Summers and Weikel, who started playing together in 1996 and self-produced their first EP in 1999, have always been gearheads. But it wasn't until the success of Keep Your Eyes Ahead that they could afford to step things up. They left behind much of their digital gear and built a vast collection of vintage, analog gear that would yield a warmer, deeper sound. As the new studio came together, so did their new album, and the band found themselves in the most spontaneous, open, and varied writing process they had ever experienced.
Negotiations grew out of improvisations and abstract sketches – synth loops and jams influenced by the minimalist ambience of Roedelius and Manuel Göttsching. Tempering the free-form approach was Summers and Weikel's meticulous attention to production and arrangement, which took cues from the subtlety and detail of Brian Eno and late-era Talk Talk. Lyrically, Summers affirmed the improvised ethos, working deep into the night ad-libbing alone in front of the mic, drawing on the starkness and understated romanticism of Sinatra's Capitol era "Suicide Albums." "I used to view a lyric as a statement," he says. "Now, I see it more as a letter you're writing to yourself or a conversation with your subconscious." This collection of shimmering, reverb-heavy songs is a meditation on those inner dialogues (hence, Negotiations) with solitude, memory, misgivings, loss, atonem