Nils Frahm & F.S. Blumm discuss the dubby influences behind their new album
Nils Frahm and F.S. Blumm are compatriots in the German underground music scene and have been regular collaborators for over a decade. Their fourth album together, 2x1=4, is fresh off the presses, and finds them experimenting with dub. “We had a certain sound in the back of our heads,” Blumm says, “which was influenced by these '80s rhythm machines, and we suddenly discovered a common love for dub.”
"None of this is too serious," Frahm adds. "The record is only as much of a dub record as the ones before are jazz records." They really put their own spin on dub and you can listen to the album below.
We asked Frahm and Blumm to tell us a bit more about the inspirations behind the album, which include dub icons like the late Lee "Scratch" Perry, King Tubby and ScientistThis Heat; and artists, breakfast, and more. Read that, with commentary, below.
Nils Frahm & F.S. Blumm: What inspired us to do "2x1=4“?
1. OK first artist to refer to as an inspiration must be Lee Perry. Bless him! He did so much for the world of music, he changed our musical perception. His boldness, his humor, his reductionism, his overwhelming fullness, his never ending will to experiment makes him an everlasting inspiration to us.
2. Each record produced by King Tubby is an inspiration. His approach on EQ-ing is great. Using only the treble frequencies of the cymbals on one channel and cutting off all treble on the bass... that's like cooking... like using tricky spices.
3. Each record produced by Scientist is an inspiration. He's like the Beethoven of Dub (haha) or maybe he's the Robert Crumb of Dub? No... maybe he's the Paul Bocuse of Dub.
4. Maybe it's not a direct one-to-one inspiration, but looking at art books is definitely an inspiration. Browsing through books with pictures of oil paintings by Jean Michel Basquiat. This is really like loading up the batteries. Also other abstract painters like a Asgar Jorn or Albert Oehlen. That's heartwarming, it's the same sensation like listening to good jazz or having a nice glass of red wine. Or like putting another piece of wood in the fireplace and hearing yourself say: "Aaah, that feels good!“
5. Another Inspiration - in the sense of loading up your batteries - is having porridge in the morning: oat flakes soaked in hot water with coconut yogurt, agave syrup, banana slices, crumbled walnut, a little lemon… maybe blueberry: perfect start to start right away into a recording day.
6. Since we are using drum machines on our record we definitely have to mention "Computerized Dub" by Prince Jammy as an inspiration. The record that turned Prince Jammy into King Jammy.
7. And for the same reason we should mention "Great sporting moments in Dub" by Zion Train. Such a sparse and minimal record, really on the spot. No ornaments, no fooling around. Very much like the post punk approach that you can find in those first three Wire records and within the cover artwork of those first three records. Putting an end to all that ornamental rock tootling.
8. And one last time for the same reason (the use of drum machines) we should mention the very fine Label "Jahtari" from Leipzig Germany. Great stuff out there, like: "Ode to a carrot" by Disrupt and Zoom T or those two Roger Robinson albums.
9. Oh yes speaking of Roger Robinson, we we have to mention Linton Kwesi Johnson! Thats where listening to dubby music started for a lot of us and it's a good alternative to spiritual, religious lyrics: "Reality Poem" by LKJ has very interesting lyrics if you look at them in a rasta context haha...
10. Ok we are Germans, so kraut is an influence for sure... riding the rhythm... ride on...
11. This Heat "testcard" is a big thing. It contains the general idea that the production of a track can be the composition of a track.
12. All the musicians with whom we ever made music, all those musicians who drop by in this vivid city of Berlin.
13. All the rushing and hissing and crackling in this world... the rain, the rivers, the traffic noises... there's never silence there's always some rushing and rumbling or speaking with LKJ again: "There is never (..) a moment of soundless calm“