Neosignal co-founder Misanthrop is about to take us on a brand-new trip. His most explorative, experimental and emotional trip so far. His third album – Universe.
Dropping on June 10 and written over the course of the last three years, Universe takes off where his last LP Analog left us. It’s rife in wild, atypical electronic journeys that pay no attention to the standard DJ arrangement or any type of current sounds and dig deep into Misanthrop’s hench armoury of analog machines and his rich palette of grainy textures and otherworldly sounds.
A condensed 10 track mission written for you to absorb and digest over time, it is by far his most thoughtful and deepest body of work to date, and one that guarantees new sounds and twists and turns with every lesson.
We caught up with him to find out more ahead of its release. Ready for take-off?
Thanks for showing us into your universe! Judging by the info that came with the album, and the natural flow of it, this is the sound of you really finding yourself…
Yeah that’s true. I had a really good time working on the music. It’s difficult for me though to say what my ‘sound’ actually is, as it naturally flows and I’m not thinking about it. Maybe that’s the key to it? Not to overthink things and just be yourself.
The music on the album is a time lapse of more or less three years of work and it is of course connected to my environment, which means it’s impossible to repeat that process later on.
I’m really happy with the outcome. And, yes, this is the sound of me finding myself at that certain moment in time. Nevertheless this doesn’t mean, I won’t change in the future. On the contrary – I embrace change.
Did you set out to write an album or did it come together as an album naturally over time?
At the beginning, right after writing Analog I was quite exhausted. The amount of work is massive when you take care of the whole creative process sonically and visually. After a big project, there’s always the question ‘What’s next?’
I was also a bit disappointed because I couldn’t finish two tunes I wanted to release on Analog. So I thought it might be a good idea to make a follow up EP. The tunes I’m talking about were Jupiter and Alert. They were roughly finished, about 70%.
Then came covid-19 and I really didn’t feel like writing music for the dancefloor at all. I mean… For me, there was simply no purpose to do so. I took my time to experiment a lot and wrote weird music that I wouldn´t have done under ‘normal’ circumstances, because I simply had the time to do so.
After I had the tracks It’s Okay and Undo I decided that this couldn’t be just an EP; I had a bigger picture in mind. So I decided to go for an LP.
I was about to ask about lockdowns and that whole chapter away from the clubs…
I think lockdowns did have an effect, because I dared to experiment again. I know this sounds strange to a lot of people who struggled during lockdowns, but honestly I had the time of my life musically.
The hectic life totally disappeared, and the cancelled weekly gig madness made me rethink my musical goals. I’m not a social guy who needs to go out to pubs or clubs and meets a lot of friends. I’m happy at home with my family, nature and my studio.
I live in a small village in the countryside somewhere in the southwest of Germany. There’s a lot of nature nearby. I think lockdowns had a different effect on rural and urban people. For me it meant slowing down an already slow life with loads of air to breathe and not so many restrictions connected to my freedom.
Financially this was a disaster, but I never make decisions based on how to get the most amount of money in my life. Money and status do not make me happy and mean nothing to me. I want to be happy and feel good with what I do, that’s when I can be my best self. I think the whole lockdown made me think a bit more idealistic about my career and life in general.
That’s beautiful. Universe has a very natural sense of evolution from Analog in many ways, too.
I think it is a natural evolution. Maybe it has a similar feel to it because I put two tracks on Universe that should have seen a release on Analog.
The overall process was kind of seamless at some point. The only thing I have to admit which is different is that I used more analog outboard gear on Universe than on Analog actually. Not sure if the listener can hear that, but maybe subconsciously…
It’s the most experimental body of work you’ve created – especially cuts like It’s Okay, Undo, Jitters and Off Course – can you run us through any discoveries or epiphanies you had during these experimental explorations?
I wouldn’t say so because I always experimented a lot already. This time I just dared to put more experiments into an album format and I did not care too much to make it dancefloor compatible.
For example. I can´t really tell you at what BPM I wrote Undo or Off Course just because I wanted it to feel right instead of it being a DJ tool and match a certain genre expectation. Jitters has just a weird tonality and the title works quite well to describe the overall vibe.
It’s Okay for example came together when I had to feed the cat of my parents because they had been on holiday. The bloody cat did not show up in the evening so I tried to kill some time while playing my parents piano. I’m not a trained player or whatever, but when you’ve got a riff, you just try to perfect it by repeating. At the end I recorded it with my mobile recording setup and finished it at home. First I wanted to exchange the recorded piano with a polished Kontakt piano library, but the vibe on my recording was just right, so I kept it.
When you listen close, you can also hear a “meoooow” while I was recording, I think the cat was begging quite a while at the window to get in, but I was too focused. At the end the cat got food and I got my recording. So it was okay. We both win.
Haha. It feels like a very emotional album. Triumph and the title track Universe especially have that sense of subtle sadness or yearning.
It is an emotional album for me. I kind of like sad melancholic melodies as for me these transport stronger feelings. Nevertheless I tried to add a variety of moods onto it, to add even more contrast to these already melancholic tracks you mentioned.
When I wrote and put together the music for the album I tried to make sure to match the definition of a classic theatrical drama which helped me to visualize what moods and feelings I need.
What else does the world need to know about your Universe right now ahead of its release?
I’m really happy and excited it’s done! The process was so much fun, especially the artwork creation, which left my studio in a very dirty state with acrylic paint all over the place. I really loved doing the whole process without any rush and I hope one can feel that while listening… Please take your time to listen to it, it is made for that.
Misanthrop – Universe is out June 10 on Neosignal
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Author: Dave Jenkins