Our ‘Track By Track’ guide sheds light on the stories behind some of our favourite artists’ music.
Last month Julie Campiche Quartet made a welcome return with the beautiful ‘Aquarius’, single. With their second album, ‘You Matter’, just around the corner (4th November ), we asked Julie to talk through the forthcoming album.
With the magical, unexpected, and passionate sounds of Campiche’s harp at its core, ‘You Matter’ is an experimental work in avant-garde jazz.
Across seven epic tracks on this new album, the Quartet, comprised of Campiche, Manu Hagmann (bass), Clemens Kuratle (drums), and Leo Fumagalli (saxophone), take the listener on a meaningful sonic journey.
The album is musically and intellectually stimulating, exploring themes of climate change, the refugee crisis, the patriarchy, and human identity in these dark and troubled times.
Ahead of the release, Julie Campiche tells us more about the record.
This piece is inspired by the story of the SOS Mediterranée boat that was called ‘Aquarius’, which rescued 30,000 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea over a few years, before being forced to stop operating in 2018 for political and judicial reasons.
Musically, this composition works by evoking a sense of fear and dread. With its theme of migration, fear can be found on many levels. First of all, the fear of the thousands of human being lost in the Mediterranean Sea on precarious boats as they try to escape the conflict and adversity of their countries. And on the other side, the fear of Europeans towards migrants and the political and human consequences that this generates.
It’s been said that my work is imbued with an urgent fragility, and this is a great example of that.
The Other’s Share
This piece is inspired by the relationship with the Other in the construction of the self. In what I am today, what part of my person and personality comes from me and what part comes from my environment, from my relationship with the other? And extrapolating the phenomenon further, how do I manage the needs and desires of the different parts of myself? The complexity and ambiguity of these encounters fascinate me.
The musical construction of this piece is based on different states of this process. The first phase of the piece is all right-angled, a rather tense and chiselled atmosphere, thus calling for a conflict stage in the encounter. The second phase remains tense, but more melodic, the angles are rounded, but the energy remains intense. This would be a stage of heated discussion in the meeting, an intense exchange on controversial subjects. The last phase of the piece softens, voices gradually enter to join the saxophone on the theme and form a choir singing in unison. This is a conciliatory stage in the encounter.
This piece is inspired by the way I feel about all the ‘little’ things I leave in the brackets. Sometimes they are unimportant things, but often they are ‘little’ things that are essential and fundamental. I leave them in brackets because maybe I don’t have the time to deal with them, or maybe they scare me a bit, so I leave them aside and hope that it will pass by itself, even though I know it won’t. 🙂
The music is haunting and melancholic. Two melodies echo each other, like things left between parentheses that try to be heard by the everyday that is deaf in the ear.
Fridays Of Hope
Fridays Of Hope is a tribute to ‘Fridays For Future’, the movement initiated by Greta Thunberg. Personally, this global movement organised by young people who unite across borders to speak with one voice is a huge source of inspiration and hope. The fact that civil society is organising itself in such a global way gives a new dimension to the term “globalisation”, a new definition that fills me with positive energy. With this piece I want to pay tribute to this energy with the tools I have: music. This piece tries to convey the emotion that this movement and the climate crisis raise in me. This music is based on a haunting groove that calls for trance as much as it calls for a rise in energy leading to rage. The melody is more melancholic. Samples of a speech by Greta frame the track. At first, they appear in a rather peaceful setting, although the speech is haunting and composed and factual. Later, they evolve into an angry scream over a raging drum solo. The composition finally ends with the melody played in a very intimate yet assertive way, echoing and paying tribute to the integrity and strength of conviction of Greta and herFridays For Future movement.
The Underestimated Power
This composition is inspired by the strength of women. All the women who make the world go round behind the scenes of everyday life, in any situation and throughout human history. All the women who silently sacrifice their needs, consciously or unconsciously, by choice or necessity, for the ‘common good’ often of their own families.
Musically, this piece varies between two extremes: a very soft, fragile part and a very powerful, even raging part. These two parts symbolise for me the iceberg in its entirety: the emerged part being the fragile part, the submerged part being the powerful part. Underneath the biased vision of feminine fragility lies a limitless strength, and above all a strength without which I believe the world could not survive.
Our saxophone player Leo Fumagalli wrote this piece and said – This song was initially written for a chord 4tet with marimba, playing around an augmented scale and its various super impositions possibilities. Of course there’s a strong Steve Reich influence in the arpeggios and in the counterpoint, but all this work was developed by the intervention of Julie. First of all she got rid of the concepts in order to build something new shaped around her personal sound and aesthetic, which we all worked on together. A new melody was written, some chords were changed, all the instruments got different parts, this track is indeed a very good example of the work we do all together, and of the way Julie creates her own sound using someone else previous work. The tune Utopia is now definitely a part of her repertoire, and fits naturally in all her melodies, keeping only the strong material initially written that felt necessary.
Our drummer Clemens Kuratle wrote this piece, he said – Lies was originally written for two horns, guitar, drum and bass as a sort of meditation on the subject‚ Lies and Illusion. We chose the track, because the various grooves, the atmospheric intro and the melodies seemed to fit well for the quartet. As always, Julie proposed a completely new arrangement that we then worked on, where some melodic elements are barely cited, but instead a new hook was created by Leo. The whole piece, played in that way, unfolds its parts very organically rather than ‘suite – like‘ which was a pleasant surprise for me. And like ‘Utopia‘, this shows the way we work on tunes. The structure and dramaturgy of the pieces are mostly created after we explored the different parts extensively in rehearsals, making the arrangements truly a collective thing, yet clearly aesthetically guided by Julies unorthodox and unique musical approach.