At start of lockdown and all the emotional turmoil and angst that came with it, I eased the stress by listening to the wonderful soundscapes of Jan Wagner. Fast forward the best part of four months indoors and we appear to be crossing the line back over into normality again. Hopefully we have seen the worst of the virus – I started lockdown with Wagner’s Kapitel 28 on heavy rotation. Now his new album with Swiss composer Dimitri Käch has made it’s way into my life. The album titled ‘Porto Do Son‘ was released on Friday and the sound design is impeccable yet again.
Jan Wagner is a German pianist and producer who is one of Berlin’s go-to sound engineers. Over the years, he has played crucial roles behind the scenes in the music coming out of the Berghain’s in-house record label ‘Ostgut Ton’ (the label responsible for putting out Ben Klock’s Sub-Zero). Wagner was heavily involved in the production of the music of Techno merchant Kobosil and Answer Code Request. He also created the sounds behind Rosa Anschutz‘s impressive ‘Rigid‘ EP. A solid collection of names have had their productions sculpted by this fella and he is now releasing his own beautiful music.
I came across Wagner back in March – I was sent in a track called Kapitel 28 and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The tune just grew and grew into an intensely cinematic experience. The sound design was of a different level, I closed my eyes and just fell deep into a state of trance. My house is right beside a farm that the 28 Days Later movie was filmed back in 2009. One of the most poignant scenes in that film is where the lead character is running across the hills as hundreds of zombies chase him. The clip is accompanied by the wonderfully iconic 28 theme composed by John Murphy. That was a dream of a song. Ramble aside, in March, I sat by that same canal on my own and tuned into Kapitel 28 and it gave me chills. This song needs to be in a movie – it’s one of the finest pieces of 2020. His Kapitel album is a gem.
That was my intro into the world of Jan Wagner – he doesn’t mess around and has just released his second album of the year. This time he has teamed up with Swiss guitarist and composer Dimitri Käch. Kach is a member of emerging trio HOLM – he and Wagner met in the Atlantic region of Porto Do Son and decided to make an album together. The collection, which has been released this weekend was constructed in a four day studio session in Berlin. Käch’s subtle electric guitar playing ripples around delightfully in tunes like Corrubedo and Faro. The standout tune off this collaborative album for me is undoubtedly the more beat driven track Neboa.
Neboa is just the kind of Downtempo and Minimal Electronic that tickles my fancy. Having listened to the slow burning sounds of Recondite and Kiasmos for years, this kind of emotive production is what I use for meditative purposes. As Neboa passes by, the soft beats iron out the tension that has accumulated over the last while. These two talented artists have just released an album that soothes the soul – good timing too.
Listen to the full album HERE
The Sound Sniffer is a music blog which is still only a baby – Founded and run by Kevin Coakley in early 2019. He is a music writer and ghostwriter. ‘The Sound Sniffer’ also runs gigs and showcases in London since Oct 2019. The showcases are picked from artists we find in our submissions inbox.
Check out my Interviews HERE