Listen to the whole album on the streming service of your preference! Not all are listed here, just search for Marius Leicht Weltmaschine if you are on Tidal or elsewhere! Feel free to follow my artist profile, safe the album and add the songs to your playlists if you like.
This is a snippet of me tracking the Mellotron Flutes for Der Prophet and Der Schwarm on Nils Frahms instrument. It’s the rare opportunity to hear this unique instrument on solo with all its querks like Tape squeaks and the mechanical noise of the springs pulling the tapes back to start position.
After all the recordings – except the pianos – were finished, I had to prepare each an every track for the mixing stage. As I reported earlier, this should be done in Nils Frahms Studio, Saal 3 in Funkhaus, Berlin.
Given the kind of music I make and like, it will be no surprise that I instantly fell in love with the sound aesthetics of Nils Frahm, when I first encountered with his music a few years ago. I was about to buy a Roland Juno 60 Synthesizer and drooled over every video I could find on Youtube with that thing being played. Of course I soon ended up watching a Nils Frahm concert, since he is all Juno 60 and has 3 of them on stage. I never heard of him before, but quickly was amazed…
I already told you that I came to visit his studio earlier in the year by invitation of his engineer Antonio Pulli to check out the pianos for the final recordings of Die Reise der Örmimi, Nachtblau and the piano parts in Satori. When I saw the studio and the control room and Antonio told me, he would also mix the album with me, I decided to book the studio for 3 days instead of just one and dedicate the 2 extra days for doing just that and mix the whole album in an analog aproach.
Funkhaus Berlin is a broadcast studio complex built in the 1950s with all the knowledge of the best acoustics people in the GDR (and the political driving force of excelling the existing Western Germany broadcast studios).
Saal 3 was used for recording chamber music in those days. Now it is filled with the finest keyboard instruments – lots of pianos, a nice reed organ and Glockenspiel satelliting Frahm’s live setup. And not to forget the largest upright piano in the world, the Klavins m450i.
I had the honor to play it and it was again so inspiring. You have to climb up to the keyboard about 4 meters on a ladder and sit down on a little bench looking down to the floor through a flat grid under your feet, hoping that the construction is strong enough…
But when you start to play, you forget about that quickly. The keyboard feels surprisingly soft, more like a small Wurlitzer Piano. But the notes you produce with it – especially the deep ones, resonate with the room underneath you in a powerful way. I wish I could have just gone on playing and record a few pieces. But the first recording belongs to Mr. Frahm, of course…
Another instrument that had my attention was of course the Mellotron in Nils’ live setup. Remember, I was looking for a way to record the Mellotron parts I wrote using the software emulation with a real tape instrument. I had Antonio ask Nils if he would allow me to use his Mellotron and if he also had the famous flute-tapes I intended to use on Der Prophet and Der Schwarm. He agreed and changed the tape frame from his custom recordings to the stock one containing the flutes and I could make the recordings. Check out the video in the lounge where I record the actual takes that are on the album and hear this beautiful and odd instrument solo’ed!
The mixing process was as analog as it gets nowadays. Of course, we were using a computer to play out all the tracks I recorded. But these were grouped and sent to the faders of a beautiful custom mixing desk they build mostly of vintage Neumann components and countless old Siemens Equalizers. The summing of this mixing desk was then recorded to a Telefunken M15 master tape machine, modified to 1/2 inch tape instead of the usual 1/4 inch for a fatter sound.
The studio had a lot of great outboard and effects as well: Countless old Siemens Equalizers that sounded amazing, all the legendary Urei compressors and Pultec EQs, my favorite EMT reverb units, including a real hardware Plate reverb, more than a dozend tape echo units and a lot of old GDR broadcast equipement, including the “Stasi-Kompressor”, as they call it – a compressor unit they pulled out of a former office from the eastern German secret service.
We made good use of this equipement and each mix was like a performance in itself with sometimes both of us moving faders in real time while the song played to bring in tape echo effects or the sound of the reverb chamber I mentioned earlier.
Time was running fast an the ambition to mix the whole abum in just two days was high, but we made it just in time. When I left the studio on the evening of the third day there, I had a big smile on my face, knowing that the bulk of the creative process was finished and it turned out awesome.
I bribed the cashier at the gas station nearby who just wanted to close the station to give me a little extra time to power my notebook and transfer the mixes to my phone so I could listen to them on my drive home.
Of course the album would still need to be mastered and its cover artwork would need to be finished.
For the mastering, I turned to Tim Oliver of Realworld Studios in England – the famous studio complex built by Peter Gabriel in the late 1980s. My band Polis went to this studio in 2019 to have our third album mixed and mastered and I was very satisfied with Olivers touch on this record. He liked the music very much and instantly agreed to work on my solo album as well. He completely understood the sound aesthetics and the outcome was just great.
The cover artwork for Weltmaschine was created by my dear friend Eusepia Lehe. I told her the story of Weltmaschine and we had the idea of the cover showing a portal in outer space that roughly resembled of the CERN large hadron collider innards. I also wanted a light showing behind the portal and the circuit drawing of a Moog oscillator to shine through the walls of the tunnel portal.
She did an amazing job in putting all of this together into a great piece of art. Just like the music, this was created in the most analog way – by using real paint brushes and screen print techniques.
While the regular album covers are printed digitally, there is also a very limited Art edition, where the cover is actually painted and screen printed by her, so each piece is a unique piece of art.