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Jun 29
2013

Exclusive: Neosignal Talks About Their Journey Through Space And Time

Division Exclusive Kein Signal Kosmos Misanthrop neosignal phace Raum Und Zeit Sequenz
exclusive
Neosignal - Kein Signal (Original Mix) [Division]
Neosignal - Kosmos (Original Mix) [Division]
Neosignal - Sequenz (Original Mix) [Division]
Neosignal (aka Phace & Misanthrop) have made a very bold decision with their debut album Raum Und Zeit: at the risk of alienating their fans, the duo has crafted a piece of art very different from anything they have previously produced, almost to a fault. The first glimpse into Raum Und Zeit came one month ago with the gratifyingly austere Planet Online. Accompanied by a brilliant video filled with satirical allegories, Planet Online's departure from Phace & Misanthrop's normal production style was indicative of what was to come on the album. Absent from Raum Und Zeit is the destructive brand of drum and bass the duo's been known to produce for labels like Renegade Hardware, Subtitles, and their own eponymous label, to name a few. Instead, Neosignal reinvent the wheel with Raum Und Zeit--from tempo to composition, this long-player is completely new territory for the producers.

Raum Und Zeit is surprisingly different from even the duo's most recent drum and bass stormers. Replacing the frenetic D&B vibe is a more measured sound, perhaps closer to something found filed in between a Justice and Nine Inch Nails album at the local record shop. The duo spoke a little bit about how they landed at tempos that are several metronome clicks slower than what they've typically been known to produce:

"It happened organically. When we started writing the LP we weren’t after a specific tempo but after a specific sound. We adjusted the tempo of each track so it would work with our creative idea. It did feel like we just wanted to set free what was stuck in our head without caring too much what others think. We do not want to produce music so it purely fits one specific goal; we do care about music that feels good rather than having it aim towards a specific matter. With Neosignal we wanted to create something new for us; something that excites us and hopefully others too. We never really care when someone doesn’t like what we do--thank God musical taste is subjective. We simply do not want to write music to fulfill expectations of others... otherwise it would bore us. The album itself is a sort of electronic psychedelic storm; it moves in waves, breaks out like mad and then turns into something calm and hypnotic again. Some of our friends say it sounds a little like neo-digital Krautrock. That kind of makes sense to us when you have a look at our musical background..."
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For fans of the duo formerly known as Phace & Misanthrop, it might take a few plays to acclimatize to the new Neosignal style. But it's the duo's former fans that will appreciate the producers' undeniable versatility. Evolving beyond the ubiquitous builds and drops of conventional bass music, Neosignal shared their thoughts about how they think fans will react to the album's new sound:

"As this is our debut album and as we haven’t done any music like this before, we hope the whole LP will surprise people. We put a lot of love, detail, and effort into getting it sounding the way we wanted it to and do hope people will recognize that we didn't want to follow any recent trend, but just wanted to create music that comes from both our souls and our hearts."
While the entire LP is firmly planted in the bass genre, some of the album's tunes are quite a bit heavier than others. Tunes like Angst and Parallelwelt bring a heavy dose of destruction, while songs like Sequenz and Das Diktat have more of a cinematic aesthetic. However, every tune on Raum Und Zeit brings its own unique flavor, and as a consequence, Neosignal had a hard time picking a favorite tune on the album:

"There are many tracks on the LP meaning something to us; we actually do have a short story to every track of the LP. So for us, it is quite hard to pick one specific track as favorite. We both like the vibe and mood of ‘Sequenz’ a lot. It was the very first track we wrote for the LP and it kind of transports all we had on our mind in one track. To us, it is the perfect start of the LP to take you on the whole journey we were on while writing."
Out on Noisia's Division Recordings, it might come as surprise that the German-natives decided to release their debut album on Noisia's imprint instead of their own, eponymous label. Raum Und Zeit would have integrated nicely into the Neosignal (the label) catalog with its dark brand of neurofunk, but as the duo explains, it was a spontaneous decision to release the album through Division:

