KlangKlang ([kla:ŋkla:ŋ]) is an abstract concept that plays with the German word “Klang”, the equivalent to the English word for sound. From a technical perspective there is no acoustic signal without reflection, echo or reverberation. A single “Klang” and the echo it produces unite together to form the concept “KlangKlang”
An extensive part of the music of our label is dedicated to exploring the boundaries between sound, noise, and music. At the same time, we want to provoke the audience /listener with impulses or stimuli with hope of starting a thought process – a “reverberation”.
The recordings released on this label are predominately music that was created for a live-event/stage experience and have already been received and reflected upon by a wide audience.
In the future, KlangKlang would also like to travel along the opposite path and release music that has not been conceived for a specific theater piece and should serve not only as a source of inspiration, but also be available for use by artists and producers of various types of theater.
The music of KlangKlang is exclusively available to be purchased as a digital download. The label was founded by the German composer Christof Littmann, a composer and producer of over 30 theater pieces including an opera and 15 dance theater pieces. In addition to a musical cross-section from over 15-years of theater music e.g. for COMMEDIA FUTURA Theater in der Eisfabrik, the label KlangKlang will also release almost the complete catalog of original music which have resulted from the collaboration with the choreograph Felix Landerer.
What does sound mean to you?
I find it interesting that the boundaries between music, sound, and noise are becoming more and more blurred. One phenomena of societies is that we are have gotten to the point where we are often surrounded by music several hours a day – this music serves merely as background noise and it is almost impossible to recognize the actual music as such. On one hand, many of our everyday noises contain essential musical parameters: the rhythm of windshield wipers or of an escalator, the shrill tone of a dentist’s drill, or the steady hum of a refrigerator. On the other hand, the technical possibilities of sound manipulation are virtually limitless and these new possibilities of sound synthesis and music production have an immediate influence on the ways we compose and are begging themselves to be used.
Why did you start a digital label?
Years ago I was approached by members of the audience after a performance and asked if it was possible to buy a couple of the tracks and I was really surprised. Back then it wasn’t really feasible from a technical standpoint. Today with the advent of music downloads, it is possible to release and offer the music of a particular piece for sale right after the premiere.
What is it about dance that fascinates you?
I have been going to the opera or to the theater since I was a small child. I wasn’t really confronted with dance until I was given my first contract to compose music for one. I guess you could call it a “late love”. Of course I have seen a couple of individual dance pieces, but like so many things in life, it was the intensive analysis of the material which awoke not only my fascination but also my understanding. You have to have been to a ballet practice to be able to have an idea of the incredible feats that dancers accomplish on a daily basis; the diligence, the devotion, the discipline—it is simply incredible!
Describe your artist approach:
I grew up with extremely diverse types of music and was taught to appreciate all of them in their own right. You know, maybe it is even more than that: The way that I look at music is that regardless of its there are some things at the foundation of great music that all styles share; it is their differences that I find stimulating, but I’m also fascinated by what they have in common.
Where can this be found in your music?
Definitely in my love and deepest respect for different styles of music. This year alone, I have written stage music for 5 different projects and there is an album of the American singer/songwriter Gabriel Gordon in the works that has a song on it that I co-wrote. I also produced and did some co-writes on the first album of the German electro-band Goldkint. Add to this the fact that dance and theater music often have extremely different approaches and demands on the final sound results and you can definitely say that I am lucky things are never boring.
It is very important to me that music has a multi-dimensional aspect to it. When ever possible, I want my music to have an immediate and direct layer that inspires the listener to reflect and listen again to what they have heard. Music that is meant to be sad can also have heroic or happy moments in the same way that music which is meant to be artificial should also have elements to it that allows the theater goer to leave the theater whistling a tune.
I also find delight and pleasure in natural everyday things. I am fascinated by how flowers can grow and thrive on my balcony or by how direct and open children can be. The opposite can be said of our everyday interactions as adults. These I find to be more superficial and dishonest and they have a tendency to be forced and artificial.
Ironically, artists, those people who dress up and play a role on purpose, who have to dance unnaturally or perform rehearsed music or text according to fixed sequence, expose a second layer to themselves and let others take a look at their innermost being. This is what continues to fascinate me time and again about (performative) art and it is what I also try to create and support in my music.
In addition to all the other things you have going on you also compose music for up to 6 stage pieces a year. This amounts to several hours of music. Where do you get your inspiration?
As a musician there came a time when I more or less stopped practicing scales and rudiments etc. Instead I have tried to develop techniques that help me to be continually creative. To my surprise I found out that the more creative I am, the larger my pool of ideas is. Everything that surrounds us can be used as a source of inspiration - you just need to know how to tap into it. The topic of creativity is very interesting to me and it has taken an ever more central role in the seminars that I hold.