Last month we premiered the title track to Stimming’s new organically recorded and produced Alpe Lusia, which came out on Diynamic on the 29th of April. Adding to the official release of the album now comes a behind the scenes look at how the LP was created track by track. Written and shot by Stimming himself, the below text and images briefly guide us through his thought- and execution process of Alpe Lusia’s music.
“This was the view I had nearly every morning. A new day, fresh cold air, morning dew on the grass, cows and their bells already active. This is probably what I miss the most from that time coming out the wooden cabin and having that beautiful view with the dolomites in the background every morning.”
“The first track I made during my time in the Alps. It was more of a setup test but developed into a dry and (at least for my standards) high energetic tech-house tune. At first hand it was somehow difficult to connect to the beautiful environment in a musical way. But on the third day (the second was a sunday which I used to explore my surrounding) I was already raving on the wooden bench which, at the end of my time, surely squeaked more than when I arrived.”
“Trains Of Hope”
“The internet was very slow (loading a usual news site took me about 5 min) but I used my phone as a reader to which a weekly newspaper (“Die Zeit”) is being sent automatically. Actually I enjoy reading news this way because a weekly period gives journalists a lot more time to go into depth.
Anyway just after I left Germany the big wave of refugees reached Europe and suddenly it was all over the news. As one of very few European countries, German people acted very welcoming and I remember having tears in my eyes because it was really the first time I was proud of the country I live in. In one euphoric article it was written that trains of hope are reaching Germany and 70 years ago they left Germany for a different reason. Let me at least say this was a very strong statement which kind of stuck in my head.
But as if I would have guessed, I also recorded the sound of thunder and put it in the track: half a year later, first euphoria turned into suspicion. During the first two weeks there was a lot of thunder and lightning.”
This track was a field recording experiment which went right. A friend of mine asked me to go out at night to an area in hamburg which, due to its daily business purpose, is nearly empty of humans after working hours, perfect for recording sounds. We recorded sound files in a long tunnel and other places to finally stumble across this parking ramp which, luckily, was sound-tweaked in about a third of its space.
I carried my beloved OP1, a portable speaker and a portable recorder with two Neumann mics. We placed the mics onto the stand and I walked around with the OP1 playing a percussion line, one which I played a lot during my last livesets.
“22 Degree Halo”
“A 22° Halo is an optical phenomenon which appears when the sky is covered by thin cirrusor cirrostratus clouds around the moon or the sun. I saw this phenomenon during BPM festival 2014 when DJ Phono, Kollektiv Turmstrasse and me were having a good talk on the beach during a calm night. the sky was a little foggy and when I looked up the moon there was a halo suddenly opening around it. we wouldn’t have been surprised if a UFO appeared and landed.
With this track I wanted to express this feeling of something beautiful happening unexpectedly.
The choir is a 24-person ensemble from Prague.”
“For My Better Half”
Being alone for one month at 1900m above sea level (approx 6300 feet) was, of course, not easy during the whole time. Especially when the weather was grey it was very depressing. I was used to that amazing view but while being in the clouds (which you usually are in that height during bad weather) the sight was gone completely. I also missed my wife a lot so I decided to finally finish the track I always wanted to do for her.
The idea was in my audio workstation for 2 years but it never left that state which you hear at the very end of the track a chord progression played by a wrecked Rhodes piano.
Up there in my cabin I finally had the time and the patience to cut it into eigths and play around with it. finally it worked.
“[..] especially on this track at one point I realised the need to finish it fast because i was afraid of losing my mind”
In this track you hear Guilhem Desq, a hurdy gurdy player from France. Pete from Diynamic saw a video of his on youtube and sent it over to me because he knew this will catch my interest. It did, so I contacted Guilhem and sent him a sketch I already had in my drawer. He came back with very inspiring ideas and pieces so I decided to finish it in my cabin. Somehow the hurdy gurdy needed to be placed in a cold environment.
Each and every emotional aspect of all album tracks was heavily experienced by myself. I was very emotional a lot because of happiness, because of being alone, missing my wife, being melancholic and I allowed every feeling to come in simply because I was alone. To some extent I was in an artificial manic state of mind (which I’m not in my normal life, thank god) and especially on this track at one point I realised the need to finish it fast because I was afraid of losing my mind.
“Tanz Fuer Drei”
This track was made in my studio in Hamburg shortly after I came back. I was deeply impressed and still had mountain taste on my tongue. It’s my personal favourite on the album, piano and harmonium slowly finding themselves glued together by another OP1 percussion track recorded in the basement below my studio.
This was the last but one tune I made up there. Imagine three weeks of intense working, around 10h a day except sundays, going through depths and highs and finally finishing a track that always wanted to be finished for a couple of years. the track idea was there for such a long time and finally I was able to successfully complete it (afterwards I still needed to shorten it a couple of times and the mix also wasn’t that great), but I was very, very happy. the Budapest scoring orchestra played the main theme and I cut and tweaked a lot to make it fit. Actually it felt like I reached the height of my art for 2015 and I’m ready to go on with the next steps in my life. This is how I look like when I’m really satisfied.
As the name giving track you might expect something visually spectacular. I think that the visual sense in general is overrated. Near the end I visited my ‘guardian mountain’ again to listen to my work. I climbed up as long as I felt safe (and if you look at the tree’s angle you can see it’s pretty steep) and had a listen on my in-ears. it was grey and cold so I had to dance on a little mountain ledge to keep me warm in about 2300m above sea level (6900feet). The journey I had made with this album finally felt complete.