Gravity was the first album Ben recorded under his own name, merging programmed piano pieces with live instruments, combining the controllable technical world and the often unpredictable aspects of live improvisation.
From Only In The Dark to the two movements of Nocturne, it’s a serious, solemn listen. And yet, with pieces like To The Hills and Eos, Gravity is an exploration of heights, cliffs and vertigoes. With piano lines and choir-like drones, this record suits its title in all its meanings, as the magnetic force takes us deeper towards the core. Marking a new beginning, this debut reveals a touching, and more melodic side to Ben’s body of work, which he previously only hinted at as HECQ.
Friend and fellow Erased Tapes artist Nils Frahm mixed and mastered the album. Ben is not a master pianist like his dear friend, but his sound collages are so meticulously designed that after hearing the result an impressed Nils declared: “from now on, if anyone asks — this is a real piano”.
His intricate, humanised programming — enhanced by drummer Achim Färber, additional synthesisers played by Nils, and a considerate selection of echoes, delays and compressors — has been used to create a hybrid sound that intends to deceive, question and challenge existing listening habits. Utilising the contrast between reduction and decoration, Gravity as well as its successor Spells can be seen as a quest to find out how much or how little composition is required to constitute a song, why the ear can and should be deceived about the authenticity of instruments, what significance these instruments have within this process, and why the personal perception of balance and sound exclude ultimate truths. Linking the two albums are the four movements of Nocturne, an ever-developing conversation that on occasion flirts with the grandeur of compressed rock drums.
The album artwork was created by long time Erased Tapes collaborator Torsten Posselt at FELD Berlin, with the cover illustrated by Prokop Bartonicek.