"When we finished writing the LP at the end of last year in December we honestly had no clear idea or plan what we were going to do with the music. We didn’t show it to anyone that time... Noisia’ s Manager invited us to come over to Holland to play an after-party set in their hometown for the Groningen Eurosonic Festival. We decided to play our new music only on that night and it was the very first time we played it to anyone, including the public. This was a very special night for us...we didn’t really expect anything to happen because of that, we just felt it would be nice to play something a little different on that occasion. Well, everyone really seemed to like it and Noisia instantly asked us if we would like to put the LP out on their label, which for us is an absolutely true honor! When we showed them the music in detail the next day it was all finished and the way we wanted it to be, and they wanted to release it exactly that way. That was something really important to us and that actually convinced us to do this project with some of your best friends and like-minded people rather than looking for a major label. We've known these guys for years and do rate their opinion and work highly. Them and their manager Walter are lovely and super supportive people."
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Debuting almost a decade ago, both men have notched years of experience working with each other and other producers like Noisia and Spor, and it shows on the album. All 15 tracks on Raum Und Zeit are crafted meticulously, journeying through various rhythmic and arrangement sequences before ultimately concluding. Tunes likes Kein Signal and Kosmos are so varied from intro to outro, it illustrates just how adept these two producers are at creating a story through sound. Neosignal spoke about their production dynamic together, and how they arrived at their level of expertise as a team:

"Our writing and production process is quite complementary. We've known each other for a couple of years and have spent endless hours in the studio together. We know our workflow and try to combine and multiply our individual strengths rather than forcing the other to work in the same pattern. Writing an LP together as a band needs quite some dedication, you need to go for the same thing together. Not saying that all this isn’t needed for a one-off collaboration with other producers. We think such things can always be helpful."
Raum Und Zeit is grandiose on the merits of its aspirations alone--completely ignoring the conventions of typical bass music like wobbles, drops, and chirping synths. Instead, Neosignal decided to produce an album that was a bit deeper, requiring the listener to get a few chapters in before truly understanding the plot. To that end, the duo flips over the last stone left unturned--the true meaning of Raum Und Zeit:

"‘Raum & Zeit’ is the German meaning for ‘Space & Time’. If you have a look at space and time in a more physical sense, space and time in combination with gravity form the cosmos we all know and consist of. Consequently, “space-time” is the entirety of all happenings. This physical concept of space is a simple 3-dimensional room; a stage for all objects of our world. These objects change their position and characteristics in the course of time. So you indeed can say that all transformations of this space through time are symbols, signs, or even signals of human evolution and its modernization process."

"With varying manifestation, any communication media (books, press, radio, TV, video, music, design, Architecture, etc) are causes for such transformations, as they work with space and time and affect our perception of things. So they constantly change and affect our cultural and social space-time relations, our behavior, and our evolution, in a positive, but also in a negative way; media can also be used to control and program human minds. A super dangerous thing if you ask us...especially when we have a look at this new virtual room of our culture (the online world)--there is a new media channel that isn’t really restricted to space and time. Hence, we need to develop a new understanding of space, as space itself does not define itself anymore as just a 3-dimensional, tangible, and fading “container” for people and cultures. Instead, our daily life space appears to be also the intangible, virtual, and an infinite virtual space, designed on social relations originating from interest and action of individuals or groups."

"To sum up this long rant, with the ever growing impact and control of the industries and societies we live in, people spend too much time with media or stupid work (mostly unconscious and governed) and unfortunately are unable or are even forced to forget to enjoy the simple things on this planet. With ‘Raum & Zeit’ we sort of wanted to remind ourselves and others that there is more in life than just money and fame or than trying to fulfill the expectations of others. Music nowadays tends to turn itself more and more into a business-orientated, hedonistic and fast moving capitalistic product. Music in its original and independent form however, still tries to turn time into space; into a room we can design ourselves and thus can still control ourselves, free from any restrictions. Even though this all might sound quite complex we wanted to find a simple and abstract way to tell this with the music on the LP. Too much ‘brain’ in music doesn’t work for us, in the end music needs to be and stay an art, feeling and freedom."
Raum Und Zeit can be purchased right here on Beatport. Click here to see Neosignal's forthcoming tour dates.

Image Credit: Daniel J. Harde