The music of Markus Seiber as Aukai has always embodied a spirit of wandering and a palpable sense of the outdoors. Informed by his wide-ranging travels across Europe an the Americas and a deep appreciation of nature, Aukai’s redolent, peregrine style owes much to his use of the ronroco, a small guitar originating in the Andean communities of South America with a bright, untamed sound naturally imbued with the aura of wide open spaces. The instrument once again features prominently on Aukai’s soon-to-be released fourth full-length album Game Trails.
The title refers to paths in the wilderness created create by animals over generations of time, a fitting metaphor for the nomadic spirit of the music which draws inspiration from Seiber’s own encounters with places of pristine nature over the last 2 years. The album is highly collaborative featuring such artists as cellist Anne Müller, violinist Bogdan Djukic, Miguel Hiroshi on drums, and Tony Award winning composer/musician Jamshied Sharifi as well as Seiber’s wife Angelika Baumbach (piano, harp), and brother Alex Nickmann (synths, beats). A particularly special partnership emerges on the album’s penultimate track “Zola” featuring German/ Bulgarian pianist, singer & composer Lisa Morgenstern.
“I had a finished piece and I only wanted to add some colours to it, but in the end Lisa’s voice was so beautiful that I basically decided to give it a full vocal feature and let go of my original idea.“ — Markus Seiber (Aukai)
Using the ronroco to frame the the piece and create the tension that holds it together, Aukai gives Morgenstern ample space to unfurl a beautiful melody with soaring vocals full of bittersweet longing. One need not understand the lyrics to be deeply affected, but knowing a bit of the the story behind adds dimension to what is a truly stunning piece.
“Aukai invited me to contribute my Bulgarian roots to his song and when he described the images he had in mind, I was immediately drawn to this melody. ‘Zora’ is originally an old Bulgarian traditional (Зора се зазорила), which is sung by a young woman at dawn, who ends up to be bitten by a poisonous snake while gardening. In this case, I did not simply sing on an existing instrumental, but his music shaped my singing and my singing shaped his music. Both elements nestled around each other quite naturally, and what came out showed both of us a new side of our sense of music.” – Lisa Morgenstern
As an extra special treat, here is a nice little glimpse behind the scenes along with comments from Markus an Lisa in this bonus video about the piece.
Game Trails will be released in full on Aug 28, 2020. The album was was mixed and mastered by Martyn Heyne who also contributed additional bass to the record. The CD and black vinyl LP editions feature artwork by the one & only Gregory Euclide. Pre-orders are now available.