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Full Album Stream + Interview: Maxim Wolzyn ~ Intercity Express [SVS Records]

Full Album Stream + Interview: Maxim Wolzyn ~ Intercity Express [SVS Records]


Introducing Maxym Wolzyn, a Berlin based composer and producer of techno and electroacoustic music, whose new album "Intercity Express" is capable of reawakening a dormant mind. Whether it&#39s from winter hibernation or simply dulled ears, the album is meant to be heard repeatedly. We&#39ve had the random luck of album playback on a nice array of formats: from a well-equipped fast car, to a small set of Bose computer monitors, on down to headphone commutes in crusty subways to bicycling across car-clogged bridges in bike lane edges, this fine piece of music have kept us moving.

We are now happily sharing with you the stream of the album in full, proving every point above.

interview by Luke McCann

I’ve been listening to your new album for the past few weeks and it’s really an odyssey. Intercity Express certainly is the most complete and explorative set of music I’ve heard in a while. Can you describe your music in a little detail for someone that hasn’t heard it yet?

For me music can be very narrative, and I like to think of it as medium of connecting the world around us with the dreamtime of our inner worlds. When I was young, I really enjoyed riding my bicycle while listening to instrumental hip-hop and how the sounds of the trams and all the city noises quite musically blended into the composition. Maybe thats why I enjoy making field recordings a lot. For some reason I was always fascinated by trains, they are such a physical representation of the connectedness of space and time. Together with my love for electro acoustic music, film scores, and dub techno I guess one can imagine my sound.

What kind of your background do you have with music? Does acoustic art run in your family? When did you first start composing?

I don’t have a formal musical background. In my family we mostly listened to classical music and guitar music. My interest in music started with sci-fi film scores. I started producing hip hop beats with Fruity Loops when I was thirteen and simultaneously begun playing the guitar, getting into harmonics and improvising with my guitar teacher.


Your new album was produced mostly while traveling throughout Germany by train touring with Günther Lause. I think it provides a great effect in terms of painting pictures with sounds. But why did you decide on this?

As so often happens, I didn’t decide on it, as much as it just happened, because I had to kill a lot of time traveling between Karlsruhe (where I study) and Berlin, and other places where most of our gigs happened. I think it is one of the best ways to spend a six hour journey while watching landscapes go by. Many of the tracks started as sketches in Ableton while sitting on the ICE, though a lot of the spatial refinement happened in my university studio…

So what, if any, is this transient studio’s ritual? Sadly unlike the United States, I know those German trains and train stations have lots of thoughtful amenities you simply don’t see in other places (clean showers for one).

Good question, I don’t know, maybe the awful burnt coffee from the Deutsche Bahn has become kind of a ritual, it definitely keeps you awake…

I’m curious, what kind of headphones and hardware did you use?

I produced a lot with HD 25 II phones when one the move. Nowadays I got myself some nice Adam A7X monitors and in my uni we have some nice Geithain and Ggenelec speakers, as the studio is built for cinema sound editing. I do not own much hardware myself, though I always try to get my hands on some synths when I am at friends’ studios. On the album you hear some analog gear like the Polysix, Juno 106, the beautiful Jupiter 8 (In “Ostbahnhof, Spatzen”) and some effect pedals. Experimenting with reel tape is fun also. For the mastering I used the very special ADT compressor and EQs at a friend’s studio.


For some reason I was always fascinated by trains, they are such a physical representation of the connectedness of space and time.


Whether we like it or not, the universe is expanding, and so is the number of people that go where you go. So how do you prefer to enjoy music these days, when you’re not performing yourself? Something tells me you’re not for mega-clubs, or mega-anything.

Oh yes, I like small venues. There are still some secret little spaces popping up in Germany, like the city club in Augsburg or other more transient locations in Leipzig. I am very sensitive about sound anyways, I bother sound engineers sometimes I guess. For me the best location is a little spot in the woods or in a small stripped down club with a Function-One and a bunch of people who are really there for the music. Also Dance Tunnel in London comes to my mind.

How do you play your music when you’re performing live? What does your tech rider look like? Do you improvise during sets, read the crowd, or just play whatever you feel like playing?

I think with Günther Lause we went through a lot of different setups, from carrying tons of analog gear to playing with shitty plastic midi controllers or even try playing/looping live percussions. It can get frustrating when you try to do something new, and the vibe is just not right for it. On the other hand, we had some really magical times in the right places, where people are thankful for a true live set. Microphone feedback can be a problem in club situations… I do a lot of Ableton and nowadays I play my techno tracks and improvise to that with a Maschine and a delay or something. I try to keep it simple and effective, so I can really improvise without loosing overview. Playing your own stuff is always fun, because you can test your newly developed weapons, so to speak, but it can also get boring. From time to time I like playing other music too.

I think reading the crowd is always important especially when you do DJ sets, though I don’t think DJs should make too many compromises. What is the point of a booking from a far place, when he or she plays the same stuff as the residents? When I do digital DJ sets I try to really use this medium to do things that are not possible on vinyl, like doing big time stretches and live edits. There is so much great music that can be mixed into a techno set, especially when people are more open to it in the morning hours…

Do you make your own field recordings? It sounds with the track “Gorlitzer Park” you may have.

Yes, all the field recordings are my own. It is a pretty big part of my work, as it really helps you explore the world around you and get inspired. With the new album I tried to really use the ambience as an instrument, so birds, trees and traffic intertwine with the studio sounds. Also with Günther Lause we always had a recorder with us, like a photo camera. You never know what you find!


What’s your relationship like with Gorlitzer Park? Is it a favorite place of yours?

I cannot really say the park itself is very beautiful or even that I especially like it, but I’ve had a lot of important moments around this park and in the neighborhood in Kreuzberg. I think it combines all the weirdness that one loves and hates about the city. I guess when it is rather empty, it can be quite a pleasant place. One of the few spots in Berlin where you can look into the wide blue yonder.

“Intercity Express” is one of our favorite tracks on the album. It reminds me of that rapid fluttering of small space, chopped up sound and light between two high speed trains passing and then vanishing oppositely. Is that too far-fetched? It’s truly one experiential piece of brilliant music. How did that come about?

I am glad that it can create those associations. The funny thing is often you don’t consciously mimic the sounds around you, but with some distance you hear that your surrounding always plays into the music, be it music or noise. It started as a sketch on the train. To be honest I don’t remember that well anymore, as I carried those projects with me and refined them over two and a half years. I think I played around with some synth chords I recorded, and I found the sounds to be quite powerful, just the right kind of energy I want to transport onto a dance floor. The pads are a homage to all the great dystopian sci-fi movies I watched growing up. I always wanted to make a soundtrack for the grayness of the German industrial landscapes that pass by when you travel around here.

What’s next for you? Do you plan on releasing more music via SVS Records or tour?

There will be more releases on SVS and Paradise Now! in the next year, both solo and collaborations. And hopefully on other labels too, as there is always more material produced in our collective than can be put out. Right now I am working on experimental film stuff and multi channel composition for my studies. A tour would be great, nothing sure yet, but there will definitely be a few release parties.

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