The Berlin-based electronic duo Tarwater (Ronald Lippok and Bernd Jestram) formed in 1995. They have produced eleven regular studio albums and various collaborations (eg with Piano Magic, Tuxedomoon, B. Fleischmann), as well as numerous film and theater scores. Lippok also plays in the band To Rococo Rot.

File under: Indietronics, Neo-Krautrock

"We are not minimalists," emphasize Tarwater. Perhaps the term is overused to the point of meaninglessness, but it can certainly be assumed that the band has been labeled as such more than once. Their new album "Adrift" is an album of voices and rhythms, with an atmosphere that may at first seem reduced, yet further listening reveals a wealth of detail. "Adrift" was created in 2013/14 and completed after Ronald Lippok and Bernd Jestram worked together with Maurus Ronner on the soundtrack for the documentary "24h Jerusalem". Such projects are not a disruption for Tarwater, but serve as catalysts for new interactions. They make music in a "laboratory with changing experimental arrangements".

One might imagine the two lab technicians as travelers. And just as the result of an experiment is uncertain, the final destination of the journey is initially unclear. Tarwater encourage this state of being "Adrift". The cover of the album shows the empty field of the former Berlin airport at Tempelhof, photographed by Robert Lippok, who also provided the photo for the cover of Tarwater's previous album, "Inside The Ships" (2011, Bureau B 085). Then it was an uncompleted Space Opera. This time it's about the "search for our own Byzantium". "Adrift" is a dream diary; its characters act not as in fantasy, but reality. Tarwater agree when the album is described as "somnambulist".

"Adrift" contains 13 songs, four of which are instrumentals. The opening track, "The Tape", is an introduction to the sonic landscape of the album. Drum 'n' Bass in slow motion: A recurring hissing sound meets an acoustic bass and associative percussion. Tarwater roguishly refer to the acoustic bass as their "weapon of choice" and are fascinated by its elastic, vague expressiveness. The drumkit in the traditional rock format is conspicuous in its absence. Tarwater, who particularly in the British music press are happily and quite fittingly placed in the tradition of the Krautrock of the seventies, tap into a different close relative on "Adrift". Robert Wyatt, with his Jazz filtered through Progressive Rock, comes to mind.

"Adrift" is one of the few Tarwater albums not to feature a cover version. Instead there are four assimilations of texts by befriended and esteemed poets: "Homology, Myself" is by the Viennese-Berliner poetess Ann Cotten, quoted from "Dichten = N. 10. 16 New (To American Readers) Poets" (Burning Deck/Anyart, Providence 2008). She speaks of the impossible task of being a robot. The rhythmic backdrop, in which Tarwater install Cotten's lecture (music and voice recording were created separately), is anything but mechanical. The lyrics to "They Told Me In The Alley" also come from Ann Cotten and Kerstin Cmelka. The title suggests something rather pastoral, yet we hear as Ronald Lippok's voice travels through different room ambiences. "Log Of The Sloop" and "The Evening Pilgrims" are taken from the collection "The Man Who Had Forgotten The Name Of Trees" by Milner Place (Moloko Print, Schönebeck 2013). A love of literature is inherent in all Tarwater releases: On their debut album "11|6 12|10" (Kitty-Yo, 1996) the Norwegian-Berliner author Tone Avenstroup speaks "Han er der inne", a text by Terje Dragseth, over relaxed electro jazz – the track would also fit in well on "Adrift".

"Adrift" finishes on an ethereal note: "Rice And Fish" features a cameo by Sabrina Milena alias Milenasong. Bernd Jestram produced the debut album by the Berlin-based artist of Norwegian-Slovenian origin, and in 2010 Tarwater covered Milenasong’s "Lily Wyatt". Milena provides the shimmering background to Ronald Lippok's laconic vocals, alongside psychedelic guitar sounds, electronic loops and a bossa nova rhythm. Minimalism sounds different.

Marek Flohner

Read the info sheet (PDF) in German
Download the info sheet (PDF): English
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Inside The Ships


"The Evening Pilgrims" (by Robert Lippok)

"Do The Oz"
(Directed and produced by Mario Mentrup and Volker Sattel)


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