When asked what the songs are about, Daniel Bürkner takes a long pause. It’s not easy to grasp all the connections and topics of “Landschaft aus Papier”. “Fremdartigkeit”, for example, tells the story of his grandparents who met and lived in Polish Łódź – a once multicultural city, which had been oppressed during the Nazi occupation and transformed into the second largest ghetto in Poland by the Germans. This context is blended with the narrations and half-lies that every generation in postwar West-Germany held up to come to terms with their past and identity. It all boils down to a minute of silence in today’s Warsaw to commemorate the liberation of the Warsaw Ghetto, which is in fact a minute of intense noise – honking, ringing, sirens.
How do these historical references work together with the very personal stories and the melodic emotiveness of the tracks? The album reflects the cosmos we all carry within us, that associates society, history and our emotional devotions to a very own storybook.
Musically, Daniel Bürkner works in minimalist concentration. Precise compositions evolve from an array of instruments such as guitars, harps, pianos, linear and modular synthesizers, found material such as hollow branches and reduced vocals. Finnish composer and singer Lau Nau adds airy, dream-like layers of singing. Her voice uniquely enhances the folk-element that is inherent to many of the tracks. Tomoyoshi Date, sound artist from Tokyo, recorded a pump organ that used to have its place in his Japanese hometown for “Dch”, the track on the album that is the closest to pure silence.
Despite the partly heavy topics, “Landschaft aus Papier” is a light and open collage. After all, it’s not about musical drama. It’s about creating a new open story, respectful to the elements that contributed to it.