Björn Gögge is a writer and slam poet but his album CRACAU has no lyrics or spoken words. Naturally, this led me to search for his poetry’s influence on his music. Can musical sound be a replacement or expression of spoken word? Music as poetry is a beautiful and useful metaphor. Each key of the piano becomes a word, each melody a phrase. The layering of piano and electronics is lyrical. Listen to CRACAU like you would read the lines of a poem. An entirely new technique for understanding classical music emerges.
How would you describe the similarities between creative writing and music? How are they different?
CRACAU embraces the minutia of creaks and buzzes produced by Björn Gögge’s instruments. Digitally produced tones and clean ambient layers are juxtaposed against the effect. At certain moments sonic landscapes form distant horizons just before a single strike of the piano pulls you close to Björn’s fingertips. The percussive quality of each piano hit gives every note a physicality. It’s not an uncommon technique in Contemporary Classical but more often than not it’s erased for digital consumption. I’ve come to understand the technique as a kind of artistic fingerprint. Every musician does it differently. Recording the imperfections of a performance allows a listener to picture the artist’s unique presence.
Can you describe the type of piano you use on CRACAU and the effect that it has on your sound?
I enjoy how your work merges digital and analog sounds. How do you determine when and where to depart from the analog and use electronics?
Each track of CRACAU is inspired by a painting by a famous artist – Yves Klein, Paul Klee, and Magritte, to name a few. A written synopsis of each is available on Björn Gögge’s website. Read them. They are lighthearted and fun. They won’t take away from your experience. Each interpretation reveals a little more of Björn’s perspective on art. Distilling the essential qualities of a famous painting is difficult. Translating those qualities into music may be impossible but it’s a joy to discover where Björn found his inspiration.
Tell me about the process of translating visual art into music. How do you feel about the results?