Born in the GDR in the early 1980s, German musician & composer Tim Linghaus had his first experiences with making music when he discovered his father’s RX 11 and guitars as a young boy. During his university years he played guitar in bands ranging from metal to singer/songwriter, but more recently he has been producing an understated, nostalgic, and deeply personal style of neoclassical music centered around piano, synthesizers and ambient noise. It began with the wonderful debut EP ‘Vhoir‘ (Moderna Records) in 2016 and on into last year with the poignant, quietly stunning ‘Memory Sketches‘ (Schole/1631 Recordings).
Tim begins the new year with ‘About B. (Memory Sketches B-Sides Recordings)‘, a collection of additional material that did not make it on to the first album and which has a slightly different focus which he explains in this conversation about the record.
Let’s start by talking about the new album.What prompted you to put out these B-sides? Is this additional material you developed from the original ‘Memory Sketches’ sessions or is it completely new or perhaps a little of both?
After I had finished ‘Memory Sketches’ in 2017 there were lots of sketches left. They had been sleeping somewhere on my computer and phone when I rediscovered some of them at the end of last year and decided to release a b-sides album. It is a bit like the little cousin of Memory Sketches.
You worked with some wonderful musicians on these recordings such as Sebastian Selke of CEEYS, Jean-Marie Bø and Tobias Leon Haecker. With this being such an intimate and personal project, how did that partnership work? For example, how much do you map out in advance versus how much is improvisational on the part of the musicians?
That’s a really good question. I have to differentiate a bit. First of all, the intimacy and the memory idea of the project didn’t really effect the recordings at all. Working with Sebastian was really cool. I wrote some cello lines for particular tracks, recorded them digitally and sent him the files. When he came to my place he was well prepared and the recording process was smooth and easy because he knew what to play. Working with Jean-Marie was also fantastic. He is like a twin and knows what sounds I like when it comes to violin and cello stuff. Tobias’ short sax part was actually taken from my beat project. We recorded tons of sax licks. Boy, have we recorded sax licks! I have them on my computer and I can use them like samples. I cut and pitch and drag and drop. I totally like pitching and cutting sounds. ‘Adventure Park’, ‘Plaenterwald’ and ‘Where Is My Girl?’ are good examples. In addition to that, the sax on ‘Nice To Meet You Too’ was pitched as well. Maybe a bit too much (haha).
I’m especially intrigued by one of the tracks seemingly not directly connected to the first album, “Jonathan Brandis”. It is such a beautifully wistful piece not to mention the longest of the 17 tracks on the album. His is a tragic story indeed, but how does it fit into the overall ‘Memory Sketches’ theme?
Yes, his story is really tragic indeed. When I was a kid, me and my mom went to the cinema to see him in “The Neverending Story II“. It was the day before she had to go somewhere far for a week or so. I don’t remember where it was. This evening at the cinema is a vital memory I have. I was a bit sad because she had to go and I had to stay at one of her friend’s place for the time, and the movie was about a boy who misses his mom, loses his memories and finally saves Fantasia. That was a funny mixture of mood and parallels for a kid like me. Well, I didn’t save Fantasia, unfortunately, but somehow this moment has become a precious memory. When I heard that Jonathan Brandis committed suicide in 2003 I was really sad and it still feels strange to read his biography.
Another really interesting track is the penultimate “Before Berlin (About B. End Title)”. It it is noticeably brighter & livelier than the rest of the ‘Memory Sketches’ material. The first album ends with you literally looking in the rear-view mirror whereas these piece feels very forward-looking. Is that how you meant that to come across?
I like your interpretation of the ending of ‘Memory Sketches’. I agree, “Before Berlin…” is brighter and sort of pointing forwards instead of backwards. Most of the memories on MS are connected to my father and my grandmother, who both passed away many years ago, whereas ‘About B.’ focuses on my mother. The track you have mentioned captures what I know about her time and life before she went to Berlin where she met my father. It was sort of a new beginning for her – and me too. Everything she did before she went to Berlin brought her there and me here.
No doubt this project has been a very emotional creative journey for you and that certainly comes across in the music. Now that both albums are complete, do you feel any sense of closure from the process?
Absolutely. Having completed both albums, especially MS, I feel relieved and freed from so many questions and fears. Music is greater than anything to me and making it is pretty healing.
Finally, are there are any projects in the works or on the horizon that you want to tell us about?
I am writing on my second album, which will be released in November 2019. Thank you so much for the interview and for listening.
More by Tim Linghaus
Memory Sketches [Schole / 1631 Recordings]
What is a memory? An act of preservation as well as exploration as music gives form to the particular and precious memories drawn from a period spanning roughly twenty years. Co-released in 2016 on Schole Records and 1631 Recordings.
Vhoir [Moderna Records]
Tim’s debut EP consisting of six modern classical sketches and vignettes of exquisite construction and intimate warmth. Released by Moderna Records.