monks at temples and visiting local instrument makers. "It was such a touching and beautiful three months," he told RA. "I think it helped me focus and work pretty fast on the material I had recorded in Berlin."
The album will be Sollmann's third full-length, following 2007's self-titled debut and 2010's Chicago. He says this effort is "more coherent" than his other two LPs, with a focus on deep techno. A remix package for Decay will follow the album, though the identity of those involved is still unknown. Speaking via email earlier this week, Sollmann told us more about the record:
How did the artist residency in Kyoto come about?Tracklist
My partner is a visual artist working in film among other things. She came across this residency and we applied for a film project together. Luckily we got accepted and spent three months in Japan during the best time of year, from September to December. Our film is not finished yet, so we need to go back again this year, which we don't regret at all.
How did your time in Japan affect the productions on your album? What was the environment around you like?
Kyoto is a very powerful, calm and healthy place. We stayed in a nice studio-apartment next to the river, surrounded by the blue mountains you see on the album cover (a picture I took from the bridge in front of our house). Nearly every day we took walks in the city or to one of the temples nearby, studying Japan's culture, religion and cuisine. I did a lot of research on Japanese instruments and visited bell collectors or flute makers with the help of the institute.
Then in October I went to Ohara every day for two weeks in the very morning to attend ceremonies at the Shōrin-in Temple. The Tendai sect was celebrating their 1000-year existence and monks from all over Japan came to celebrate. This sect performs hour-long ritual singing called Shomyo. It is not meant to be heard as music, but of course I did mainly perceive it that way and believe me, it was hard sometimes not to dance. After some days I got the permission to film during the performances and parts of this might appear in our film project in the end.
How would you say this LP differs from your first two albums, Efdemin and Chicago?
It feels more coherent to me than the first two and focuses more on the deeper side of techno, while bringing in some aspects of my sound-art-related works, like droning stuff and noises. A big difference on the production side was that I had my new beloved studio "The Meadow" to record the sounds with speakers. But in Japan I worked on headphones 95 percent of the time. I had not worked that way in a long time, but I started liking it after a while and I think Decay might sound a little different as a result of that. All I know is that it sounds perfect in my car.
What else have you got planned for 2014?
I am preparing two EPs for very nice labels other than Dial in 2014. I am collecting amazing remixes for Decay already from artists I adore as well as friends. Also in Japan started working on a project where I will finally try to merge my two artistic concepts in one and work with other musicians. My touring schedule is filling up too quick once again, so I better hurry to get some of it done, before hopping on and off airplanes again.
01. Some Kind Of Up And Down Yes
02. Drop Frame
07. Track 93
08. The Meadow
Dial will release Decay on March 31st, 2014.