Music by VICE

The Return of the Great Romantic: An Interview with Superpitcher

Also enjoy an exclusive premier of the Kompakt producer's latest track, "Pocket Love."

by Josh Baines
Mar 29 2017, 2:57pm

This post ran originally on THUMP UK.

For the best part of two decades now Aksel Schaufler has been living in his own world, periodically inviting us to glimpse inside, while showing just enough to leave us wanting more. The terrain he's made is as dark and deep as the woods Robert Frost stopped by one snowy evening, as misty as a Turner landscape, and as imbued with swooning as any 1950s melodrama you'd care to namedrop.

Over the course of two albums, 20 singles, and countless DJ sets, Schaufler's work as Superpitcher has seen him become a poster-boy for the lovelorn and bluntly elegiac clubber, a producer gifted with the ability to exert influence on emotion without ever sliding into rank, calculated manipulation. Tracks like "Tomorrow," "Even Angels," and "Mushroom" are soft-edged invocations of deep, genuine sadness—ice-melting meditations on the kind of loneliness one can only ever experience surrounded by hundreds of sweaty clubbers.

It isn't all hushed melancholy, though. Schaufler's more banging tendencies have been explored time and time again, with Kompakt's—the label he's most closely associated with—Speicher series of 12" releases being the perfect home for his experiments in schaffel and hard-nosed tech-house.

With his tracks featuring on seminal, genre-defining mixes like Immer, Friends, and Fabric 13, Schaufler found himself playing a central role in the development of the microhouse movement. That sound—a still incredibly pleasing blend of techno jitter, open-hearted emotion, and studied European cool—still reverberates today, with the likes of Giegling orbiting around sounds that wouldn't be out of place on a Trapez release from the early 00s. It was a genre he help to propagate, and returning to the records from that time—including 2004's luminous Here Comes Love LP, and the suitably downbeat and quietly devastating Today mix released the year after—remains a rich and worthy treat.

Last year's Kompakt-released So Far So Super compilation is, and we don't say this lightly, an essential purchase for anyone with a semblance of interest in emotionally-orientated electronic music, which unless you're one of those weird blokes who only listens to 220BPM breakcore, will hopefully be most of you. Hell, even the breakcore fan might get something out of "Heroin," "I Walk," or the camper than Christmas cover of Brian Eno's "Baby's On Fire."

Schaufler's also a keen collaborator, following up 2007's Save the World—a microhouse dream-team that saw him join forces with old friend Michael Mayer as, yep, SuperMayer—with a series of releases as Pachanga Boys, his weird and wonky project with Rebolledo. The pair are probably best known for their gloopily hallucinogenic "Time," a 15 minute comedown classic that we've sung the praises of at length here on THUMP.

After a period of relative solo inactivity, Schaufler made a return to record shops earlier this with the first instalment of The Golden Ravedays, a series of 12" singles for his own Hippie Dance label. Arriving in 12 parts over the course of the year the elongated (and eventual) album demonstrates Superpitcher in all his forms. So far we've been treated to lush Kompakt classicism ("Snow Blind"), stuttering sub-aquatic dub ("Let's Play Doctor"), Latin ambience ("What Do You Miss?") and end-of-the-night, end-of-the-mix jazzy fug ("Little Raver).

These are lengthy, luxurious tracks, all of which run over ten minutes, and one gets the sense that Schaufler is revelling in delaying the audience's gratification. Of course, releasing a record over a batch of singles might be a cunning marketing ploy, but when the music is this good, we'll happily overlook that.

This month sees the release of the third edition. Featuring the low-key and muffled art-collage of "1984," which sounds like it could soundtrack a recently unearthed Soviet film about the pioneering days of the space race, alongside the the 17 minutes of spectral blips, clicks, and whirrs that make up "Pocket Love," The Golden Ravedays 3 is another fantastic instalment in a series that has got us seriously excited about Superpitcher all over again. In fact, we were so excited that we've hooked up a premiere of "Pocket Love," which you can stream below, alongside an interview with Schaufler himself.

THUMP: Can you tell us a little about why you've decided to sequester the new record into a series of 12" releases?
Superpitcher: When I made The Golden Ravedays, the sound took its own course into the night and beyond. It took me a month to create the full body of music. I could not bring myself to cut any of it to fit to the traditional formats available to producers, plus I really liked all 24 pieces. I took the decision to use almost all of it, but because of the longer than usual length of the tracks, I had to come up with a new presentation idea—hence the 12 releases over a one-year period.

Is the separation between them exciting for you as an artist? Is it a means of slowing down the production line?
Actually the whole production process was finalised before the first release. However, what I do like is that the letting go of this album means it is taking a gentler course than the usual abrupt release of a single album. I am grateful for the positive feedback so far and there is something playful about releasing the albums bit by bit. I feel it is necessary to give each selection its space, and hopefully the listeners will also spend time with each release before moving on to indulging their ears with the next.

Will you be encouraging us as listeners to go back to the beginning once the whole series has been released?
Of course! And then on to the end and back again! The whole idea of this album is that it is a sound trip, and trip with the sound one should.

Tell us a little about what its like to work with the Hippie Dance crew.
The Hippie Dance crew? Crewl, very crewl.

Finally, is there any chance of a SuperMayer reunion?
We'll have to consult our superheroes first.

The Golden Ravedays 3 is out on March 31st on Hippie Dance.

Josh Baines is on Twitter