The name can be confused as the one of a solo musician, but in reality, Ludwig Wittbrodt is the duo born from the meeting of Emily Wittbrodt (cello) and Edis Ludwig (laptop, drums). Their stylistically iridescent sound could be somehow related to the different paths they followed before finding a meeting point, in spite, they both have been active in the free improv scene in the German Rhine-Ruhr region. The seal of this crossing is a self-named album (their debut), out on the romantic format of a cassette in a plastic case with a cardboard insert printed on devices of the Museum of Photocopy in Mlheim and dubbed in high quality by Ann Ott label. Let’s know them and their artefact better…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi there! How are you?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) Fine, according to the circumstances.
(Emily) Same for me.
Chain D.L.K.: I guess someone could have thought that Ludwig Wittbrodt is one person, due to the fact that Ludwig can be confused as a name instead of a surname. Why did you decide on such a name for your collaborative project? If this hypothetical Mr.Ludwig would be real, how would you describe him?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) We wanted to add a slash symbol between our two names, but in the digital domain that would signify a directory change, so I actually had problems naming our files “Ludwig/Wittbrodt” because my computer would think that means “/Users/Desktop/Ludwig/Wittbrodt – Track 1.wav” so it didn’t quite work out. That being said, I guess Mr. Ludwig would be kind of an awkward guy, nice, but also a bit exhausting to hang out with.
Chain D.L.K.: Just to joke a bit, I remember that Ludwig was the signature of two Italian serial killers, who killed almost 30 people between the late 70ies and first 80ies in Nederland, Germany, and Northern Italy. I hope your Ludwig has pacific purposes… or maybe not?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) I think she’d try to be pacifist but would still have blood on her hands.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you meet? …and how did the idea of this bicephalous project pop out?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) We met through a common friend and musician, Peter Rubel, he had the idea for a Band called “Mude” (tired) and reached out to us both. Shortly after “Mude” was formed Peter got somewhat famous & much demanded with another Band called “International Music”, that left “Mude” unoccupied for some time. A bit later another common friend, Verena Hahn, asked us to perform in a Hotel Room near Cologne main station. For that gig we formed an impromtu trio with Jan Godde, that was the basis for Ludwig Wittbrodt. Also at that time we wrote what would become the basics for our first track “Luciano Glissando”. Jan moved to Zurich shortly after and Emily and me decided that we wanted to expand on the ideas of this trio.
(Emily) … and somehow it was very easy for us to get gigs as a Duo back then. So we rehearsed, played concerts and developed our pieces.
Chain D.L.K.: The linear notes of your self-named debut underlines a certain antithesis between you… in particular for your formation and your past collaborations. Do you consider such differentiation as a limit or not?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) No not at all, I think our different experiences and backgrounds (which are maybe a bit overstressed in the liner notes) have had a enriching effect on our music making.
Chain D.L.K.: Well, can you tell us some key moments about your previous artistic experiences and their weight in the birth of Ludwig Wittbrodt?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) That is maybe the hardest question of all asked so far, I’ve been making music for 10 years and am interested in music for even longer, it’s kind of hard to single out what were key moments. I guess one thing I can definitely say was important for me was that my first few musical collaborators where all people who hated rehearsing. So I had to learn to improvise, otherwise I couldn’t have played with them. Ludwig Wittbrodt is kind of the first attempt, for me at least, to create music that is in core composition based but that also roots in improvisation.
(Emily) Also for me it’s hard to point out a key moment- maybe the point where I decided to only make improvised or improvisation-based music comes closest to it. When I was younger and still active in the classical music scene most of the people around me were almost addicted to control everything in music, pitch, timing, timbre etc… Playing improvised music fascinated me because you have to balance out the exact moment between controlling and letting go.And this dualism you can definitely find in the music of Ludwig Wittbrodt.
Chain D.L.K.: Let’s focus on your recording as Ludwig Wittbrodt… was any track a one-take recording or did you need some study before recording or assembling them?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) Luciano Glissando was maybe the track that needed the least amount of work, because it was already in existence when we formed the duo, the others did need some work.
Chain D.L.K.: One of the weirdest moments I heard on Ludwig Wittbrodt was “Luciano Glissando”, the first half of which was one of the parts where I can’t really hear your musical presence… any word about this track?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) I think its a real disco track, like lasers cutting through dry ice fog.
Chain D.L.K.: What did you have in mind while recording “all Deserts Filled with Water”? Why did you append it to the Prelude?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) Hmmm…. I don’t know!
(Emily) Me, playing the cello in a snake costume. I think we simply liked it better both together in one track.
Chain D.L.K.: Would you say that the cover artwork by Felix Moser could be a possible graphical score for the aural content of this release?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) Yeah, why not?
Chain D.L.K.: Which instructions did you provide to Elisa Kuhnl for the vocals of “Nunc stans”? Any comment in this awesome composition?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) It was a ping-pong game basically, each of us three would make a sound and pass it over to the next person and throughout the piece we try to slowly get in sync and sort of fill in the gaps. The piece is also kind of special since it’s the only one which was heavily overdubbed and basically cannot be performed live by us in its current state.
(Emily) I remember we had the image of three people standing in far distance from each other, slowly walking towards a common meeting point, getting closer and closer.
Chain D.L.K.: What were you going to render in listeners mind by “Dschungel der Gefuhle”?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) It is a nod to our pop music loving listeners.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you manage to do any performance during covid emergency in Germany or somewhere else? How did this weird situation change improv German scene, where physical interaction has a key role, in your viewpoint?
Ludwig Wittbrodt: (Edis) Not together, each of us had some gigs during the so-called “soft lockdown” in the summer, which were open air and also some streaming stuff. Yeah, it’s weird for improv music, the live experience is really needed with this kind of music. Also, you can’t look at sales of recordings and be happy, in contrast to maybe more studio recording oriented music, I.e. Hip-Hop or so. So it’s sometimes a bit hard fighting off the feeling that improv music is kind of irrelevant, which I don’t think it is.
(Emily) I think by now everything feels like a big ice age in German improv scene. The real changes will be visible when the pandemic is over, I guess.
Visit Ludwig Wittbrodt on the web: