by Walter Price
When you leave one band of rock pop German coolness and move to the intriguing and mysterious (as some would consider) Iceland it would seem your musical career would be up in the cool air. Julius Rothlaender has done just this and things get complicated if not story collaboratively spot on.
Trippy tactile, stark, ethereal and expansive are the tracks from this new project which Julius explained, “I moved from Berlin to Reykjavík in February and am very busy/happy with a tiny little project I call ‘Mount Theodore’ these days it resembles a diary in sound, that invites a different guest for each entry. The magnificent Thomas Götz (Beatsteaks, NinaMarie, Tomatenplatten) for example played drums and sang for me in ‘Stadt Rand Fluss’. Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir (she’s part of the amazing feminist rap-collective ‘Reykjavíkurdætur‘) contributed fabulous words and voice for some 80s Hip Hop synth pop, entitled ‘Vinurinn of góði’. And with Chris Leo (The Van Pelt, The Lapse, Vague Angels).”
Julius went six steps further for a track by track of his new project Mount Theodore. This may be the most interesting set of tracks you’ve heard today.
I craved to write something very slow, a soft surface that hides a number of various small things underneath. Leaning back and forth, farewell meets uncertainty meets one of my favourite movie scenes in Roy Andersson’s ‘Du levande’, a dream sequence, a room that turns out to be a train.
I got to know Rudi Maier through a mutual friend in Berlin, and admire him for what he does with his band ‘The Dope’. When I heard the first thirty seconds of a song called ‘Mother’s Boy Toyed With An Idea’ I felt encouraged to ask him if he might be up for this collaboration.
The Sentimental Turn
To me, this one feels like a melancholic approach to a big city, some silent turmoil. Living in Berlin I always felt a certain ambivalence, experienced ups and downs from different angles.
Jóhann Kristinsson is a friend of mine who moved from Reykjavík to Berlin. When we first met, I was just thinking about moving the other way around. Seeing Berlin through his eyes was a very important and fascinating thing to do for me and made me feel very good about this city again.
In A Roadhouse, Waiting
The initiative for this entry is actually something that somehow goes back to my friend Niall Gahagan. He wrote me a few nice lines regarding ‘The Sentimental Turn’, adding that I should let him know, should I one day be up for some Scottish-spoken-voice-collaboration. I don’t know how serious he was about that and I guess he certainly didn’t know that I indeed always wanted to try that.
The first song on the Tindersticks’ ‘The Something Rain’ record is a spoken word piece, that had a huge impact on me when I heard it for the first time.
I recorded a very rough instrumental, which I felt should be very remote and cloudy, wrote some words that in the end might be a lot about sound and met Niall to record his marvelous voice.
Curiously enough, after two or three years of not listening to the aforementioned Tindersticks song, I searched my shelves for it around that time , just to find out that my copy of this record somehow had disappeared.
Stadt Rand Fluss
There was a little idea that made me think of how it was when I began to make music when I was 16 years old. Attending a punk rock concert in Kreuzberg late last year and finding my way back into german language might also have been important. The song is again something that deals with topics within and without the city, plus creativity, constriction, failure… With Thomas Götz I found my favourite punk rock drummer and singer to drum, sing and work on this song with me.
Vinurinn of góði
My little brother is impressed by hip hop, and I’m impressed by my little brother. Following this path I stumbled my way into recording a rap song. I hoped to end up some place far away from boring masculine clichés and was sure that I heard the perfect and missing element for this song when I listened to Reykjavíkurdætur’s ‘Tíminn tapar takti’. I’m very glad that I encountered Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir (who is amongst others part of the aforementioned Icelandic feminist rap collective ‘Reykjavíkurdætur’) in Iceland. She found brilliant words for the song, a story of twists and turns, and also added the idea of quoting ‘Vísur Vatnsenda-Rósu’, a traditional Icelandic poem and song, that’s tells the story of a woman (told by this very woman) who’s in love with a person she can not be with.
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