RoD header

getwellsoon thehorrorOn 8th June 2018, all-rounder Konstantin Gropper aka GET WELL SOON will release his fifth studio album ‘The Horror’ via Caroline International. First musical impressions will be heard in the next weeks. Only two years ago, Gropper released his acclaimed album ‘Love’, with which he managed to climb to #16 on the German charts. Now he is back - with a record that is even more orchestral than the previous one. Even more personal and a little scary, but of course no less great.

There are people who are afraid of nightmares and there is Konstantin Gropper. “I'm more excited about a bad dream,” says the artist. “I rarely dream so spectacularly that such nightmares are like inspirational gifts to me. I wake up and think: I have to make a song out of it.” And that he has. He has processed three of his most confusing dreams and created a whole album full of orchestral music about the fear, which at first softens his listeners, only to abduct them into even more abysmal spheres. “Because I've always wanted to make an album with that sound,” he says. “And because it fits this time, when the idyll of our safe world collapses.” So no horror sounds, not a documentary work, but a subversive dream soundtrack that flatters you before the abyss opens.

The three songs ‘Nightmare No1 (Collapse)’, ‘Nightmare No2 (Dinner at Carinhall)’ and ‘Nightmare No3 (Strangled)’ form the personal starting point of ‘The Horror’ by retelling Gropper's nightmares - or at least the parts he remembers. But Gropper would not be GET WELL SOON if he stopped his own fantasies. Like each of his albums, ‘The Horror’ was created in equal parts from inspiration and research. “The topic has literally forced itself upon me, but I always feel the need to back it up somehow, to somehow acquire some expertise.” Consequently, anxiety does not begin and end in bed, but outside, and the piece ‘Future Ruins pt .2’ opens the album: a song about ruins, inspired by the horrors of current but also past theatres of war: “Towns in ruins always look the same.”

The image of the ruins pervades the whole album. It is the fear of repeating the story. We inhabit future ruins, built on the last layer of rubble. Even before Gropper's own voice, another tune can be heard this time: the Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali interprets the piece ‘Lama Bada Yathatanna’, which dates back to the Arab Middle Ages, which becomes an impressive lament before Gropper's soundscape; later, Gropper sings his Carinhall nightmare with Sam Vance-Law and gets supported in ‘Nightjogging’ by Kat Frankie's Sprechgesang. Feature guests are something new on a GET WELL SOON album, but in the best Sinatra tradition.

The biggest of all crooners this time was not only the inspiration for Gropper's vocals, but also for his arrangements, which on ‘The Horror’ more than on any GET WELL SOON album before, add to a homogenous album sound. After the poppy songs on ‘Love’ an album inspired him later again the classical music in soundtrack strength. The models of ‘The Horror’ are the giddy sounds of Hitchcock composer Bernard Hermann or the French soundtrack master Philippe Sarde, classic American works of the 20th century by Charles Ives or Morton Feldman and of course Nelson Riddle, who in the 50s worked for Sinatra. “His arrangements always seem very light, but they are actually enormously complex,” says Gropper. “That suits the topic, because the music always has something dreamy and the actual depth only unfolds at second glance.”

getwellsoon by ClemensFantur

In fact, ‘The Horror’ has humbly become the orchestral masterpiece of GET WELL SOON. Just as Gropper does not just let his own evil spirits escape, so he also captures the nightmares of our time to write huge orchestras on the puny bodies. It is tripping and tiring through its songs, it scurries and swells and floods. Here, a flute jumps excitedly through the picture, where the crooner flips his guests to the beat, then he lays across the woodwind forest and onto the piano. As gloomy as ‘The Horror’ is also thematically located, suddenly humour creeps in alongside fear.

Not only does Gropper understand the absurdity of a nightmare about a Finnish forest gnome, but also those of despots with ridiculous weaknesses and the status symbols of our time: “Eco-Car, Slow-Food, Swedish Style / You're On Your Way To Stay” In ‘An Air-Vent (In Amsterdam)’ Gropper enchanted the sound of a hotel ventilation in music, and otherwise unusual field recordings anchor the songs in reality again and again: ‘Future Ruins’ is based on an air-raid siren, the beat consists of the sound of collapsing houses. Running noises can be heard in ‘Nightjogging’, in ‘Misty Bay’ there are foghorns. In ‘Martyrs’ he grooves his “childhood trauma” as the son of a church organist to new heights, in ‘(How to stay) Middle Class’ he reflects on the fear of economic decline with the help of Kierkegaard, Foucault and brisk strings. Gropper has never expressed himself so openly politically as in the sluggish ‘The Only Thing We Have To Fear’, but the AfD has never come so close to him: their request for a shooting order was made at an event a few hundred meters ago his front door in Mannheim.

The horrors of the world are not easily scared away, but fear is always what you make of it. “I'm more likely to be inspired by negative things than by positive ones,” says Konstantin Gropper, who made his most impressive album ‘The Horror’ at a time when fear seems to lead the world. “Of course it's all very alarming, but I'm also interested in where that fear comes from. The ‘How-Are-We-Here-Landed?’” Gropper cannot and does not want to take away our fear, but at least he can keep us company. So at the end, with ‘(Finally) A Convenient Truth’, at least the reassuring realization that we are not alone with the fear: “It's sure / This is no cure / But company / So join hands / In horror unite! / Together we stand / In darkest night.”

01. Future Ruins pt. 2
02. The Horror
03. Martyrs
04. Nightmare No. 1 (Collapse)
05. An Air Vent (in Amsterdam)
06. Nightmare No. 2 (Dinner at Carinhall)
07. The Only Thing We Have To Fear
08. Nightjogging
09. A Misty Bay (at Dawn)
10. Nightmare No. 3 (Strangled)
11. (How to Stay) Middle Class
12. (Finally) A Convenient Truth

10.08. Hamburg – Elbphilharmonie

Source: Press Release / Photo credit: Clemens Fantur

Comments powered by CComment