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The Rucksack Song (Bundle)

by Alex Stolze

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AND THE TAROT CARD SHOWS A TOWER ON FIRE YOU TURN IT ROUND AND PEOPLE TUMBLE UP IT WASN’T SMALL MISTAKES OR CARELESSNESS THAT BURNED YOU DOWN IT WAS HATRED AND YOU STAND THERE HAUNTED AND BURNED OUT A PROPHECY FOR WORLDS WITHOUT A VISION I CAN’T SLEEP IN THE SHADOW OF YOUR SKELETON MUST BE BABYLON IN THESE NAZI TOWNS IN THESE SALTED FIELDS IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF MONGOL HORSES IN THE PAINTED SHADOW OF YOUR CATHEDRAL DOME IN THE ECHOES REACHING CHORUS IN THE BURNT OUT WRECKS OF HIGH RISES I CAN’T SLEEP IN THE SHADOW OF YOUR SKELETON AND THE TAROT CARD SHOWS TWIN SWORDS CROSSED YOU TURN IT ROUND AND FIGHTERS COULD BE LOVERS DOWN THE EMPTY STREETS DOWN THE BOULEVARD THEY ARE SHOUTING OUT COME AND BREAK US I WAS WALKING HOME THROUGH THE STREETS UNKNOWN WHEN A FIST STRUCK OUT OF THE SILENCE AND A VOICE CALLED YOURS IS TO WALK ALONE MUST BE BABYLON IN THESE NAZI TOWNS IN THESE SALTED FIELDS IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF MONGOL HORSES IN THE PAINTED SHADOW OF YOUR CATHEDRAL DOME IN THE ECHOES REACHING CHORUS IN THE BURNT OUT WRECKS OF HIGH RISES I CAN’T SLEEP IN THE SHADOW OF YOUR SKELETON

about

New single Rucksack Song sees Alex Stolze continue his eclectic musical exploration of the themes of solidarity and kinship in the face of adversity and division. A collaboration with Guinean vocalists Morlaye and King Ali, Rucksack Song’s multilingual lyrics tell the story of a man’s perilous migration from West Africa to Germany with “just a sack on his back”.

Alex Stolze’s reputation as an eclectic, collaborative artist is well-deserved; throughout his career he has combined his own unique style with artists ranging from the groups Bodi Bill and Dictaphone to his Solo Collective trio with Anne Müller and Sebastian Reynolds. This latest collaboration arose from a chance meeting at the Eastern border of Germany, where Alex’s Nonostar Records label and studio are based. The Guinean vocalists had joined Alex in a musical theatre project run by Nonostar’s sister organisation WORLD e.V., and thus became part of Nonostar’s unique border community.

Switching deftly from emotive melody to skilful rhythmic rap, and from German to their mother tongue Fula, Morlaye and King Ali’s lyrics are drawn directly from personal experience. “It’s about our journey, what we did and saw on the way here,” explains Morlaye. “I sing about saying goodbye to my parents, about travelling through Guinea and Mali and Algeria and through Libya to Italy, Italy to France, France to Germany. And how many people died on the way; in the sand or at sea.”

Reflecting the dangers and struggles of the journey, Alex Stolze’s arrangement has a plaintive, minor lilt, especially its yearning chorus - sung by Alex, in English. But there’s an undeniable optimism to the song, both musically and lyrically. “Wir sind hier zusammen (we are here together)”, sings King Ali at the song’s start, and the constant blending of voices and languages gives a sense of togetherness and community throughout. The underlying basis of pizzicato violin, glitchy drum beats and rich analogue synthesisers is consistent with Alex’s trademark blending of IDM and modern classical sound, while the interspersion of bright, sharp snare blasts and reverberating percussion hits show the influence of dub and two-step. The result is a high-tempo track that’s catchy and danceable as well as complex and deep.

The Rucksack Song follows on from Babylon and Sun in the Dark and continues the thematic journey of those singles. While Babylon was a dire warning about the consequences of intolerance and the need for community and Sun in the Dark a hymn to a new generation of activists helping migrants and refugees, Rucksack Song goes a step further by giving the migration story itself centre-stage. It is an astonishing musical journey carrying a much-needed message of hope and solidarity.

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released July 16, 2020

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Alex Stolze

Performing with his unique, custom-made five-string electro-acoustic violin, Alex Stolze is a pioneering figure in his field of modern classical/post-pop musical explorations.

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