Deutsche Grammophon presents the next Erik Satie reworks in its new series Fragments. Following on from TWO LANES, French 79 and Sascha Braemer, Berlin-based artist Monolink has created a pair of tracks based on Gnossienne No. 1 for solo piano. “Nostalgia” and “Score” will be released as a double e-single on 29 October.
Monolink (aka Steffen Linck) started out writing songs on the guitar, then began to build electronic soundscapes around his lyrics. Now renowned for his unique blend of vocals, acoustic guitar and synths, and for singing and playing live as part of his DJ sets, he is bringing out his latest release on classical behemoth Deutsche Grammophon.
Monolink was intrigued by Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1, composed in 1890 with no barlines or time signatures, its repetitive, modal writing conjuring a timeless antiquity. Rather than being daunted by its fame, he decided to approach the project instinctively. “I simply had to feel my way into the piece and play the music without consciously thinking,” he explains. “I wanted to retain and heighten the feeling and beautiful memories I associate with the song, rather than render it unfamiliar.”
The sense of reminiscence that runs through “Nostalgia” is echoed in a new video made by motion designer and illustrator Karim Dabbèche. Monochrome animations shift and spin to newly added beats, as synths and vinyl crackle add colour to Satie’s spare lines. More dance-like in feel, “Score” shows how a classic can inspire contrasting ideas from an inventive artist such as Monolink.
Fragments celebrates music past and present by inviting some of today’s most innovative electronic artists to rework the creations of earlier influential composers. With an initial focus on the work of the visionary Erik Satie, the series was launched in August. DG will issue twelve Satie reworks as e-singles over the next few months, with a full album release planned for May 2022.