Early childhood memories, pirate radio broadcasts, war, climate change – these are just a few of the inspirations in „The Drunken Fisherman and other stories“, a sonic journey between ambient, electronica, triphop, wave and pop; between Eno, Kraftwerk and Massive Attack. Extended instrumental pieces alternate with atmospheric pop songs, layered voices and lush sonic landscapes, sometimes sublime, sometimes sombre.
For over 20 years, multi-instrumentalist and producer Stephan Kleinert (born 1972) had been mastermind and driving force of pop-wave-triphop-outfit Botany Bay, once billed as one of Germany’s most important free music projects. Four years after Botany Bay's breakup, Stephan is now back with his solo debut "The Drunken Fisherman And Other Stories" – a title that hints to a concept album. And indeed there is an overarching theme.
Says Stephan: "It started out with an instrumental expressing my feelings about the Ukrainian war and then quickly became a meditation on the current state of the world. One day I was looking for additional sonic textures for one song and stumbled upon these amateur shortwave radio transmissions from a drunken fisherman. Having him in the mix suddenly it struck me what a good metaphor for mankind he is – sailing out into a storm, happily fishing the seas, both vulnerable and threatening in his stupor, and oblivious to the danger around him and to his own mortality. So in the end it's about these times we're living in, and about how we got there, about these traits that make us self destruct – populism, greed, toxic masculinity; but it's also about hope and love, about seizing the moment and not to wait until everything is right again, because that won't happen anytime soon."
Having used real acoustic instruments almost exclusively in the last Botany Bay releases, for his solo debut Stephan went back to electronics. In fact, heaps of electronics, both analogue and digital. "After we moved in 2020, I was finally able to build a studio with enough space for all the keyboards, synthesizers and sound modules that I had gathered in the last 30 years. Suddenly they all stood there, blinking and buzzing, begging me to do something with them again. And so I did."
For Stephan, releasing his debut under the moniker of "Schall und Stille" (which translates to "Sound and Silence") is both a return to his roots as well as the beginning of a new journey. One can be curious to see where it will lead.
All proceeds from this album go to "Tara Tierhilfe e.V.", an animal sanctuary near Cologne, Germany, which is home to more than 70 horses, goats, sheep, donkeys and pigs.
For those interested, here's who we are and what we do: www.tara-tierhilfe.de
(German only, sorry)
released August 12, 2022
Stephan Kleinert – instruments, vocals, programming, production
Nicole Schmidt – lead vocals on „Me Without You“ and „Little Glitch“, backing vocals on „So Wrong“
Mylofy - acoustic guitars on „Me Without You“
Anna Simon – narration on „Ukas“
Special not-so-honorary appearance by Scott Morrison
Recorded at the gallery, Erl, and at Nicole's place, Bonn, February - June 2022
Mastering by Samuel Aubert @ openmastering.studio
All tracks written by Stephan Kleinert
cc attribution: contains sounds by tomlija, cc-by, freesound.org/people/Tomlija/sounds/106553/
("car engine revving up to 7000 rpm (Rover 216 GSi)"), iwiploppenisse, cc-by, freesound.org/people/Iwiploppenisse/sounds/156031/
Music and artwork cc by-nc-nd