Grandbrothers share a second track from their extraordinary new album, ‘Late Reflections‘, out April 14th on City Slang, which was made and recorded at Cologne Cathedral. New single “Daybreak“ comes accompanied by a visual created using the cathedral’s famous Richter Window.
On ‘Late Reflections’ the German-Swiss duo place their art in communion with an institution so old it predates their music by seven centuries: Cologne Cathedral. The iconic monument of Gothic architecture, which is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Germany’s most visited landmark, served as an unusual recording studio for Grandbrothers’ fourth album, marking the only time the Cathedral has ever permitted a recording of this kind. The resulting album pulses with a rare sense of history and architecture, allowing the spatial properties of this magnificent building to shape and deepen the timbre of the duo’s swelling compositions.
Since the Cathedral remained open during the daytime—the landmark routinely brings in 20,000 visitors a day—Sarp and Vogel recorded at night, alone with seven centuries of history. There were magical moments of playing piano at 3:00 a.m. in total solitude. The shadows, reduced lights, and strange noises emanating from different corners of the room had a surreal effect.
Today, the duo share album opener, a suitably Spring-time track, “Daybreak“, which delicately and slowly unfurls before bursting into swells of light and optimism. Commenting on the track Sarp says: “During the recording process, we found ourselves in a highly shifted rhythm. We worked exclusively at night until early morning. When we packed up our things around 6 a.m., the windows began to shine and the cathedral seemed to awaken. This visual transformation was a central symbol of the recording process for us, that’s why ‘Daybreak’ is the album’s opener.”
For the accompanying visual, Grandbrothers once again collaborated with Cologne-based director Manfred Borsch, who used the cathedral’s magnificent abstract stained glass window, designed by artist Gerhard Richter – a rare occasion of Richter letting others use his work. Borsch disassembled the window into its individual parts and reassembled it with the music. “Manfred has been with us for a very long time, and as a Cologne native he naturally has a close relationship with the cathedral. Richter, after all, left the arrangement of the colours he chose to a random generator; he wanted to avoid any representationalism. Manfred follows a similar path, he abstracts and deconstructs the window cinematically once again,” Lukas Vogel elaborates.
Listen to “Daybreak”:https://grandbrothers.lnk.to/Daybreak_Video
‘Late Reflections’ links:https://grandbrothers.lnk.to/LateReflections
It all started with a request so extraordinary that it was hard to believe: In 2019, cathedral builder Peter Füssenich unexpectedly approached Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel after a performance and proposed a big concert in Cologne Cathedral. After three years of planning and intensive preparation, this initial idea turned into not only a special concert, but also an album composed especially for the cathedral and its unique acoustics. The recordings took place over several consecutive nights in this gigantic space with its exceptionally long reverberation.
As far as concept albums go, ‘Late Reflections‘ is evocative and immersive, and it asks as many questions as it answers: What does it mean for music to interact with architecture and physical space? What is the sound of a church that has been revered for centuries for the way it looks? How can artists forge something new out of 700 years of history?
The cathedral setting subtly steered the duo towards more ambient, atmospheric instincts. “On our previous album we went into a more physical and club-influenced direction,” reflects Sarp. “This album, we just said, ‘Let’s see what happens and be free to go more into ambient, or more atmospheric, experimental sound spheres.”
This is a deeply collaborative album—not just a collaboration between two unusual musical partners (as well as sound engineer Francesco Donadello and mixer Paul Corley, who finely helmed the stereo mixes), but a collaboration between Grandbrothers and the Cathedral itself, a backdrop which influences the album’s sound as profoundly as a set design might shape a movie’s look.
‘Late Reflections’ will be released on April 14th via City Slang. Pre-order here.