I think this is already my favourite of Oskar's albums, as the inclusion of new instruments adds so much to these melodies. Joy and sadness mix like a perfect pair here, producing many fine, nicely arranged tunes.
Favorite track: Mariupol.
For a long time, it had been my dream to create an album that would not be limited to piano and the other few (mainly keyboard- and guitar-like) instruments that I was able to play. Ever since I first listened to Beirut’s „Gulag Orkestar“ - back in the autumn of 2008 when I decided to move from a small village in Bavaria to Berlin and dedicate my life to creating music - I fell in love with the sound of brass instruments and the way they can make a song sound melancholic and solemn and at the same time exuberant and joyful. A bunch of melodies I had written during the last years required exactly this kind of sound but it didn’t feel right to hire other musicians for my recordings, so I kept those pieces hidden in a drawer, not really knowing what to do with them, but sensing that their time would come.
Then came the pandemic and, being even more at home and anti-social than I used to be, I decided that it is time to finally buy a trumpet and use quarantine to practice it. I made good progress during the first weeks and - motivated by this - decided to try and learn the basics of a few other instruments I had always admired from far: the cello, the violin and the clarinet. I spent hours in my small practice booth in my home studio (I hope my neighbours didn’t hear me!) and after around one and a half years, I felt ready to record an EP. It was probably the most fun experience I ever had recording music. Because I was a beginner on those new instruments, it felt like traveling back in time and recording my first songs together with my brother and teenage friends when I was just 15 or 16. It felt new and exciting, like walking through uncharted territory. For a few months, I was living in the middle of a big pile of instruments: spending the days surrounded by my piano, celesta, trumpet, cornet, euphonium, dulcitone, pump organ, clarinet, cello, ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, harp, accordion, keyboard, glockenspiel, snare- drum and tambourine. Everything ready to grab and record at any time - it was a very spontaneous and free process and I like to think one can hear the freedom and joy of creation in the final result.
Not everything was joy and happiness during this time, though. Just two weeks after I began to record the EP, russia attacked Ukraine. Darkness crept into my life, with my wife being Ukrainian and suffering from the destruction of her home country, the fear and worry for her loved ones and the horrible atrocities committed against her people.
This EP is dedicated to the Ukrainian people therefore - but when calling it „Odesa“, it is the pre-war Odesa, the beautiful Ukrainian Black Sea city with its pulsating life and joyful people, that I have in mind and that hopefully will return soon.
released October 7, 2022
Composed, recorded & mixed by Oskar Schuster
Mastered by Norman Nitzsche at Calyx Mastering Studios
Oskar Schuster is a german composer and artist, living in Berlin. His songs without words evoke a fairytale-world, strange
and surreal. A world full of blurry images of the past; of childhood memories and characters from children’s books; of clicking and ticking clocks and ever-looping music boxes, of far-away-lands, far-away-seas, far-away-skies, far-away-everythings....more