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Christian Löffler – Parallels: Shellac Reworks

Christian Löffler
© Christian Löffler
12/10/2020
We announce the pre-order start of Christian Löffler’s album Parallels: Shellac Reworks as part of the DG initiative The Shellac Project. The German conceptual artist and composer reworks tracks by some of the greatest composers who ever lived, including J.S. Bach, Beethoven and Chopin and steps away from well-trodden paths to create his own interpretations of classical greats, opening up a welcome dialogue between past and present. Christian Löffler has become internationally renowned for his strain of emotional electronic music, and in bringing these illustrious composers into his realm he is not only paying tribute to them but also re-inserting their music into contemporary discourse: “I hope my interpretations reach out to people who wouldn’t usually listen to the old masters. There is so much strength, youth and wildness inside this timeless music.”
The album is released 12 February, 2021 and is available for pre-order now.
After warming up to the project earlier this year with a Beethoven-themed digital EP, Löffler is now building on that initial release with a full-length album: Parallels: Shellac Reworks by Christian Löffler. On it he boldly steps away from well-trodden paths to create his own interpretations of classical greats, opening up a welcome dialogue between past and present.
While the raw material for his new album was to be found in music history, Christian Löffler’s perspective is unmistakably forward-looking. Taking up the Yellow Label’s invitation, and with the support of Google Arts and Culture, he was given access to ‘The Shellac Project’ – a gold-mine of recordings – and tasked with reworking pieces by some of the most esteemed classical composers of all time. The German artist selected six revered figures into whose music he wanted to weave his electronic soundscapes and beats, eventually giving birth to the ten tracks that make up ‘Parallels’. “I think all the original pieces I chose are wonderful works that deserve to be listened to much more,” says Löffler.
For some of the composers he chose to rework a magnum opus, while for others he unearthed lesser-known compositions. Bach’s “Dir Jehova”, performed by the men and boys of the choir of St Thomas’s in Leipzig, was one of the recordings that immediately caught Löffler’s attention. “The performance of the Thomanerchor is just breathtaking,” he notes. “I knew from the first listen that this would work very well with my music.” Other pieces were chosen for more personal reasons, as was the case with Wagner’s music, to which Löffler’s mother would frequently listen when he was a child. The extract from ‘Parsifal’ therefore brought back fond memories – “This was a safe decision for me,” he explains. Regardless of a composition’s status, Löffler gave all his choices equal treatment, uncovering within every piece subtle patterns or melodies that he used as the foundation of an entirely new track. Every rework carries within it the duality of a unique, contemporary piece of music that is nonetheless haunted, or graced, by a ghost of the past. 
In the four sublime reworks of Beethoven, it is clear how the composer is neither diminished nor exalted – instead Löffler uses the original music as the colours for his own painting, searching for simple and perhaps overlooked motifs that give a narrative to his own productions.  “When listening to the recordings, I got the idea that some of this music was actually very human and accessible but became somewhat unearthly with decades of replaying and overthinking. I wanted to bring it back to the very basic feels.”
The album is released 12 February, 2021 and is available for pre-order now.Christian Löffler has become internationally renowned for his strain of emotional electronic music, and in bringing these illustrious composers into his realm he is not only paying tribute to them but also re-inserting their music into contemporary discourse: “I hope my interpretations reach out to people who wouldn’t usually listen to the old masters. There is so much strength, youth and wildness inside this timeless music.”
The Shellac Project has its roots in the past – in Deutsche Grammophon’s own centuries-old sound archive to be specific. The label has taken care to store material ever since its foundation in 1898, and through a recent collaborative restoration project with Google Arts & Culture a number of shellac discs, the dominant recording format until the 1930s, have now been digitised and remastered to their former glory. ‘Parallels: Shellac Reworks by Christian Löffler’ includes Löffler’s reworks of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Smetana and Bizet.

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