Exploring Ambient spaces with Addliss’ premiere album “Wonders”

Lauren Krieger

Addliss takes us through the art and process of producing his new album.

Addliss has been taking listeners on beautiful, relaxing journeys through sound on his popular FRISKY show Waves for many years. His ability to use music to transport, evident in his engrossing mixes, is now taken to even deeper levels as he brings you further into his musical creations with the premiere of “Wonders”.

As soon as I started listening to “Wonders” I was immediately absorbed; the space created is all encompassing, the vibe begs you to tune in and get lost in the sounds. Beautifully produced and mastered, each piece blends with precision, and each track connects seamlessly while still telling its own unique story. To me, this album provides the magical blend of retreating within, acknowledging the beauty within the darkness and the light, and using that experience to bring love and hope to the universe beyond. To you, the music may tell a different story. Go listen for yourself, close your eyes, and see where it takes you.

But first (or after!) read what Addliss has to say about the experience creating “Wonders”:

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You mention you produced most of the album in 2 weeks – was the idea of creating a complete album in your mind for a while, or did everything come to you suddenly?

I have had in mind the idea of creating an album for quite some time. In 2014 I produced the vocal track with Silvi and I wanted to add other tunes, really chilled stuff with nature field recordings in it. But I didn’t really cut it.

In late 2015 I pushed myself into producing the album finally and set the date in early February when less other stuff was due. You know, when you are the only person responsible for your work, then you have to discipline yourself. And I sat down 8-10 hours everyday and forced myself to work on it. Everyday I was composing, producing, searching or carving out sounds, arranging and finally mixing and mastering.

So, yes, it had been planned beforehand, but most of the work was done in the very 2 weeks, I didn’t use previous ideas and just finalized them.

What was your favorite part of the album creation process? What was the most challenging?

One of my most favorite part was quietly sitting down and experimenting with melodies on the piano. It’s a pleasure to take the time and not being in a rush, though I knew I wanted the album to be done in 2 weeks. When I had finished the first two days and I realized I had done more productive work than in the past two months, I was suddenly happy and there was a real work flow. I knew how to use my pads, my piano and the music just appeared.

There were two big challenges: As I said before, I had to push myself in taking the time. Getting up early everyday, not getting distracted, being disciplined. For most of the people it’s common, but they have working schedule from their company – I had to organize it myself.

Secondly there was a point about one and a half weeks in production, when I was nearly done. I knew I just had to produce 1 or 2 tracks, but after 10 days only sitting in the production room it was hard to motivate myself, even so close before the finishing line. I sat around half a day and didn’t work a minute, knowing I had to. But I finally did it, haha!

Do you think producing and mixing ambient and chillout offers unique challenges? How does it compare to the other genres you work with?

Having produced mostly club music, mixing and mastering this album was one of the most challenging thing. And it was disappointing in the beginning! I made my own masters and showed them to Ingo (Vogelmann), who luckily is a pretty honest person. He told me it was weak and I took it like a professional: I wanted to make it perfect!

In club music you compress a lot, you go for some loudness and try the tracks to be standing out. Ambient is so different: The music has to “breathe”, it has to be much quieter, but with more details audible. My first mastering was way too loud and so I made a complete new mixdown in 2 or 3 days, I think.

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Which instruments/synths did you use for the album, and how do you use these tools to create the atmosphere you desire?

Being not the big name like others, I didn’t have too much tools. But it helped me to focus, just to take my software synths and my e-piano. It’s good for ambient to have reduced tools, it easily get’s overloaded when you have too much possibilities and try to put in everything. Only in one track we used a special piano Ingo had programmed, everything else was no special high end sample library or expensive VSTi synth. But it was important to me to have “natural”, classic sounds like the piano mixed with the synths. Only with classical elements it would have quickly become a chamber orchestra album, only with synths it would have lacked the connection to the feelings. You can invoke more feeling with harmonies which are best presented by classical instruments.

On the other hand you have to use effects and reverbs or delays. Especially reverbs. They decide where your music stands and how “big” it is. If the reverb is too small, it is intimate, but the music soon sounds “flat”. If you make it too big, the music is too distant and might disconnect from the listener.

Is there a story you would like to tell with this album? What do you hope listeners come away feeling?

In the beginning I just thought about making music to relax and to reflect nature as my inspiration in the music. But being 2 or 3 days in the process I somehow knew it could add up to a story. For quite some time I have been interested in astrophysics, too, so I took creation of stars, the universe and other things into the picture in my mind. Take “Floating Quantum”: In the beginning the universe, from what we now understand, was too hot for atoms to be binding. All of the electrons, protons and other quantum particles were floating around space everywhere, without being bonded. That was one picture, I wanted to draw with music. Or “Live On” should be a motivating track after the very melancholic parts before; “Lost” for example. I wanted to say: Despite all disappointments in life, you have to move on. So there are different feelings represented in this album, since life is very diverse.

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“It is atmospheric and takes you away, but also brings you back safely.” – Addliss

“Wonders” is available right now on Bandcamp, where you can also get the exclusive bonus vocal track with Silvi. It will be available on other digital stores (iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, etc) on April 30th, and physical copies will be available with enough pledges on Pledge Music. Read more on Addliss.net

While you’re in the mood, tune into WAVES and enjoy:

Listen Now: Waves

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