Homework is the project of one Andreas Lang from Munich and Gity is his first release on his own very interesting q-tone label (I'll get to other releases in later issues of FN). The labels philosophy is to release no specific style, although it's often rooted in minimalism, sound-experiments or abstraction, with one interesting limitation; they reject pure electronic music - it has to be partially recorded acoustically. This is not only key to keeping the music from sounding cold and inorganic but it also gives it a free yet not completely improvised feel. As Andreas Lang states; Gity was recorded to "sound improvised" but it is in fact not.
Homework, the band (just Lang with occasional guests) is my favourite kind of music, really. I'll say right up front, I love this record. It's acoustic instrumentation, guitars, mandolins, double bass, accordions are played genuinely and honestly along with the occasional improv scrapings and scratchings, which are really quite sinister and scary . A very open and clean sound, loose yet controlled. Proper folk songs for the electronic generation. Don't get me wrong here, there's no skippity skip of samplers playing with the "sounds of folk" this is the real deal, folk music played by someone who understands new music. OK, now and then we get some interesting experimental effect like on Wondergit where one of Apple's electronic voices recites poetic verses over some really lovely dueling acoustics. Once in a while you notice the music is actually going backwards, although you didn't really notice, or quite suddenly they all go 'squealing pig' with saxophone free stabs, and it all fits perfectly.
Gity was named after the tracks in the recording software: as there is at least one acoustic guitar-track in each song Lang named the tracks git1, git2....However, before recording he made some simple rules:
- only acoustic instruments with guitar as a starting point.
- the music should sound improvised, though it's planned.
- the rhythm should be hidden or 'vanishing', just a flow.
- the lyrics should be as abstract as possible.
Lang says that " 'gity' is some kind of transformed, abstracted 'heart-ache' as the texts deal with loss and pain, sometimes with biting irony."
This is mostly quite sad music, I'm not one for listening to lyrics (usually disappointed actually) but we´re in the realms of Robert Wyatt here, and as such it can begin to become a bit samey after a while. Then suddenly an infectious jazz beat will come in and clarinets interweave slow melodic patterns suggesting themes like the sea, kites flying, old super 8 or nocturnal time lapse films or cinematic taxi scenes.