It began in an old house on the countryside near Bremen, Germany. Nadja Rüdebusch and Daniel Gädicke take retreat from Hamburg to the countryside of Lower Saxony to find the peace and quiet needed for creating new songs. Although one does not usually associate the sound of Binoculers with the countryside, it is understandable that this kind of music emerges from silence.
And from there “Sun Sounds” is born. It is the fourth album by Binoculers and the second since its predecessor “Adapted To Both Shade And Sun” (2015) to include Daniel Gädicke as a permanent member, making the once solo project of Nadja Rüdebusch a duo. Ever since the switch between a solo work and a collaborating duo, the change has become much more apparent on “Sun Sounds”. The arrangements have become larger; the songs more compact, more direct; and the general feeling more open. The added Indie-Pop structures do not make Binoculers a traditional band – the music itself is not rooted in tradition – rather always in motion, flexible, fragmentary – an identity in flux which now more than ever seeks brightness, beauty, and common ground.
England’s Psychedelia of the 60s; contemporary American Dreampop; the intimacy and depth of bands such as The Notwist or Sparklehorse – musical extremities between which Binoculers has travelled since its inception. Yet never has the music been so bright, so tangible, as on this extraordinary album. You will find yourself wandering through soundscapes finding things you never knew you lost.
Back in Germany: After their respite on the countryside, Nadja and Daniel return to the city. For the first recordings, they lock themselves inside the Music Conservatory of Hamburg where they find themselves running through the rooms filled with musical instruments like kids in a candy store. A grand piano gives rise to the song, “Quiet Sea”. An antique synthesizer called the Ondes Martenot illuminates the hypnotic drone of “Parallels”. Elsewhere, the piano at Nadja’s parents’ house is sampled and tonally estranged; birdsongs and music boxes are pitched low and modulated for playback. Exactly how free, playful, and wonderfully curious all of that is can be heard on songs such as the four title songs, “Sun Sounds I-IV”, which immerse the album into the fantastical rays of a psychedelic sun.
“We like the glimmering, overexposed soundscapes which came up out of nowhere”, says Daniel. “We looked for something to associate them with in our songs and explored their hinterlands …there was a lot to discover.” Both Nadja and Daniel create music outside of Binoculers for film and documentaries – probably a good demonstration of the connection between hearing and seeing and the great influence they have on one another.
The sun on “Sun Sounds” is not just warm and life-giving, but also a cypher for something dark and menacing. Many of the lyrics open a void and become the shadow, the constant companion; adding a deeper, secondary plane to the music. In many aspects, Nadja and Daniel gravitate toward the dystopias of sci-fi authors such as Ray Bradbury or Jewgenij Samjatin; looking for shelter in an increasingly inhospitable world. On “Same Sun” two people run in the opposite direction of the Earth’s rotation in order to remain beneath the sun. “My / We” depicts the attempt to slip between two different bitrates and embark on a new and self-determined path.
Free yourself from the oppression of the system! Out into the open – into the light, into the light!