THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW, AND HOW TO BUILD IT
November 2017 on Bureau B
“THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW, AND HOW TO BUILD IT” was composed in Tehran, a metropolis of 12 million people and the capital of Iran, often portrayed in the western world as the “Heart of Darkness” or “The Land of Fear”, notoriously located on the “Axis of Evil”. In the winter of 2016/17, Andreas Spechtl spent two months here, during which time he played ten shows in his Tehran studio. Meanwhile, in his adopted home of Berlin, a terrorist attack took place at the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz. Temperatures in a Tehran winter can drop to minus 10° Celsius. It snows too. Taxis thread their way through dense traffic, ferrying passengers from one private apartment to another. In Tehran, private space becomes public space, whilst public space is traversed as quickly as possible: “Hidden Homes”.
We hear: traditional Persian percussion and string instruments, sampled by Andreas Spechtl, rearranged and treated with contemporary beats, filters and effects. Aural structures rise up in space, as complex as they are fascinating and disorientating. Nevertheless, even-tempered rhythms mark out a more familiar path approaching narratives in recent electronic music.
Walter Benjamin wrote in his Moscow Diary that you learn to see your home more clearly from a distance. This simple observation can be laid like a matrix over Andreas Spechtl’s record. In reflecting on the other, he reflects on himself; ruminating on Tehran turns his thoughts to Berlin, from his own to the unknown.
The record he has made holds a mirror to the certitude that we need not live in fear of the future – a central motif in these ten new songs, articulated through track titles such as “TMRRW” and “Future Memories”. The citizens of Tehran are not afraid of the future. They understand that things can only get better. Until then, they will continue to party and celebrate creativity behind closed doors. And Andreas Spechtl found himself doing the same.
“I have always been enchanted by the beauty of language”, explains Andreas Spechtl, who grew progressively quieter on “Africa Blvd” in the Persian winter. The less he spoke, the more music became his language, which is why his new album is predominantly instrumental.
First and foremost, the future so optimistically envisioned in so few words by Andreas Spechtl is created through friction. Thomas Bernhard once wrote about a terribly flawed Austria and gleaned his poetry from this friction. Andreas Spechtl left behind the contemporary comforts of a frictionless Berlin for a place where language was elusive, yet the intrinsic friction energy of the place was tangible, transformable into hybrid, at times ambient music. In a country where so much is forbidden, the future promises unlimited possibilities. Repressive tolerance, where an individual anything goes stands in isolation, is a lead weight pushing down on Germany, but not on Tehran.
“THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW, AND HOW TO BUILD IT” is both document and witness, a grand, opulent field recording collated in ten diary entries.