Hamburg-based Christian Naujoks is the latest artist to join the Dial stable, home to such contemporary house and techno luminaries as Lawrence, Efdemin and Pantha Du Prince. But Naujoks’ fascinating debut LP, Untitled, released last month, rejects dancefloor dynamics in favour of a more involuted, personal and at times claustrophobic sound that will appeal immediately to fans of Arthur Russell’s World of Echo.
To celebrate the release of the record, Naujoks has put together an exclusive mix for us, an unpredictable selection of tracks which is less a DJ session and more a nocturnal radio broadcast, a lovingly compiled tape. Reflecting its maker’s wide-ranging tastes, FACT mix 37 takes in the plangent, echo-drenched guitar chords of The Durutti Column, the deep house melancholy of DJ Sprinkles, the hip-hop mutations of Flying Lotus and Harmonic 313, the country soul of Will Oldham and the priapic R&B of D’Angelo and Steve Spacek; Duke Ellington, Webern, Aphex Twin and two of Naujoks own tracks (one a cover of New Order) all get a look in too. Scroll down for our Q&A with Christian; click the link to start downloading the mix, and enjoy…
1. The Durutti Column – Tomorrow [Factory Benelux]
2. DJ Sprinkles – Reverse Rotation [Mule Musiq]
3. Aphex Twin – Petiatil Cx Htdui [Warp]
4. Flying Lotus – Tea Leaf Dancers [Warp]
5. Lawrence – Jill [Dial]
6. Steve Spacek – The Hills [Sound in Colour]
7. Christian Naujoks – Off The Rose [Dial]
8. Harmonic 313 – Köln [Warp]
9. Will Oldham – Antagonism [Drag City]
10. D’Angelo – Africa [EMI]
11. Duke Ellington – Blues in Blueprint [Philips]
12. Anton Webern – Symphonie, Op.21: II. Variationen. Sehr ruhig.
13. Christian Naujoks – Bloom [Dial]
CHRISTIAN NAUJOKS Q&A
Tell us about the podcast you’ve recorded for FACT…
“The music on this tape has a strong relationship to my own work. even if i discovered most of it only after having finished my album. I had never heard about The Durutti Column for example until Pete [Kersten, AKA Lawrence] told me about a radio show he did in New York together with a guy called Scott. When Pete played my piece ‘Light Over The Ranges’, Scott was like “Wow, that’s so much about Durutti Column”. I immediately fell in love with ‘Tomorrow’; I feel a strong connection to it. The mix is also about ideas I have for the future. Steve Spacek is a big influence at the moment – R&B in general, actually. But Ellington and Webern have already been so important for me in the past, of course.”
Tell us a bit about your background in music/art – how you arrived at this point.
“Well, I studied visual arts but concentrated strongly on music and the relationship between the arts – especially between film and music. I’m neither a trained pianist nor a studied composer. Most of my knowledge in music I gained from my father’s record collection and the public libraries in Hamburg.”
How did you first hook up with Lawrence/Dial and come to release your album on the label?
“I love the way Pete DJs. I handed over some early productions of my marimba music to Pete and he included it in a set at Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. This made me very happy and motivated me to continue my work, but I was still very shy about my music. Years later I invited him to my place to show what I had been working on so far. He seemed to like it and after a while he asked me how I would think about the idea of releasing it on Dial. I still think it was a very good idea.”
Your debut album has a very stark, minimalist aesthetic. Is this something you were deliberately going for?
“Well, I think it combines several aesthetics of which minimalism would be one, and it’s obvious that there is an approach of formalisation and reduction in my music. But for me the album – especially now after having completed it – feels also a lot like contemporary folk music in a way. What might be irritating about this, is the fact that the record is mainly instrumental. it seems to me that today instrumental music happens either in bourgeois concert halls or as dance music in clubs. I enjoy both, but sometimes I miss the quotidian version of it – instrumental music without any elitist approach, which is connected to daily life but having no other function than to be listened to.”
It seems also to have the qualities of a film score. Are their any particular film scores/composers that you admire?
“I adore Angelo Badalamenti and also I like it when David Lynch uses Penderecki as a sound effect in his films.”
You’re based in Hamburg, right? What’s the music/art scene like there? How do you feel the city impacts on your music and your attitudes to life?
“The scene is very concentrated. I would say you have a large amount of high quality placed in a comparatively small area. I have the feeling that my life as a musician here is happening completely within walking distance: When I play records at Pudel club – I walk there. When I buy records at Smallville – I walk there. When I want to visit DJ Koze in his studio – I … just have to open the window and I can hear him.”
Do you have any 12″ releases or any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
“There will be a 12” on Dial later this year and I will begin working on my next album. I’ll probably produce it in Vienna – I found a very nice studio there.”
Christian Naujoks’ Untitled is out now on CD/LP via Dial Records.