“Neuzeit reflects the time of change after a crash. The cards are remixed again; changes in any direction are possible. There are opportunities to get things right again – e.g. to rearrange them. Of course, there is always a dark side in everything.”J.Peter Schwalm
How we define the age we live in depends entirely on the frame we choose to view it through. On one timescale we’re just getting settled into the 21st century; zoom out and we’re deeply entrenched in the Anthropocene. We might be waking to the dawn of an enlightened, interconnected new era or teetering on the brink of a sixth mass extinction.
Neuzeit, which German electro-acoustic composer J. Peter Schwalm views through his new duo outing with the Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen, is generally taken to refer to the modern era that began in the 16th century and witnessed the rise of Western Civilization. Schwalm chooses to take the term on its face, however; the fusion of “new” and “time” he defines as a period marked by sudden and drastic change. To borrow another word from the German, it ably yet dauntingly captures the zeitgeist of our tumultuous moment, one in which political upheaval, global pandemic and catastrophic climate change seem poised to usher in an uncertain new existence.
Neuzeit is not only a sonic commentary on this unstable age but a product of it. The collaboration was created almost entirely in the altered reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Schwalm began crafting the compositions in February, as cities around the world began instigating lockdowns to stem the tide of the virus. Realizing that he and Henriksen would be unable to meet in an actual studio, a collaboration by correspondence began, with conversations over the phone and ideas and music sent via email. Once the parts were recorded, Schwalm sequestered himself in the studio for months, assembling, mixing and editing to conjure the finished product.
Release Date: November 27th, 2020
J. Peter Schwalm: piano, drums, electronics and programming
Arve Henriksen: trumpets, percussion and voices
Directions in Music by J. Peter Schwalm
Mixed, edited and mastered by J. Peter Schwalm at Mainsound/Frankfurt
Photography and design by Damir Tomaš
Music published by Tono and Edition Outshine/Universal Music Publishing
Produced by J. Peter Schwalm
Executive producer for RareNoiseRecords: Giacomo Bruzzo
© + ℗ RareNoiseRecords 2020