When I moved to Berlin four years ago it was quite tough at first, primarily because I didn’t know anyone. You suddenly feel very anonymous, which is strange but not necessarily always a bad thing. Still, I spent a lot of time wandering around on my own where I was only really accompanied by music and thoughts. Human beings were scarce.
Today I found myself re-listening to Strange World Beyond, an album by German duo Piemont and I have only just been able to figure out why it was a helpful addition to my Berlin wanderings. It was quite an emotional time and with a severe lack of academic distraction my brain got, admittedly, in quite the pickle.
The album is characterised by simple, repeated, ordered structures and layers of sound which are introduced and removed are kept compact and organized. It’s minimal, yet there is a buoyant, aquatic quality to the beat which gives it shape, makes it engaging and extremely hypnotic. I suppose I found this oddly therapeutic. The album’s rationality helped counter-balance my weepiness. It was great for a brisk walk, or at least a steady knee jiggle in more stationary situations.
Strange World Beyond seems to have had a bizarre effect on me and I’m not really sure how I feel about the album now. And yet I used to listen to it all the time. It’s one of those things that’s a bit unpleasant, but addictive. Like cheese-flavoured maize snacks or sticking your finger in an electronic fly swat.
So this evening I wandered through London listening to it with mixed feelings, but you may be (depending on the degree of our friendship) relieved to learn that my brain is no longer pickled. And with that delightful image, I shall take my leave.
Have a listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=ALNb4maWNoT6SdcZa2vMlu3uM1nD27-uxd