Stephan Thelen (featuring Markus Reuter) – Fractal Guitar

MJR096 | released January 18, 2019 | Guitarist and composer Stephan Thelen releases his debut album. It’s an instrumental, post-progressive album co-produced by Markus Reuter (Stick Men), featuring guest appearances of many leading electric guitarists including David Torn, Markus Reuter, Henry Kaiser, Jon Durant, Bill Walker, Barry Cleveland and Matt Tate, as well as drummers/percussionists Benno Kaiser, Manuel Pasquinelli and Andi Pupato.

Quality European pressing, signed by Markus Reuter.

Selling this one as a special signed item only. Not competing with the label or the artist in terms of sales, you can get it cheaper from them. My playing on this record is a labour of love and here’s your chance to say thank you. I’ll give you an autograph and personal dedication in return, if you want. This album is very special, as you will hear, and a beautiful item for any collection.

Thank you!

Stephan Thelen is American born Swiss who composes, produces and performs music at the fringes of rock, jazz, experimental and classical music. His current main project as a leader, guitarist and composer is the minimal groove band Sonar, who have quickly gained international reputation for creating a unique blend of music that fuses a rigorous minimal concept with the power of a rock band and the sensitivity of a jazz combo.

Former projects include playing guitar and electronics with Swiss ensembles Radio Osaka, License To Chill, Broken Symmetry and Root Down, producing albums (for example Andy Brugger’s No No Diet Bang and Peter Schärli Sextet), as well as composing music for many theater and film productions. The celebrated Kronos Quartet recently recorded and frequently performed Stephan’s string quartet Circular Lines, a piece commissioned by the Kronos Arts Association and Carnegie Hall for a visionary project called “Fifty for the Future”. The Mannheimer Schlagwerk, a percussion ensemble from Germany, also recently premiered his composition Parallel Motion.

Fractal Guitar features the atmospherically dense, polyrhythmic tapestry for which is Sonar is well known, but focuses much more on the sonic and ambient possibilities of the electric guitar. In the liner notes, Stephan Thelen writes :

“After a few years of playing without effects apart from reverb in Sonar, I felt the urge to compose and record some pieces in which effects were an integral part of the music. I especially wanted to use an effect I worked with before Sonar, which I call “Fractal Guitar” — a rhythmic delay with a very high feedback level that creates cascading delay patterns in odd time signatures such as 3/8, 5/8 or 7/8. The other desire I had was to work with and to have some serious fun with a few of the many great guitarists I’ve met over the years to create an album that features some of the more forward-looking possibilities of the most mysterious, compelling and eclectic of all instruments, the electric guitar.
The five tracks on this album grew out of a mind-boggling amount of
activity and crystallized out of myriad soundfiles, recorded across the
Western hemisphere during the last 3 years. Thanks to all my great friends who helped me pull it off, especially to Markus Reuter, who shared his exceptional talents and endless creativity with me on every step of the way. Thanks also to Grace, Devin and Anil Prasad for their generous hospitality, to Brandy Gale and Henry Kaiser for inspiration and to Leonardo “Moonjune” Pavkovic for inviting me into the illustrious Moonjune Club.”

– Stephan Thelen, Zürich, August 2018

Tracklisting and musicians:

David Torn: electric guitar, live looping
Markus Reuter: U8 touch guitar, soundscapes
Jon Durant: cloud guitar
Matt Tate: U8 touch guitar (bass)
Manuel Pasquinelli: drums
Stephan Thelen: fractal and tritone guitar

02 ROAD MOVIE (13:23)
Markus Reuter: U8 touch guitar, soundscapes
Bill Walker: electric guitar, live looping
Henry Kaiser: electric guitar
Matt Tate: U8 touch guitar (bass)
Manuel Pasquinelli: drums
Stephan Thelen: fractal and blue sky guitar, granular loops

Markus Reuter: U8 touch guitar, soundscapes
Barry Cleveland: guitar atmospheres
Matt Tate: U8 touch guitar (bass)
Andi Pupato: percussion
Benno Kaiser: drums
Stephan Thelen: fractal guitar, granular loops

04 RADIANT DAY (8:42)
Markus Reuter: U8 touch guitar, soundscapes
Barry Cleveland: guitar atmospheres, bowhammer
Matt Tate: U8 touch guitar (bass)
Manuel Pasquinelli: drums
Stephan Thelen: fractal and blue sky guitar

David Torn: electric guitar, live looping
Markus Reuter: U8 touch guitar, soundscapes
Matt Tate: U8 touch guitar (bass)
Benno Kaiser: drums
Stephan Thelen: fractal guitar, organ, samples

Produced by Markus Reuter & Stephan Thelen
Executive Producer: Leonardo Pavkovic for Moonjune Records
℗ © Stephan Thelen/Moonjune Music, 2019

All tracks written by Stephan Thelen except “Briefing for a Descent into Hell” by Stephan Thelen and David Torn (title taken from Doris Lessing’s book), “Radiant Day” by Stephan Thelen and Markus Reuter, and “Urban Nightscape” by Stephan Thelen, David Torn and Markus Reuter.

Recorded at various locations across Europe and North America between August 2015 and April 2018.

Recording engineer at Gadget Box, Santa Cruz, California, where Bill’s and Henry’s tracks were recorded on April 27, 2016: Patrick Brede.

Recording engineer at Powerplay, Maur, Switzerland, where David’s tracks were recorded on January 30, 2018: Alex Mularkey, assisted by Bernhard Wagner.

Recording engineer in Chicago, Illinois, where Matt’s tracks were recorded on March 30, 2018: Gabriel Lucas Gitin Riccio.

Drums recorded by Benno Kaiser at his rehearsal room in Aarau, Switzerland.

Post-production and mix by Benjamin Schäfer and Markus Reuter for Unsung Productions, Berlin, Germany, April/May 2018.

Mastered by Alexander Vatagin in Vienna, Austria, August 2018.

David Torn appears courtesy of ECM Records.