Elephant Island


LP version. Following a break after their 2009 Touch 12", German musicians Julius Steinhoff and Abdeslam Hammouda revive their musical adventures, though this time they're leaving all electricity untouched. For this acoustic project the duo has chosen the alias Tonight Will Be Fine, which was the title of their 2008 debut 12" as Steinhoff & Hammouda (both Touch and Tonight Will Be Fine were released by Smallville Records, the internationally acclaimed house-and-beyond label and record store that Steinhoff co-runs). The pair stayed in touch during their break from musical collaboration, and eventually met again to record music that had nothing in common with their prior work. Steinhoff re-activated his self-taught guitar abilities and entered his friend Lawrence's studio in the back of the Smallville record store to capture some steel drums and vibraphone sounds. Hammouda brought more instruments like a banjo, a violin, and tablas, and Steinhoff dusted off his old drum kit. Growing up, Hammouda's musical background covered a wide range of influences before he got into producing hip hop and electronic music, and Steinhoff played in bands until he discovered house and techno in his late teenage years; the transition to instrumental music was smooth for both of them. