these are musical postcards from different points in time and space. some have been written four years ago but only mailed this summer. others have been sent right from the other side of the world while I was there.
all of them tell little stories of journeys and experiences, and if you put them together in the right order, maybe they will make some sense to you.

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#7 Songs from the Dust
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written and recorded march-may 2013 in southern california

The journey.
I watch the campfire crackle as the sun fades. A rock on a mountain is my home, a small sheltered place where I cut avocados in half and burn things I need to get rid of along with those dry twigs and branches. Some melodies sprout on lush lawns in the park, remember them, record them half asleep in the blue dreamy haze in the evening.
One moment she's a stranger at a downtown traffic light. And in the next I'm drowning in a twisted life's long story, being poured into my ear so boldly and yet trustfully sincere, that I don't dare to run, although I never asked about her foster parents, nor about her alcoholic husband, her despair.
Out there in the desert I find dust and heat and horseflies. The wind out here, when coming as a gentle, cooling breeze, can bring relief from all that makes the place unbearable - but also be unbearable itself, tear camps apart, press dust into the tents and trailers, there's no way to block it when you have no house.
But living under the sky for two months and a half, you'll get used to all that. And learn to cherish that the ground is firm and that the wind is cooling. That there is water there, replenishing your strength, and people, and a fire burning when it's cold at night. The desert's your home. And it makes for a powerful teacher.

Slab City, May 2013

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#6 Deconstruction Site
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anticipating departure from cologne, 2009-2011

The city I was born in, I grew up in. Like a spouse to whom I had been promised before I was born and ended up being married to for over twenty years. My love to her has never been questioned. And only lately I begin to realize it had never been my choice.
This is my home. I couldn't be more tired of it. Couldn't be more tired of sounding calm and sweet. A roughness needs to be released. And chewed and put into perspectives. Construction sites cover the city's face like open wounds, and it's time to rub salt in them.
Yet home is not just the place, it is also the people, my friends that I found in recent years and began to love dearly.. Now these songs attempt to unite both, merge recordings of my actual, physical surroundings, my city, my house, my heartbeat, with the subtle presence of my friends whose instruments I borrow and play, one for each track.

Home's impossibe to deal with. You're wrapped tightly in its embrace, can't shrug it off easily. And yet at times there's nothing more desirable than to cut loose from it for good.
You can't, you won't. You'll always bear a trace of your connection like a scar, like a second belly button. Deal with it. And disassemble, deconstruct and analyze your paths and where they'll lead you, remember where you are.

Cologne, Summer & Fall 2009

Thanks to Fabian for the violin. to Nicole for the trumpet. to Judith who doesn't know I used her drums. to Milan for the ipad. to Ian for the mandolin. to Christiane for my tenor recorder.

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#5 Songs for the Sleepless
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written and recorded summer 2012 at home in berlin

This summer.
No other I remember has ever been as vibrant and brisk with life. And there is hardly any better place to experience a summer than the glorious city of Berlin. There's the balmy evening air over the Landwehrkanal, bike rides through alleys and parks. There are breakfasts among neighbors under chestnut trees and talks between strangers on trains through the country. There are sleepless work nights and relaxed bar evenings, won and wasted time.

You'll take naps in the park between long work shifts and after journeys, sing lullabies to friends who are in pain and fall asleep with their hand clung to yours, you'll rediscover and appreciate old and find new ones and for the first time feel truly embedded and held by that increasingly dense net of people around you. You have nothing left to hide and everything revealed will be in good hands. And you start writing songs not for yourself but others, as you learn that they can be not only diaries but medicine, if applied with care to the right ears in good moments.

There is a new magic to friendships, to music, to life. There's a sense of new beginnings, of truly being at home. And if there weren't all those little proves of your existence prior to this date you'd swear you just had been invented. This very summer. In Berlin.

Berlin, summer 2012

Hugs go to Matt and Arne who were my biggest muses in those months. To Karla who's one of the greatest gifts of all time. And thanks to the entire Berlin family.

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#4 Songs for a Soft Heart
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written and recorded early 2011 in a virtual place between cologne and california

The desert. The vast lands.
In fact I am already back home in the city, and yet the silence of those Californian wastelands doesn't cease to resonate in me. I walk through Germany's dull winter days, still dragging a faint notion of those vivid, flawless skies along, and still pretend to feel the dusty heat as I am wrapped up and my scarf is sparkling with the frozen drips of condensed breath.

And there is more I can't let go of yet.
And days get heavy as the new year rolls in, dark and dull and full of disappointment. I am weak and aching, turn into a ghost of retrospection, tired of dragging on the yearning for a far place and lost love like a dead limb. Fail to drown my woes in black ink and in chlorine water. Curled up into a ball and waiting to implode.

Then suddenly I find myself in someone's kitchen, playing a weird instrument he brought from South America, and as I leave I hear: hey, by the way, I brought this one for you. This might have been the greatest gift ever received; a scissor to cut loose my inner knot, evoke the memories of my journey and to cast that winter's demons into sound and song, just when I needed to.

Those demons have been hidden well and sleeping now for almost two years, but it is high time to release them. They're not scary anymore. .

Cologne/California, January 2011

Thanks to Brian for everything. Despite everything else. And thanks to Stefan for the Bandola, I really don't know what I would've done without it.

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#3 Songs for the Breathless
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a-capella songs written and recorded around 2010 in a bed in cologne

Cologne. A room.
Over time I collected quite a bunch of instruments. There are strings to be plucked and wooden sticks to blow air into, things to be hit and things to be shaken, millions of ways to set some kind of material into motion, to make another resonate with sound. If people ask me which was the first one I picked up, I tell them it was the recorder. But actually, if I want to be precise, there was another one before.

In fact, the first cords I ever made vibrate were right in my throat, the first body I made resonate my own. Before I could even think of ways to hold or play another instrument, I had already discovered I was equipped with one: a voice. It still took a long time to get to know it and befriend with it. You have to go through the unsettling, dissociating experience of hearing your recorded voice for the first time, and believe me, you won't like it. You have to face its flaws and maybe learn to use turn them into benefits.

Finally, at a time when the weight of my guitar would feel wrong in my hands and the strings of my banjo were only alienating, I sat down in a corner of my bed, stripped of all musical protheses, and decided to finally attempt to make as much use of my one very own instrument as possible.
Over some time, a little collection of purely a-capella songs evolved and is now being released into the world.

Cologne 2010 - Berlin 2012

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#2 Songs for the Homesick
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written and recorded summer 2011 in istanbul

Istanbul. The city of cities.
My friends left me in their apartment in Üsküdar for a few days, alone with a talking cat and a piano. I'll feed the cat in the morning and then play the piano 'til noon, having no idea how that instrument works but enough time to make errors and more errors until uncontrollable sounds turn into melodies.

The balcony overlooks the Bosphorus.
I have dinner watching ferries cross from Asia to Europe and back, hear seagulls screaming, unaware of continent borders. Back home, over there, in the West there are things waiting for me, unresolved stories, but I keep lingering over here, far away and out of reach from everything.

Istanbul is the loudest city I know, the most restless one, crowded, big and dirty and unbearable, but I love it more fiercely than any other. I've thrown myself right into its very core, got lost in the maze of its streets, talked to people in a language I don't understand. To then come back to a place I call my temporary home, my ivory tower, with the talking cat and the piano, and cast current desires and confusions into songs.

These are the first songs I ever made on that instrument which I still cannot play, right in that city I cannot shake. Istanbul, you'll have me back. Soon.

Istanbul, June 2011

Very special thanks to Kamucan and Alper for their house, the piano and their friendship.

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#1 Songs for the Apocalypse
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written and recorded summer 2009 on the island hiddensee

An island.
A room to myself for seven days, far from everything, detached from motorized traffic, from city noises, from the entire world. The only sounds being the sea and its boats, horse carriages and birds in the heath.

I spend the days climbing over rocks and dry bones of sea gulls, collecting flint stones and shimmering shells of dead beetles, lost in thought about how they are all tiny traces of lived life, discarded and left there to dry and weather, just as a song is always a piece of slough, slipped off the moment it's written and left as a trace, a piece of the past being cast into some kind of graspable artefact.

But the instruments I brought remain silent for most of the time. While I had hoped that the peace of an island would give my wry mind enough space to unwind, instead it feels muffled and all that it spits out are fragments, loose thoughts and musical miniatures that I scatter across my apartment‘s floor like the flint stones and shells I brought home.
I‘m not really there. Not really anywhere at all.

Well, these are the few sounds I managed to harvest. A sense of absentmindedness. A peace. A yearning. The sea and the gulls.

Hiddensee, August 2010

Very special thanks to the guys from aaahh records who sent me to the island in the first place.
it was their idea to ship me to the coast and give me a chance to let some new sounds ripen..

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