Picture a cozy atelier / studio where all the windows are flung open, a pair of mics set to high gain hang in front of a piano, and the door to the space is locked. The thing is, if he’s going to play, the door has to be locked. A click track pops away relentlessly in the headphones, measuring off time. A seemingly insurmountable feeling rattles the bones, and with every chord which fills the room and spills out into the courtyard it’s slowly taking on tangible shape. It’s being released and translated, completely impromptu. The room tone, the kids playing in the backyard causing a raucous, the cat perched on the window sill about to jump off (making a thud), the creaking chair, the sound of the mallets and all the percussive, mechanical guts of the piano – everything that the mics pick up becomes part and parcel of the composition, and will eventually be woven into the very fabric of the finished full length.
I just wanted to play and have a way to blowing off tension, without any thoughts of releasing it or showing it to anyone. The studio where I recorded the tracks is my sanctuary. When I go there and close the doors I ́m in a vacuum, a place between the outside world and me. – JW
Jan Wagner’s debut – titled Nummern (Numbers) – was recorded as a series of sonic diary entries, between the spring of 2016 and December of the same year.
Nummern is a personal record, a real diary. However, since Jan is a firm believer that everyone experiences and process music differently, he decided to completely leave out the personal narratives that informed the recordings, to allow the listener to have a very pure, unmediated and personal experience of the music. This is why the record is simply called “Numbers” and each track is referred to as a Number–letter. The fact that improvisation is just as much a musical revelation to the artist as it is to a listener, was also a factor in conceptualising the experience of the music / the record. Ideally, every listener will be privy to this type of revelation, at least on the first listen.
My work with Hans Joachim Irmler and the Faust Studio opened my mind. Irmler became my musical mentor, he showed me how to create music without thinking, just playing. Ostgut showed me how to create emotions with just changing tiny bits. Techno is honest and true and I try to translate this feeling into my music. – JW