The Leipzig label Altin Village & Mine was able to look back on 20 years in 2022 – and on a very strong release year. Four wonderful albums have been released, which we present together here.
Altin Village & Mine? Since 2002, the label has curated a very diverse catalog of releases by musicians from all over the world. In April we had an interview with Marcel, one of the operators of Altin Village & Mine. And when asked about the common thread in this open-heartedness, he said that “a reflective and critical attitude towards existing conditions as a basis” is just as important when working with the artists as the musical output.
Even if the anniversary compilation “Free/Future/Music” announced for this year will not be ready until 2023, 2022 was an extremely good year for the label. Altin Village & Mine has released four very unique and very good albums in the last twelve months. Here they are at a glance.
Cloud Management „s/t“
Let’s start with Cloud Management’s debut album. In October we already mentioned a segment of a special live set by the Hamburg trio. The self-titled debut album came out in November. Behind Cloud Management are Thomas Korf, Sebastian Kokus and Ulf Schütte, who have already released a lot of interesting music in other constellations.
With their new project, the three have now succeeded in creating a super exciting herb update. Purely instrumentally, the band glides through seven tracks that are as organic and poetic as they are surreal. In their free session character, cloud management constantly develops new levels while retaining a certain stringency. The result is a subtle-experimental and meandering-cosmic, but consistently accessible mix of dubby deceleration and herb-rock trippyness. Always pushed by soft, pounding beats and a few rough edges. Some chords and sounds are screaming for remixes that would also ignite on the dance floor. But the repetitive basic character already has a lot of energy. An incredibly fascinating album.
My hit: “Big Cloud”. Why: Because the track loses itself so beautifully in its glassy sounds and a chord that floats above everything.
Modus Pitch „Polyism“
Around the same time, another debut album was released by Altin Village & Vine. Namely from Friedrich Brückner’s solo project Modus Pitch. Indie fans may know Brückner from the Leipzig-US band White Wine, which caused a stir around five years ago with their arty, sophisticated rock. There he played bassoon and bass. But the classically trained musician is much more active behind the scenes – he produced for Warm Graves and PA Huelsenbeck and toured as a sound designer with international acts such as Yoko Ono, Get Well Soon, Modeselektor and Dear Reader.
With Modus Pitch, Friedrich Brückner has been bundling his broad musical background into his own tracks and songs for several years. On “Polyism” in 2022, the first nine tracks have finally become accessible to everyone. And they reveal a compilation-like abundance of different influences. In just over half an hour, jazz, cosmic, dub and new age as well as breakbeat and post-punk flare up. What may sound like a loose mix or a wildly arranged overview of the works of a multi-instrumentalist when you read it, actually comes together as a coherent whole. Atmospherically, the nostalgically colored synths seem to hold all the diversity together well. And even a darkly theatrical “Outer Veil” fits into the flow. A flow that is dramaturgically extremely subtle and adept – with many quiet contemplative and some uplifting extrovert phases. Definitely an album that needs a few more listens to unfold its full fascination.
My hit: “Suspender”. Why: Because in its quirky breakiness it adds an exciting new touch to the contemporary UK sound.
Kalme “New Language”
In the spring of 2022, Altin Village & Mine also released Kalme’s first album – btw. mastered by Fritz Brückner aka Modus Pitch. Behind Kalme is a no less versatile active musician from Berlin: Sonja Deffner. She has been involved in several well-known indie bands in recent years, including Die Heiterkeit, PTTRNS and Christiane Rösinger’s live band. She also works as a graphic designer and in the theatre.
As Kalme, Sonja Deffner has created a poetic pop-electronic design that creates a very special atmosphere with reduced-precise arrangements and somewhat monotonous, softly spoken vocals. Like the modern – and very successful – setting of a volume of poetry in which biographical and socio-political relationships are addressed in abstract linguistic images. And all of that in German. But the abstractness and the ambivalent distance-closeness relationship of the vocals also ensure that the lyrics have a certain lightness and don’t push too much into the center.
“New Language” still needs a lot of attention, but also gives a lot back – musically and in terms of content.
My hit: “Passage”. Why: Because the song has a special drive with its background breaks.
Fhunyue Gao & Sven Kacirek – Hoya (Official Music Video)
Also in spring 2022, “Hoya” was released – the collaboration between the Swiss musician Fhunyue Gao and the Hamburg musician Sven Kacirek. Both have already left their own musical mark internationally in a wide variety of constellations and solo projects. During a joint collaboration for a Dutch dance project, Gao and Kacirek met for the first time and brought their instruments together. And this interplay of marimbas, drums, percussions, electronics, theremin, Buchla synthesizer and piano obviously fascinated both of them so much that there were more off-sessions during the rehearsal breaks. And finally a project of my own.
“Hoya” is characterized by a very filigree and subtle sound aesthetic, by the joy of research, letting go and discovery. At the same time, both musicians are so deeply rooted in their instruments that the feeling of arbitrariness never arises. Every finger stroke, every note seems to be in the right place. The result is an organic form of electronica and accessible avant-garde, which also works very well live – as was also the case in the Plagwitzer Markthalle this year.
Thank you Altin Village & Mine for a great year!
My hit: “Archie Waltz”. Why: Because it unites theremin and loose drums in such a wonderfully elegiac and free manner.