Late Reflections



Louis Pelingen

October 10, 2023

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Composed in Cologne Cathedral, piano pieces settle into a celestial reverb carrying effortlessly from one to the next

The architectural majesty of churches is a thing to behold, acting as sanctuaries for people to further embrace their faith in God, the words of preachers echoing within, attempting to remind us of the goodness of humanity. It’s essentially the purpose of churches, after all, to be a place for us to communicate with God, to worship and believe. A purpose that’s also reflected heavily in the intricate construction of a building that promotes sonic spectacle, it is a natural echo chamber that allows the religious music to sound like voices of angels cheering and celebrating the presence of God.

Grandbrothers and their work in the magnificent, vaulting Cologne Cathedral represents a new exploration for the duo. Throughout their discography, Erol Sarp’s piano notes have flowed alongside Lukas Vogel’s experimental touches. The new setting and atmosphere of the church allows this style to take on a more vast, overwhelming power. While it initially started as a location for them to compose pieces for a concert in that specific cathedral, this eventually went further as Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel began to create Late Reflections, an album that embraces the stunning reverb that one can hear in their other compositions.

Like the striking emotions that are often felt within a church throughout the centuries it has stood, Grandbrothers were able to expand their experimentation towards more melancholic atmospheres, intricately detailed with all the light and deeper shadows of ambience. The specks of light glimmer forth within cuts like Golden Dust with its fleeting layers of keynotes amid the shambling glitch that sweeps through it, Infinite with the consistent flurry of keys that reach a higher field of sound as sparkling synths, fuzzy percussion and looming drone accompany, and the same goes for the staccato piano chords on North/South that float around spare rounds of synths, glitch and percussion. 

The glimmering light also informs the contemplative darkness within the record, especially through Yokohama Rascals where the slower sorrow is represented through a dour droning soundscape, Adrift and its rumbling atmosphere that crumbles and overwhelms the piano lines and the marching drums, and Bloom through its pulsating beat and the steady piano chords that felt like it’s wandering around the shuffling ticks of glitchy synths and sound effects.

When the light and the dark do align in Grandbrothers’ favour, that’s where the transcendence happens. The continuous rising sweep of On Solid Ground through the arpeggiated pianos is fleshed out from the heavier sets of drone and glitch; a similar aura that also comes through Vertigo, carrying the contemplative mood of the piano lines, and ultimately resolves on Boy in the Storm, where the sharper playing on the keys amid the shaky soundscapes around it ends the album on a balancing point. A point where the light and the darkness eventually coalesce.

A communion of deep-seated reflections and healing consolations, Late Reflections is a record where the natural reverberation of the cathedral allows Grandbrothers to deliver a fully-realised version of their piano-based electronica. It also enables their experimentation in creating an atmospheric soundscape that feels vast and harmonious. Its creation may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Grandbrothers, but their compositions will now forever thrive in that cathedral space, elevating their beauty in its divinity.