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A Magazine for Sheffield

Grunewald Erased Tapes

Just months after releasing Partners, his homage to avant-garde pioneer John Cage, multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick returns with five-track EP Grunewald. Recorded in one night, the EP is named after the church just outside Berlin in which it was conceived. Where Partners was thick in theory, this is much more straightforward. Its impact comes instead from the simple, beautiful interaction between the music and its immediate space.

In Broderick’s words, “For anyone who likes reverb, the Grunewald is a dream come true.” Consequently, no artificial reverbs or delays were added during mixing, only the natural acoustics of the church’s vast interior. The EP opens with ‘Goodbye’, a perfect introduction to the building's sonic environment. Chords are left ringing in space and pauses between passages are deliberately left wide open to allow the reverb of the room to cloak the music. This effect is felt across the EP, as simple melodies resonate powerfully inside the belly of the church.

‘Violin Solo No. 1’ widens the record’s palette with cascading, bowed strings, again amplified by the magnitude of the room. ‘It’s A Storm When I Sleep’ recalls Lubomyr Melnyk’s ‘continuous music’, where piano notes are played rapidly with the sustain pedal held down. Chords wash over each other, creating a single, huge soundscape, a moment of grandiosity in an otherwise relatively minimal record.

Above all else, Grunewald captures the fleeting potency of music born of a specific space, and the natural relationship between Broderick’s solo performance and his surroundings.

Aidan Daly