German Konstantin Gropper, alias Get Well Soon, has found Amen, his sixth album, a grace to touch, once unusual, optimism. If not, redemption.
“ This is a pandemic album, no doubt. This is not the first or the last to show up. In 2018 I released The Terrible , which is consistent with its title. There, I don’t want to repeat and even without a fully rational explanation, I commit myself to making songs that I don’t want to look at the past or the future, just soak in here. With a form of optimism, straight eyes.” After shutting down the planet in early 2020, multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Gropper immersed himself in his studio in the basement of his Mannheim accommodation, then worked in a holiday home, surrounded by Rhineland vineyards- Palatinate, south of Cologne. “ About ten days in a residence that was too big for me to be alone. I was afraid of the blank page, of loneliness, of being alone, of being less attainable. But most of the songs were born there. With a sense of complete freedom, and a few glasses of local wine (to smile ), leaving room for relaxation and spontaneity. However, all my albums are always from me, alone, in front of computers and keyboards.”
Twelve remaining titles were formed Amen, less an incandescent prayer than a confession of the natural turmoil of feelings. Between ballads very well orchestrated and produced -her- and moments of dancing to the limit of a 2.1 disco, visceral tempted. Twelve years after a physical meeting in Mannheim with a previously reserved Konstantin, the almost quadra “zoomed” out of Switzerland on an April afternoon. What has changed the most for him in a decade? “ I had a son in 2011 and then, after writing for the destructive film Wenders –Shooting in Palermo , released in 2008-, I cover a lot for series, TV movies, features. Until doing all of this half and more of my professional activities. Especially during a pandemic. Besides, today (April 21, 2022) ,it’s the first time I’ve played live in over two years. Here in Switzerland.” Despite the usual Zoom delay-these annoying sounds and image cuts-we feel that the young man with the inter-war hairstyle is surfing more with verbal comfort than in 2010. Not just a question of language, but of peaceful acquisition of a specific universe. Let’s try the perch on romanticism in German. This quasi -exotic projection of an eternal Germania with vast dark forests and intricate amorous feelings – hello Ludwig II of Bavaria – doesn’t seem to be on Konstantin’s mind right now.
Philo of Heidelberg
“ The darkness is gone from this album, in general, Gropper continued. There is a part of meditation, in hindsight, for example in the piece Singing while frustrated (sic). It is partially inspired by the ideas of Max Weber (1). On the need to be inseparable from the technology world. And that, before television or the Internet. Must go to meeting, not be separated from others. One of the problems of the pandemic is making contact difficult, if not impossible.. ”
Konstantin was born in a small town in Bavaria and then moved over time: many remained in Berlin -“ I don’t like, there are so many apprentice artists”( to smile) – before Mannheim, where he lived for over a decade. And in these interlacing led by love stories, the same old story, Gropper goes through the present of Heidelberg, the oldest German university, founded in 1386. Despite unsuccessful studies – he chooses music-, his philosophy course leaves traces. First in the conversation in which he quotes a famous old man from Heidelberg, the German-American sociologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm (1900-1980), one of the first theoreticians of the need for an unconditional basic income. Konstantin did this without bragging or intellectualizing the blasts of acne. Rather like the sentimental confection of a Germanic scene where his love of aria -for opera in its entirety- and classical music also fell into it.
Cellist who practiced between the ages of 5 and 18, this agnostic grew up in this environment that provided the seeds that still grew to the music of Get Well Soon. The harmonic valleys, the quality of the instrument, the ambition of the orchestras. Ignoring the Anglo-Saxon countries, his albums took the lead. First home to Germany, 83 million inhabitants and second to the music market in Europe, and then reasonably to neighboring Austria and Switzerland. With the real success of the French market, always attracted to the possible cloudy romantic projections, from Fassbinder to Healing Soon. Except that here, despite or thanks to the disaster of the past two years, the young man who was once in black melancholic attraction, changes the deadly spleen of life’s songs. Welcome to alchemy.
(1) German intellectual, considered one of the founders of sociology (1864-1920).
In concert on 03/05 at Atelier 210, Brussels, www.atelier210.be
The first title immediately signs the spirit as a whole: A Song For Myself. Through its relationship to the supposed Dionysian state of the writer-singer, one should dominate his art and his production. Like the color of the arrangements: labong, fed by powerful brass and choir. Sometimes- Singing while saying– the music is no longer too far removed from the opera and its reprehensible dramas. Except that Konstantin first zooms in on his own feelings, with a good distance where, at times, the humor is even at its peak. Has the retained ability to introduce such effective melodies ( My Home Is My Heart, I Love People, Our Best Hope, Accept Cookies) that they had to bring some of the songs on the radio. In theory.
Distributed by the Virgin. 8