PREMIERE: Ludwig’s Wonder by Martyn Heyne

When Berlin-based Martyn Heyne first recorded the songs for his new album Eight Reflections in Darkness, he chose a church in attempt to capture the reverberations of his guitar only to realize that wasn’t really what the music called for. Concluding his latest compositions were about simplicity and honesty, he went back to his studio to re-record them with just his guitar and a couple of amps while letting incidental sounds end up on tape from the sound of his breathing to the tapping of his foot and fingers picking the strings. It was his way of embracing the music’s intimacy and encouraging the listener to look inward.

The fact that it’s all solo guitar also means that the overall mood is very congruent which allows for the music to be listened to both attentively as well as in a more laid-back fashion. As there was a minimum of treatment post-recording, it’s a very direct and personal document of just one person playing.

Martyn Heyne

The inspiration for this stripped-down approach goes back to a series of videos Heyne watched which included a scene of Picasso famously creating the image of a bull on a pane of glass. In a matter of seconds, using only lines of white paint, the artist captured the essence of the majestic animal through its contours. This motivated Heyne to want to create music that felt more like a line drawing than a painting. The method he adopted was to sketch out melodies through a process of improvisation, write down the ones he liked, and then not revisit them until time to record. This extemporaneous manner of working allowed Heyne the freedom to approach each piece with a sense of freshness that preserved the essence of the original sketch.

The first taste of the new album has finally arrived with the release of “Ludwig’s Wonder”, a sprightly meditation that shimmers with the clear, luminous tones of Heyne’s guitar navigating the contours of a shape-shifting melody.

‘Ludwig’s Wonder’ is a solo guitar piece that goes from an up-beat, dance-like, and almost regal part into a more driving chordal flow, that builds and develops to finally cascade back into the original pattern. To me it’s about changing perspective and instead of bracing for it, flowing into it.

Martyn Heyne

Eight Reflections in Darkness will be released by Heyne’s Tonal Institute label April 14, 2023, on CD & digital. The album features artwork and design by Studio Torsten Posselt.

Links: Bandcamp (CD/digital) | Martyn Heyne