American Primitive

Release Date: 04/08/2011 · Format: CD / LP · Catalog-No: GRCD / LP 717

Snowy mountains vs. palm trees. Vanilla ice-cream vs. Bavarian sausage. A couple of images that spring to mind when imagining a musical collaboration between Walkabouts front man Chris Eckman and Tosca-boss Rupert Huber. But the music speaks for itself. Once you hear the opening bars of their unusual project Long, you quickly learn that apparent opposites have actually changed into an organic symbiosis of two human beings thinking alike.

Their debut album „American Primitive” has a long and winding history that reflects the name of the project – Long. It was eight years ago that Eckman and Huber first met in a chalet at a friend’s party. When these thoroughbred musicians found a guitar and piano there was no holding them back. While jamming they found there was hardly any boundary between American folk and European electronica. It took three years for the two workaholics to meet again in Vienna, when Chris Eckman did a vocal part for the Tosca-tune “John Lee Huber”. Both enjoyed the collaboration and started to jam more regularly, sending files back and forth and thus pieced an album together, neither folk nor electronica, but a merging of both styles in a unique way.

The seemingly disparate musicians soon found a lot of common ground. As Eckman explains, “Rupert is seen as the guy who chops up beats, but he has a musician’s background. He is an amazing pianist. Whereas I have worked on a lot of soundtrack music. Some of it was recorded with electronic tools, but at no point during the recording process did we divide responsibilities in Acoustic and Electronic. Both of us did everything.”

And that’s the reason behind the organic sound of “American Primitive”. Both musicians’ backgrounds are forgotten when the urban folksongs drift through the speakers. Some tracks will remind the listener of the Walkabouts or Eckman’s current trio Dirtmusic, others are more abstract. The cosmopolitan vibe of the music manifests itself in thrilling melodies and Eckman’s captivating voice, through indefinable sounds and hypnotic grooves.

The title „American Primitive“ suggests multifarious dealings with tradition, as the term is mostly used to describe prewar recordings in the fields and prisons of the US-American south. These are obviously some of the roots of the American born Chris Eckman, while Rupert Huber brings his knowledge of classical composers from Europe to the table. But he “has no problem with the blues”, as he admits without hesitation.

As Huber explians: „With today’s advanced software you can push acoustic instruments deep into electronica. The basic track of the title song came from a session I recorded with Chris and a drummer in Ljubljana. We played for six hours and distilled some loops, which we used as the basis onto we added instrument by instrument. A lot of it started acoustically, but ended up sounding electronic.”

Layer by layer and line by line was added to create a piece of new music out of one basic idea. The duo worked three years on this monumental but quiet collage, which opens up new musical possibilities for the second decade of the millennium. And the question remains when did the musicians know the final chapter had been written? Rupert Huber replies poetically: “When rain turned into snow. We met for a session, but Chris didn’t even bring an instrument. We looked each other in the eye and said, that’s it.”

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01 Shoot Your Dog
02 American Primitive
03 Land Of The Lost
04 Longitude Zero
05 Wrong Train Comin'
06 Dust
07 Shame This Darkness
08 Stockerau
09 Night Fisherman
10 Run Of Days