- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Germany has been home to some of the worlds best Ambient music in recent years. German composer Burkhard Mahler continues to raise the bar with in the genera with his latest release Fusion White Classics II. As a fan of all things ambient I can appreciate the open space & sonic musical textures Mahler has brilliantly crafted on his music. Additionally Mahler’s compositions are also an amazing fusion of styles, making his unique style of music quite groundbreaking. He skillfully blends guitars, synths & ambient beats with perfect balance. This gives everything equal space within the atmosphere. There is clearly a lot of improvisation in his work as well, as a result many of the songs present what I would describe as brilliant musical meandering. This quality allows the catalogue to magically flow across your ears & fill your sonic space with peacefully & unobtrusively.
IMD How would classify the music of Burkhard Mahler?
BM My music is experimental Fusion or so to say contemporary Jazz which shows the original process of recording and mixing as played in combined with computer generated electronica. The result is coming up by playing instruments and experimenting with the computer without thinking of a commercially usable product. So you listen to music which is differing clearly from products being designed for commercial purpose.
IMD Who are some of your top 5 musical influences as far as bands & composers go? Starting with the most influential?
BM The most influential band to what I´m doing is Pink Floyd with their spheric melodies like “Shine on you crazy Diamond” The others are Marc Knopfler and Dire Straits-I like Knopfler´s guitar picking and feeling for rhythm. I also like Al Jarreau with his improvised parts of Jazzsinging very much.Jean Michelle Jarre´s Oxygene was the first record I ever bought and led me towards electronic improvising. Lately I went to a little concert of the ICI Ensemble (International Composers and Improvisers Ensemble) in Munich and was very impressed by the avant-garde like touch of their spontaneous music here in town where you listen to that kind of art nearly nowhere.
IMD I hear everything from Chill out, Dub, Ambient, Electronic Jazz, to even Contemporary Classical. If I had to guess you listen to a wide range of music. Am I off the mark?
BM No, you're completely right. I'm interested in music on its complete range even considering that noise by nature or technique could be some kind of music if you'd arrange and pitch “properly”.In one of my former projects called “Little Birdsinfony (Vogelsinfonietta)” I arranged and composed for a classical orchestra (computer) trying to get into some kind of dialogue to natural bird singing and sound. The Contemporary Classical like the chorals of Ernst Krenek/1900-1991 (Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae) or Hans Werner Henze (Five Neapolitanic Songs-1956), Gloria Coates-American composer who lives nowadays near Munich, just to mention a few, are inspiring me more than contemporary Pop music. If I listen to Claude Vivier, Morton Feldman, Hans Zender or Reinhard Lang (all signed with KAIROS-Music) I get the power to move on with the artistic aspect of music without caring of commercial thoughts.
IMD What inspired you to start writing & composing?
BM I learned to play the piano and guitar when I was a child, even played in a teenager band composing my own sound but lost music then and started painting besides my studies for graphic design. I can remember the days very well when I had my atelier for painting in the Mozartstreet in Munich when I met my mentor. He got to a vernissage of mine and came by some days later to talk and look around. These days I had a guitar in my studio and ran out of lust for painting after 20 years; I played some of my teenage stuff and Andreas (mentor) said he'd bring his guitar to join improvising. We recorded that by an old mono cassette player in the year 2000 and he liked it so much he wanted to make a record being a studied musician and audio engineer. This record never has been published but was the first step to bring me to the computer recording my own creations. Besides times had changed to my teenagemusic so much that in the year 2000 (the year my mentor went in) it was no problem recording your own music and make records in your home recording studio on your own any more and after three or four years after experimenting with composing and recording and producing I published my first records at my homage when in 2008 I finally got to a label….
IMD What’s in your IPOD or CD Player right now?
BM Right now there's my own music in my mp3player I always listen to when I'm in public , go shopping ore use the underground. I like listening to “The New Creatures” and “Fusion White Classics” while the surrounding strangers are passing by. This makes me feel familiar to the scene passing around me and gives me strength.
IMD How’s the music scene in Munich, Germany these days?
BM The Munich music scene differs from interesting avant-garde like the mentioned ICI Ensemble above to very conventional grandpa jazz and lots of boring commercially designed stuff. Even for me living in Munich its very hard to get working together with other musicians and singers cause they mostly look for earning money playing and recording music which I'm not interested in, at least not in the first. Fusion is very unknown down here and I'm kind of a solo fighter here being laughed at by the other professionals for making such a “useless and awful” stuff they don't even understand and which is commercially of no use in their eyes. These conventional conservatives are the majority of colleagues I meet here in Munich, but nevertheless I meet some talents from time to time who are interested in “strange music” and they work with me to get something they won't get anywhere else. Some of those even stay during the years being on my published records not earning a single cent yet.
IMD What is the best concert you have been to over the years?
BM As I mentioned I have been deeply impressed by the ICI Ensemble. Munich music professors and international guests gather to improvise and/or making records and playing for the sense of art. The Concert of the ICI I was attending was at the Munich Gasteig, Black Box (an official house of culture built by the city) during a cost-free session called “Lautwechsel-Sound change” which lasted for one week and was just awesome.
IMD I especially enjoyed the piece ‘Wild Strings” what else can you tell us about that particular piece, what inspired that one?
BM Sure: Wild Strings is a part of improvised and spontaneously recorded music with my former mentor, Andreas Köhler. Here the circle closes when we sat in my painting studio in the Mozartstreet jamming the guitar. 10 years later he asked me for a new record he liked to play in his music broadcast with a local radio station called fusionoderso www.fusionoderso.de I played some unfinished music carped after handing over to him “The New Creatures” and asked him whether he got some cool guitar picking in mind to that surrounding music. He said sure, I put the recording computer on and he grabbed one of my guitars. He listened to the music once and we started recording then two times, both tracks are in the result after some mixing and pitching I did afterwards.
IMD How about “Saxophone Beat” Could you tell us more about that piece of music?
BM Sure: Saxophone Beat is played by my longtime friend and co musician Peter Schickling I asked to play some saxophone to the music I already had done. He listened to it one time and started jamming in the kitchen like hell, I asked him to hold on for a second and started the recorder getting the final result-some mixing and cutting-some mastering and here you are with Saxophone Beat—a small kitchen beat.
IMD You have quite a discography, what separates your latest CD from the others?
BM Fusion White Classics II, although being not very good in the critics, is a step forward to do some more extreme and completely new sound and music getting to the edge of Contemporary Classical without using an orchestra.
IMD What’s next for Burkhard Mahler?
BM Right now I take my time searching for new singers and producing and composing a record with the very talented singer K-shut. Besides that more Urban Soul oriented project I'm composing churchorgan- and orchestra music to publish some Contemporary Classical in the near future.
interview conducted by Cyrus Rhodes. Property of Indie Music Media LLC.
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