THE SOUL OF THINGS
Clemens Christian Poetzsch is a German composer based in Leipzig. His music sits between classical, jazz and electronic; since 2016 he has released four solo albums, and The Soul of Things, released in 2021, is his latest. Described by the musician as an ode to the ordinary, the album is the result of the situation of the pandemic; in isolation, the artist, through a cleaning process, rethought his relationship with the material; the memories, the nostalgia, the ideas that objects carry above their materialistic function — in the composers words, he animates the inanimate. The artwork was not chosen randomly; the artist Jolita Vaitkute focuses her work on the readaptation of everyday objects too, and some of Poetzsch’s own objects and inspirations can be found on the cover. In The Soul of Things, Poetzsch enters a process of inter-medium translations, and the result is quite fascinating.
The composer has accompanied every physical release of The Soul of Things with a descriptive booklet; while it is an invaluable tool in understanding Poetzsch’s approach, I recommend discovering the album blindly and finding the sensations on their own, prior to the comprehension of the musician’s.
Of course, the nature of the concept of the album calls for very descriptive music, at times with similar approaches, when the material suits it — such as “Studenglas” and “Diamant” for instance. The album is introduced with a sort of prelude “Seiden” which showcases different atmospheres and worlds, through the texture of silk and the medium of strings and harp. While Poetzsch’s main instrument is the piano, many of the pieces are written with the addition of harp and strings; this allows the composer to find the nuances of the sight; in the case of “Porzellan” for instance, the harp provides the airiness that lacks in the piano and allows for both the durability and the fragility of the porcelain to be translated to hearing senses. At times, it is a real musical conversation and interplay, a sort of modern counterpoint such as in “Ziffernblaetter”. It is really with an excellent notion and awarness of musical flavours that the composer achieves such precise and evocative results; “Ebenholz” uses all the musical colours that Poetzsch has at his disposal and “Kashmir” is tinted with flavours, both impressionistic and romantic. Some pieces appeal to the mind, the memories, such as “Kleines Silber”, and others to the pure physical qualities of objects, such as “Kaleidoscop”, which evidently evokes the repetition of the object through pulses. Poetzsch approaches his music at times quite simply, with “Indigo Feder” for instance, which translates the motion of a fountain pain through the keyboard, or more elaborately, such as with “Appart”, the only electronic piece, with strings and harp, and is an attempt at translating the sound of an old radio transistor embedded with nostalgia. “Soliaer” closes The Soul of Things in an almost nostalgic, reflective manner, and let’s not leave “Piano Skit” unnoticed; a brilliant idea borrowed from the world of hiphop, and allow midway through the album for a momentary pause, a breather between the textures.
If Poetzsch’s spring cleaning out has not resulted in a huge success in his own house, it has nevertheless allowed the composer to create The Soul of Things; a piece of work which combines beauty and intellect, the perfect artistic recipe. It is both emotional music, the carrying of memories, and an intellectual process of translation of the senses; the sight, the touch, into sound. By bringing life and memories back to these inanimate objects, Poetzsch creates a conversation with old friends, brings out their physical and emotional personality, as well as his own individuality as a musician, which has been developing more and more over his releases. The German composer courageously takes risks and comes out of his own comfort zone, announcing more artist development and future successes.