Lars Bartkuhn



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Since relocating to Brazil some years back, Needs Music co-founder Lars Bartkuhn has returned to his long-held love of musical improvisation. Although it’s a product of his jazz roots and classical training, the German producer has constantly found new ways to apply it to his work in the sphere of electronic music.

‘Dystopia’, his first solo album for almost nine years, was born out of two interlinked ideas: a desire to create improvised music without the aid of computer sequencers or an electronic drum set, and a deeply held love of storytelling through sound. Bartkuhn set to work improvising with modular synthesizers, acoustic instruments and hand percussion, later adding light-touch overdubs to a handful of pieces. When he listened back to the recordings, an aural narrative emerged, and you’ll hear it if you listen to the album from start to finish, as is intended.

As you’d expect from a musician and composer of Bartkuhn’s undoubted ability, ‘Dystopia’ is a stunning album – an undulating, expansive ambient journey packed with emotional resonance. While Bartkuhn naturally sees it as a logical progression of his previous ambient-leaning work with Kabuki as The First Minute of a New Day (and particularly their self-titled 2020 album Séance Centre), ‘Dystopia’ also features subtle nods to many of his long-held musical loves, including John Hassell’s ‘fourth world’ recordings, the impossible-to-pigeonhole 1970s catalogue of deep jazz imprint ECM, and the far-sighted American minimalism of Terry Riley and Steve Reich.
    Release Date: 04 May 23 Cat No: RHM 042