SUNDAY CLASSIC GTC: ANDREA SCHROEDER – Ghosts of Berlin [Where The Wild Oceans End, LP]
Andrea Schroeder – Where The Wild Oceans End is available at Apple Music.
by Walter Price
I can’t say I know the full music history of Andrea Schroeder outside of what I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering. Most notably the track “Ghosts Of Berlin” and the accompanying video from her just-released (2014) album Where The Wild Oceans End (Glitterhouse).
The airy and shadowy nature of her voice along with the lyrics on the track are absolutely alluring. Driving the track’s point home is the amazing choice of film footage that she’s used for the track’s video.
Taken from the 1927 Walter Ruttmann film, Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt (Symphony of a Great City). A film chronicling the German city from dawn to dusk and its citizens going through their pre-Nazi controlled lives and before the Deutschland film community found itself under the thumb of the Goebbels propaganda machine. A film documenting a simpler time and in far contrast to the roaring 20’s images from the US and the UK.
I reached out to Schroeder to ask her directly about this chilling track’s backstory, “The song idea for the lyrics of Ghosts Of Berlin came through a talk with my band when Dave Allen (bass) and Chris Hughes (drums) were telling ghosts stories. Dave said that in Berlin wherever you see daisies growing in a big amount on green fields, that there were bodies buried under it. I kept the thought with me a long while to once write a song about it because Berlin carries a lot of history, you can feel it everywhere. And the town is full of forgotten people out of different times in history, with special lives and stories behind. Jesper had created a wonderful guitar melody, he was playing it for a while, but someday suddenly the vocal melody and lyrics for Ghosts Of Berlin popped up in my head to his guitar lines and we recorded the idea while it came. Then worked further with the song and it became like it is now.”
Andrea continued about how the video origins, “A friend of ours, Iulian Morar (who soon makes the live album and concert film for our concert evening where also Mick Harvey and his band will play in Bucharest), was often at our concerts and when we were planning a video for Ghosts Of Berlin he told me that he always saw the images of “Berlin, die Sinfonie der Großstadt” in his head while listening to us playing the song. I took a look at the movie and was extremely touched and impressed, amazing pictures which fit perfectly, and wherever you lay the music, it always tells a different hidden story.
“And also the rhythm of the cutting was like made for that song. I researched the net and found the “Bundesarchiv”, who have German films restored, they gave me the contact of Eva Riehl, the daughter of the filmmaker Walther Ruttmann. I sent her the song and my wish to ask for permission and the license to be able to use it and were very lucky that she liked the idea. So we were able to cut the video and use those amazing scenes.”
[ 9. February 2014 ]
Where The Wild Oceans End
+ Ghosts of Berlin
Artists photo by Andrea Schroeder
Ghosts Of Berlin
Lyrics: Andrea Schroeder
Music: Andrea Schroeder, Jesper Lehmkuhl
Vocals, Harmonium: Andrea Schroeder
Guitars: Jesper Lehmkuhl
Bass, Celeste: Dave Allen
Drums: Chris Hughes
Violin: Catherine Graindorge
Produced by Chris Eckman
Engineered by David Hefti
Recorded at Hansa Studios
Mixed by Chris Eckman at Studio Zuma, Ljubljana
Mastered by: Milan Cimfe at Sono Recording Studios, Prague
Film sequences of ‘Berlin, die Sinfonie der Großstadt’ / ‘Berlin, symphony of a great city’ by Walther Ruttmann, 1927. With friendly permission of Eva Riehl.
“Once in a while, Germany offers uniquely talented female singers, and Andrea is one of those. Draw yourself a line from Marlene Dietrich over to Nico, add some dashes of Chamber Pop, in the vein of The Tindersticks, to it and you come close. Discovered and loved by such illustrious people like Charles Plymell or Mike Watt, Andrea Schroeder is an exceptional phenomenon. She’s a musical poetess, with an outstanding voice that is as fascinating as her thrilling and melancholic lyrics. By the beginning of 2014, the Berlin-based artist released her second album with Glitterhouse Records. Just like the debut “Blackbird” (2013), Where The Wild Oceans End“ (produced by Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts, Midnight Choir) convinced music press and arts section: Rolling Stone named it “a powerful album full of drama and melancholy”, Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote “Melancholic, of Nick Cave and Patti Smith reminding songs:” – Glitterhouse