Theo Bleckmann - I Dwell In Possibility
ECHO JAZZ 2010 - Singer of the Year
(the ECHO award is the German equivalent of an ARIA Award)
Theo Bleckmann: voice
and autoharp, chime balls, chimes, finger cymbals, flutes, glass harp,
hand-held fan, Indonesian frog buzzer, iPhone, lyre, melodica, miniature
zither, nut shell shakers, rotary pan flute, shruti box, tongue drum,
toy amp, toy boxes, toy megaphones, vibra tone, water bottle
CHICAGO READER/Peter Margasak
"Vocalist Theo Bleckmann is one of the most flexible and
uncategorizable figures on the New York scene; since the mid-90s he's
been doing his thing in a niche of his own invention, somewhere between
jazz, cabaret, classical, experimental, and improvised music.
He's got a
strong, precise voice and impeccable pitch control, and [...] I can't
help but admire his range and curiosity.
It's tremendously rare for a
singer to realize the potential of the voice so thoroughly."
the planning stages of his first solo CD for Winter & Winter, long before
the actual recording, it became apparent that the choice of space would be
extremely important and the desire emerged to not use any electronic devices
for reverb, echo or rooms effects.
A space had to be found that would allow for
the greatest acoustic development possible, a space that, depending on position
of microphones, would offer different sound characteristics such as chamber
music-like qualities, as in the Villa Medici-Giulini in Brianza, Italy, but
also offer long church reverb or repetitious echo effects as well as a
beautiful acoustic comparable to that of the "Musikverein" in Vienna.
The natural acoustics at the remote monastery Beinwil in Switzerland proved to
be the ideal duet partner for Bleckmann’s solos with its many facets of echoes
and reverbs. Here, everything was recorded live and without later studio
processing or sound manipulation, including a few vocal overdubs.
Stefan Winter was inspired by Lars von Trier's "Dogma 95" and
followed the rules of "Dogma 95" for the music production »I Dwell in
Possibility«, but the "vow of chastitity" was not interpreted as a
fundamental law, more as an instruction to produce new sound and listening
Inspired by the
Arte Povera, the Italian art movement of the 60’s that created installations
with the simplest and "poorest" materials, Bleckmann creates with
humble means and, very much like the church itself, has the devotion and quiet
of a prayer. Besides his voice and a myriad of acoustics, Bleckmann has chosen
some unlikely companions for his solos: music boxes, megaphones, autoharp,
glasses, water, shruti and various toys that occasionally accompany him.
His repertoire is
just as multifaceted and ranges from Bleckmann’s own compositions, like his
solo "Duet For One", the haunting "Ma’at" (based on ancient
Greek music and poetry), his self-reflecting "Static Still" and his
settings of Kurt Schwitters and Emily Dickinson along with his renditions of
Supertramp’s "Lord Is It Mine" and Joni Mitchell’s "The Fiddle
And The Drum".
Bleckmann is also the first singer to record one of
Meredith Monk's intricate signature solo voice pieces: "Wa-lie-oh",
which was passed on to him by Ms. Monk herself.
The inclusion of two jazz
standards connects us to Bleckmann’s roots in jazz. "Comes Love"
poses a witty counterpoint to the spacious "I hear A Rhapsody" in
duet with melodica.
Using the full
range of his voice, Bleckmann has developed a diverse catalogue of sounds and
extended techniques but stays away from gimmickry or vocal trickery, instead he
uses sounds with precision and weaves them into his compositions and
arrangements making it sound less like a catalogue of tricks but more like
The music and
concept of »I Dwell In Possibility« is totally unique. »I Dwell In Possibility«
is an album about the sonic beauty of the voice. The special recording
procedure without any processing allows the best possible development in a
selected natural room.
Theo Bleckmann makes music that is accessibly
sophisticated, unsentimentally emotional, and seriously playful. His work
provokes the mind to wonder, but connects immediately with the heart.
»I Dwell In
Possibility« is Theo Bleckmann's first real solo album. In five years he has
recorded a variety of very different projects from jazz to pop and to new
music. In 2004 the cooperation with producer Stefan Winter started with the
Cabaret-Opera »Der Kastanienball«, a project produced by the Münchner
Opernfestspiele, followed by »Las Vegas Rhapsody« a wonderful teamwork with the
Japanese composer and pianist Fumio Yasuda and the Kammerorchester Basel.
Another musical "travelogue" leads to Berlin – »Songs of love and
war, peace and exile«. And the record »Twelve Songs by Charles Ives« brings to
Theo Bleckmann and the group Kneebody the first Grammy nomination. 2008 he
released the debut album with the group "refuge trio" and with Fumio
Yasuda he records »Schumann's Favored Bar Songs« in 2009.
has just been awarded in Germany with an ECHO Jazz in the category "Best