Inlandish Liner Notes by Tim Story
My recollections of Inlandish are such fond ones – the music itself, and the circumstances of its creation, are inextricably, happily fused. Joachim flew in from Vienna in early November 2006, we’d planned a week at my little studio here in Ohio to begin work on our first collaboration since 2002’s Lunz. I remember the gray skies – a typically bleak midwestern November – but for two guys easily distracted by nice weather, this was certainly a good thing for the work.
I had my Yamaha piano tuned, played around with some new synthesizer sounds, set out microphones, and grabbed lots of old and rickety instruments from my closets. I’d also cooked up a handful of intricate delays in my recording chain, a system that would allow Achim to play with these syncopated echoes, which in turn would shape the nature of the compositions themselves. I had always loved Achim’s earliest recordings which employed this loopy, rhythmic, layered approach, and I’d fallen under the tape-loop spell myself in my first experiments in the 70’s. We were also keen to put some space between the new work and Lunz’s more straightforward recording approach.
Well, to say the least, we got a bit carried away. Nearly everything we recorded that week – piano, synthesizers, toys, a temperamental old Italian harmonium – was fed through, and molded by, the endless rhythmic and harmonic variations created by these cascading echoes. And though the pieces would later be elaborated with many more details, melodies and found sounds, the hypnotic pull of those initial patterns still seduces me every time.
The days ran into each other – we’d work from mid-morning to late afternoon, then find an inevitable excuse to bring out the wine. (It was during one of those evenings that Achim’s incomparable talent for German/English mashups produced the word “inlandish.”) The wine notwithstanding, Achim’s focus and total submersion into the music was as complete as I’d ever seen. For long stretches, we’d just leave the tape rolling. When the week was out, we had hour upon hour of finished pieces, tiny codas, rough sketches and long improvisations. It wasn’t until later, listening through the sessions, that I fully appreciated (let alone remembered) everything that we had committed to tape. The recordings became not only the basis of Inlandish, but would also provide the raw material for Lazy Arc and still later The Roedelius Cells. (They were also the source of nearly all of ‘Ellipsish’, the bonus track in this vinyl edition.) Those 2006 sessions also paved the way for Achim’s return a year later with our dear (and dearly missed) friend Dieter Moebius to record Cluster’s final album Qua.
For me, the music of Inlandish, colored no doubt by memories of its creation, inhabits a warmly strange place. Despite long stretches between listenings, it never fails to immerse me in its quirky organic stew. For better or worse, it remains its own quiet little lifeform. After a flurry of gratifyingly positive press, in London especially, Inlandish has led a somewhat quiet public life. It is a great pleasure for Achim and I that this beautiful new vinyl edition might introduce Inlandish to a few new and curious ears.
(TS, October 2016)