The second LP named Schnee from the Cologne and Berlin-based band Das Ende der Liebe (DEDL) is a deep plunge into a jungle of wafting beats, dynamic arrangements and psychedelic sounds by acoustic-electronic instruments. The album, designed as a double LP, stands out from its successful predecessor Bright Euro Teen Gets Educated About Life by Trip Music Band and the earlier online and cassette releases in terms of both sound and content, with its tracks averaging ten minutes in length. For the production of Schnee, the band abandoned a completely self- directed production for the first time and teamed up during recording and mixing with Ingo Krauss, the sound magician and good spirit from the Candy Bomber Studio in Berlin-Tempelhof. Thus DEDL joins an illustrious list of sound artists whom Krauss has already lent a hand: Swans, Caspar Brötzmann Massaker, Automat, Nick Cave, Moritz von Oswald, Einstürzende Neubauten and others.
The album’s opener Swansygamelan already points in the direction in which Das Ende der Liebe is heading this time round. Even though the gravitational or even hypnotic piece reveals two of its inspirational sources in the title, it finds its very own expression during a good 13 minutes. This is partly due to the fact that nothing is ever composed or even written down by DEDL. Everything is always improvised. The music of the creative quartet consistently represents a snapshot, an immediate reflection of the mood while playing. In this case, it represents the mood in the studio for three days in March 2021. As a reminder: the lockdown was still implemented, at least for the sector of the arts. „Certainly the fact that there was an inoculation centre under the Candy Bomber studio played a role in the atmosphere and our sound,“ says Laurenz Gemmer. „It caused some surreal circumstances, such as security checks and sneaking in through the back entrance. Suddenly we were in the eye of trying to fight a pandemic, at the same time feeling closeness and distance to a social crucible of frustration and hope.“
Thomas Sauerborn mentions another aspect of the pandemic: „There was less pressure during that time.“ Indeed, on Schne*e the band seems comparatively more relaxed than on previous releases. Their interactions radiate a deep calm. Together they create waiting moments, larger spaces and a more profound sound. No prior arrangement was needed to get to this point. „We just went ahead and improvised,“ Sauerborn explains with regards to the working process. „In the end we had some takes of half an hour or more.“ From these, Sauerborn and Andreas Völk picked out the finest bits, which were in turn shaped into their final form by Krauss. There are no subsequently added tracks. Sauerborn emphasises the unadulterated and direct nature of the pieces: ”The music you hear is what we played.”
The unagitated and at the same time concentrated aura ultimately results from the situation in the Candy Bomber studio. „On the one hand, Krauss didn’t allow any stress to arise due to his extremely calm manner; on the other hand, he gave us an extremely precise sound panorama on the headphones, in which we were able to perceive a great depth of detail during the recordings. This transparency increased the level of mutual attention and prevented us from feeling any urge to keep enriching the arrangements.“
The monolithic ‘Swansygamelan‘ documents musical momentum and a conceptual peculiarity of the band in many respects. Instead of straight beats, which are almost essential components of the DEDL concept in party-like concert settings, there is an almost lurking, deep electro or bass groove.
The steady pulse is supported by sparingly jazzy drums. Shimmering tones and repetitive patterns put you in a trance, flaring sounds spark confusion. With a little imagination, the following ‘FTTFHTTP‘ takes you to a dreamed-up rainforest. Its latent voodoo-like drums evoking memories of the sparse yet powerful drum patterns of the unforgettable Jaki Liebezeit.
‘Beweise‘ comes a lot closer to the aesthetics of electronic music; the three-part piece, at a good 17 minutes, takes us on the longest journey so far. Sauerborn’s drumming reveals his jazz roots once again, however, the gyrating synth patterns in the style of modular systems are just as striking.
Later, the sounds become much more abstract, rhythmic interjections more complex, the jungle of small phrases, motifs and variations denser and denser, while a sequencer wavers unperturbed in the background. In the third part, the quartet entirely dissolves some of the structures. At the same time many of the entries initially seem more minimalist than before, only to progressively develop unpredictable and weird ideas towards the end.The following pieces continue to offer a lot of variety and energy.
The lingering and over a long stretch comparatively reduced track ‘Moped‘ oscillates between meditative and increasingly insistent, almost ominous moods. Whispering seems predestined for the use as a soundtrack due to its prevailing minimalism, either in a dystopian science fiction film or a documentary on contemporary events.‘Riffspliff‘ is more rhythmic and catchy again, being incredibly suggestive in certain parts. Something similar can be said about ‘Tokyo‘, which, together with the following ‘Birds‘, enters the terrain of dark ambient perhaps most decisively.
Since the previous album, the band has significantly expanded its instrumentation. Synthesiser, KAOSS pad, Fender Rhodes piano, drum pad, and here and there mostly wordless vocal fragments enrich the lucid to opaque, sometimes fascinatingly jagged, rarely rugged sound panorama. Not least due to the singular preparations of the CP70 stage piano and the amount of electronic effects, it is often hardly recognisable where the many unconventional sounds come from.
The striking aesthetics are completed by kaleidoscope-like, overlapping rhythms and open metres. Sound production and music reflect the different sources of inspiration of the four musicians: They can agree on Aphex Twin and Swans, furthermore names like Maurice Ravel and Can, Brad Mehldau, Benjamin Wynn alias Deru as well as the Salzburg DJ and producer Demuja come to mind.
DEDL’s unconventional instant composing combines sophisticated forms and energetic collective improvisations. But what is the connection to cold snow? As an answer, the band points to some physical facts: When a snowflake falls on water, it produces a shrill high-pitched sound between 50 and 200 kilohertz. Freshly fallen snow consists of up to 95% trapped air and therefore has a sound-absorbing effect. Under the microscope, snowflakes become prisms, at higher temperatures six-armed dendrites, quasi three-dimensional psychedelic structures.
With Schne*e, Das Ende der Liebe manifest their individual pursuit of a particular style. The genre- crossing, experimental music cleverly combines the freedom of improvisation with versatile structures, associative moments and ritual-like trance excursions. It offers points of contact for a multi-layered audience, its emotional power touching at live music festivals as well as at DJ events. The double vinyl album captures all these aspects.