The new album, Liquorice, from Martin Stimming wasn’t initially planned to be an album. There was an intrinsic need for him to express what was going on in this period of life. Relationship problems led to a very punk, off-whack attitude to his producing. With seven tracks done and dusted, he figured the work was more than just a collection of weird shit; it was a whole new music experience… add another 5 months of studio work, he named it Liquorice.
Definitely hard to pigeonhole – call it minimal, stripped back, dub, experimental… we think ‘electronic free jazz’ comes the closest… No sign of a typical 4/4 bass drum at all and Stimming has incorporated his trademark use of field recordings, from a marble run, a pizza slicer, a trashcan, a coffee machine, and an ice train shuttling past to name a few. The Stimming’esque percussion, which is even more radical this time, has been thrown in with all these facets in his massive melting pot, coupled with some dark emotions to create this Liquorice.
“This time I didn’t use all the main events a groove normally has,” recalls Martin. “I kind of sneaked around the normal bassdrum/clap or snare combination during the most productive time (dec09) when I had to sleep on the couch in my 16 square metre studio – certain circumstances didn’t allow me to sleep at home… that was very, very intense.”
However, the production experience wasn’t all based on grief and anger. “Even when everything sounds pretty dark, it was great fun doing it! Even when it sounds like there was a lot going wrong in my life, it wasn’t that bad. It was more like a mind game for me doing it… maybe it wasn’t that bad because I had the opportunity to get rid of that.”
It’s this loose, punk ethic that encapsulates the freestyle feel to Liquorice. Obvious bass and kicks have been stripped and replaced with eerie atmospheres, fluid percussion, found sounds and dystopian electronics in the search for something new. It’s this sideways approach that also gives the album it’s glue, bringing all 13 tracks together as a unique listening experience. From the opening chattering of loose limbed and scene setting orchestral instruments on ‘Cold Water’ the first three tracks give an idea of what will happen, building slowly to ‘Cooking Coffee’ and the introspective feel of ‘On A Grey Day’. The album’s emotional climax reveals itself on ‘Don’t Touch This’ whose and is finally concluded on the beautiful closing
track, ‘The Train.’
“I only tried to express my feelings I had during this time – as precise and radical as possible, without any musically limits and without thinking of what will happen with it or who ́s gonna buy it. I just made what I thought was right,” concludes Stimming. “Even when I have all those strange sounds in it, its still very groove based. I called it liquorice because I simply love real liquorice-sweets (all kinds actually) and I have realised that its something someone loves or hate. There ́s not much middle ground and there were probably 50% who like it and the others don’t.”
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