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Retronyms

by Carlos Cipa

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

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1.
fanfare 00:52
2.
senna's joy 12:55
3.
mame 02:19
4.
and she was 07:23
5.
awbsmi 01:38
6.
slide. 11:48
7.
dark tree 06:33
8.
paon 05:38

about

»Retronyms« is the third album of the Munich-based composer Carlos Cipa. After 2012’s »The
Monarch and the Viceroy« and »All Your Life You Walk« put a focus on the piano, Cipa
exponentially expands his artistic approach as well as his colour palette on »Retronyms«. The
eight pieces see Cipa bring together his background as a classically trained pianist and
composer with his interest for pop music, jazz and electronic music in all its diverse facets. Each
note on this album is meticulously thought through and yet »Retronyms« radiates with visceral
liveliness.
Cipa invited musicians from vastly different backgrounds for the recording of »Retronyms« and
combined highly modern digital studio technology with analogue hardware, blended brasses
and woodwinds or electric guitar with piano sounds and more. Cipa himself plays piano and a
variety of keyboard instruments like the celesta or the harmonium, Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer
and analogue synthesizers. This surreally beautiful acoustic-electronic chamber music manages
to preserve the originality of its acoustic elements and the authenticity of live performance at
once. With pieces like the epic »senna’s joy«, »Retronyms« highlights the orchestral qualities
that Cipa’s previous solo piano pieces so far have only hinted at.
»Retronyms« carries its title for a reason: a retronym is a subsequent name change that
provides a new term for something old. One example would be the »acoustic guitar« that was
renamed after the invention of the electric guitar. Retronyms are coined at the end of an
exciting cultural or technological development, just like »Retronyms« marks a decisive turning
point in Cipa’s development as a composer. Recently, he has dedicated himself to collaborative
work with the composer Sophia Jani or the producer Martin Brugger a.k.a. Occupanther,
provided music for film and TV as well as composing for classical ensembles and scoring dance
and theatre performances. With over a hundred concerts all over Europe, Cipa has proven that
his music can enthral the audiences of clubs or classical concert halls just as well as of those at
big pop music festivals like Haldern-Pop, MS Dockville and the Reeperbahn festival. All of this
saw him sharing the stage with artists like Hauschka or Nils Frahm and breathing new life into
Steve Reich’s »Six Pianos« at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.
On »Retronyms« the composer, who will talk as passionately about different interpretations of
Bach’s suites as about the entire Björk discography and who feels just as comfortable at a
performance of minimal music as with Bowie’s »Heroes« on the turntable, has partially
relinquished his compositional control. The album is a thoroughly composed work and, at the
same time, the fruit of an occasionally even incidental productive cooperation throughout the
recording sessions. For the opening piece »fanfare« for example, Cipa recorded snippets of his
trombonists’ exercises and later condensed them through various processing methods into an
avant-garde sound art miniature. Also »paon«, the last track, arose from a free improvisation
between Cipa and trumpet player Matthias Lindermayr.
Cipa creates an interplay between acoustic keyboard instruments, synthesizer soundscapes
and digital production methods, but also between classical elements and pop music structures:
the textures of »dark tree« open up a lot of room for Cipa’s piano playing to unfold and enter
in a musical dialogue with jazzy trumpet melodies. A whole new sound is created, one that
could not have possibly been conceived on a musical score. There were plenty of moments
during the recording of »Retronyms« in which everything developed organically, in which
classical musicians were encouraged to improvise or a jazz musician was playing at sight. On
record, this results in a versatility that, in a playing time of about 49 minutes, integrates the
suspended string textures of »awbsmi« just as seamlessly as the interwoven piano phrases on
»and she was«.
Throughout »Retronyms« the acoustic engages in a dialogue with the electronic, the analogue
with the digital, and improvisation with the art of composition. Over the course of eight pieces,
the interaction between subtle repetition and high-contrast changes creates a constant tension
that can be heard in every single detail of the complex arrangement of this album. White noise
and ambient sounds draw the audience further into the vibrant recording situation and yet
every note on this LP sits exactly where Cipa wanted it to be.
Hence, »Retronyms« creates a unified whole out of utterly heterogeneous components. While
the first piece is only 50 seconds short, the second one stretches out for almost 13 minutes.
Even though a composition like »slide.« is based on a complex harmonic structure, the end
result sounds light-hearted and catchy. One moment something might seem to evoke a certain
mood, the next you can find it to express the sheer opposite. For it is an album in constant
change – just like Carlos Cipa, who has radically expanded his compositional approach with
»Retronyms«.

credits

released August 23, 2019

Composed, Arranged, Performed, Recorded and Produced By Carlos Cipa
Co-produced By Martin Brugger
Mastered By Christoph Stickel
Mixed By Martyn Heyne
Artwork & Design By Daily Dialogue
Photography By Johannes Brugger

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Carlos Cipa München, Germany

Carlos Cipa is a Munich-based classically trained pianist, composer and producer in the contemporary classical field.

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