Pascal Schumacher’s new album LUNA stands in diametric opposition to his previous release, SOL. And it’s not just the play on the albums’ titles, which already point to the differing moods of lightness and darkness, both releases also stem from opposing creative standpoints. While SOL carried in it a sense of spontaneous discovery as Schumacher, after years of playing with bands and ensembles, ventured out in his first solo endeavour, LUNA captures a more meticulous side to the musician’s work which involved once again composing for other players; more specifically for the Belgium post-classical ensemble Echo Collective, who lends to the album its many layers and textures.
Despite the contrasts, SOL and LUNA aren’t in any way antagonistic to each other, much on the contrary, their duality feels wholly comple- mentary, expressing a natural musical progression much like day gently feeds into night.
Although working with strings wasn't new for Schumacher who has in the past composed for orchestras and ensembles of all kinds, collaborating with Echo Collective on LUNA felt like a unique experience.
The first single from the upcoming album LUNA is out today!
'Rhythmicon' is my very personal tribute to Leon Theremin's invention from 1931. Theremin's rhythmicon is considered to be the first drum machine ever. Equally Steve Reich's 'Music for 18 musicians' inspired me to add some marimba layers and vibraphone calls. I hope you like this track! You can listen to 'Rhythmicon' by following by clicking HERE
Graphic Design by Michel Welfringer
Released on Neue Meister
Published by La Chunga Publishing
Recorded by Joachim Olaya at Jet Studio, Brussels
Mixed by Joachim Olaya
Mastered by Christoph Stickel
PR by Le Tigre Noir (Justé Survilaité)
fast forward classical - New Management for Pascal
Excited to announce that Justus Wille from fast forward classical takes over my management. Based in Hamburg, FFWD Classical is a music agency that focuses exclusively on progressive classical music projects!
Yesterday I finished the composition of ‘Cygne imaginé’, a commission by Theaterhaus Stuttgart & Gauthier Dance Company for their ‘The Dying Swans Project’. The talented choreographer Elisabeth Schilling will direct Mark FJ Sampson in this beautiful collaboration. More infos soon!
I am super excited to divulge that from today I’ll be represented by Anastasia Wolkenstein (Wolkenstein Agentur) for booking inquiries worldwide (except BENELUX)! • It is a great honour and joy to join her portfolio that contains most excellent artists such as Kalle Kalima, Julia Hülsmann, Nils Wogram...
June 2020 marks the release of Pascal Schumacher’s first solo album. SOL captures Schumacher’s newfound passion for solitude in all its magnetism all the while remaining true to the main characteristic of his relationship with the vibraphone; intimacy.
Three of SOL’s singles, Sol, Tearjerker and Air, will be released in the months leading up to the album’s launch in April.
The Italian writer, Umberto Eco once said, “Solitude is a kind of freedom.” The statement certainly strikes a chord when talking about Pascal Schumacher’s latest album, SOL. The vibraphone player and composer, who has made a name for himself in a variety of collaborative endeavours from quartets to symphonic orchestras, has recently discovered the liberation and wisdom of going solo, “I found out so much about myself alone, more than I ever would have imagined,” he says.
Schumacher’s relationship with the vibraphone began as many love stories tend to; at first sight. “I remember from my percussion classes as a kid this golden, sparkly instrument, and as soon as the teacher left the room I couldn’t help playing it,” he reminisces. For those familiar with the vibraphone, the allure will be comprehensible. The set up of shiny plates and cascading tubes, that when struck by mallets produce a sound that is at once metallic and soft, ethereal really. An allure so well captured in SOL’s first track, Amarcord, a one minute tingling and tinkling of sounds, an invitation to the rest of the album so gentle and intimate that it feels more like a seduction, “That sound - for me it was always a magical touch,” adds Schumacher.
But intimacy is not easily attained. And as with most percussion instruments, where mallets or sticks play an intermediary role between player and played, there is distance. “It’s quite a process to become one with the vibraphone. I was always jealous of cello players who have their instruments in their arms and really feel it, embrace it,” says Schumacher, “At first the relationship is a very distant one, the challenge is to become one with the vibraphone.”
For the following decades, Schumacher would venture into this challenge. His relationship with the vibraphone would evolve, shift and strengthen album to album, band to band, in festival stages from Copenhagen to Tokyo. Schumacher argued with the instrument through the agitated improvisational riffs of jazz tunes, and made peace with it in the caress of classical chamber music. And through all the commotion, there was one moment that would always beguile him, that moment of solitude, when it was just him and the vibraphone, “You can be completely creative at that moment, everything is allowed, you don't need to stick to anything that has been organized or rehearsed... These were some of my favourite moments.” The point of no return arrived when, in 2018, he was invited to play solo for the first time at a festival in Salzburg. “During those concerts, I felt more free than I had ever felt before, and I enjoyed it so much. In the audience there was something very special happening too, they were getting deeper into the music and much more absorbed by it - I had never experienced that before,” he says.
Leaving his former band wasn’t easy, Schumacher tells, but there was no alternative, “Coming home from Salzburg I was in love. It felt like cheating because I still had my former project and plans to record an album,” he says. The feeling was too strong to dismiss though, he had to go solo.
SOL captures Schumacher’s newfound passion for solitude in all its magnetism. Yet, it remains true to a relationship’s main characteristic; intimacy. The album’s track Melancolia, conveys a unique isolation which is as sad as is beautiful. Twinkle expresses the extremely personal feeling of enlightenment. Even Tearjerker, a cover of Sakamoto’s famous song, is so intimately understood by Schumacher that it seems he could have himself written it. “When you are playing solo, you are really confronted with yourself. Your strong moments but also your weak moments, which are not necessarily your worst moments. There is something very beautiful about your fragility - that's often the starting point for magical outcomes,” he says “it's a really intense thing to play solo.”
On January 30th 2018, Pascal Schumacher will be premiering and recording at Philharmonie de Luxembourg together with Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg his new composition ROSACE.8, a suite in 10 movements for vibraphone and chamber orchestra .