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Soundtrack 2: Pappel

by Psycho & Plastic

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Die Bäume 05:12
Amerika 06:15


Award-winning German author Dalibor Markovi​​ć commissioned Psycho & Plastic to create an original soundtrack for his debut novel 'Pappel. Die Geschichte eines Herumtreibers' on the heels of their 2020 ambient masterpiece 'Placid House' and 'Soundtrack 1: Schwelen'. Scheduled for a simultaneous release, book and album are deeply intertwined in form and content.

'Soundtrack 2: Pappel' follows the novel’s tree-turned-human protagonist Konrad Pappel on his tour de force through 150 years of German history, equating each of the novel’s seven chapters with a track of the same title. The instrumental music mindfully mirrors the inner worlds and real life adventures of this unlikely character. Consequently, the album closely traces the book’s arc of suspense, its emotions and atmospheres. It is Psycho & Plastic’s most cinematic work to date, with orchestral timbres and arrangements directly referencing film scores. However, the Berlin-based duo does not stop there. From ambient serenity to claustrophobic dread, from organic explorations of freedom to gritty electronic rigidity, Psycho & Plastic weave their compositions across microscopic planes and cosmic expanses alike.

Opener “Die Bäume'' combines field recordings and moody modular synthesizers, hinting at the harmonic and melodic content to come. The highly delicate interplay between guitar and piano on “Wunsch, Indianer zu werden”, and the bleak, dismal atmospheres of “In der Strafkolonie” set up the album’s centrepiece “Amerika”. This track ascends from the dark, foreboding bowels of a 1930s transatlantic steamliner towards the heady bliss of an imagined future in the land of opportunity. It rings in modern times by introducing lively rhythms and strong percussive elements on top of an intricate arrangement and a dramatic shift in mood.
Set closer to the present, “Auf der Galerie” and “Beschreibung eines Kampfes” keep up the pace. Throbbing pulses, subsonic kick drums, and audio glitches are violent outbursts amidst echoes and memories of a long life closing in on itself. “Die Verwandlung'' bookends the album with piano and synth ambience, complete with musically curated elements of randomness and modular synth squeals, before returning to nature with the sound of gurgling water.

The novel’s epic narrative scope enables Psycho & Plastic to showcase the full spectrum of their artful production and composition style. Timbrally rich textures conjured up from analog synthesizers, animated electronics, digitally treated pianos, and electric guitars evoke ambient pioneers Brian Eno and Cluster/Harmonia at times. Mixed in with their trademark blend of organic and electronic sounds, intricate and gut-wrenching melodies, clicks’n’cuts, and subtly funky rhythms, the duo find themselves operating in similar territory as contemporary figureheads Darkside and Nils Frahm.
While intrinsically tied to Markovi​​ć’s novel, 'Soundtrack 2: Pappel' is an enthralling musical achievement in its own right.


released September 9, 2021

All tracks written, recorded, performed and produced by Thomas Tichai & Alexandre Decoupigny.

Design by hawaiif3, based on their cover for the novel 'Pappel. Geschichte eines Herumtreibers' by Dalibor Markovi​​ć.


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Psycho & Plastic Berlin, Germany

Psycho & Plastic is comprised of Alexandre Decoupigny and Thomas Tichai who have been creating music together since 2011. Over the years, they have released 4 albums and 2 EPs, drawing upon the works of Mouse On Mars, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Leftfield, Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, Robot Koch, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for inspiration. Their own sound calls to mind Brian Eno, Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm. ... more

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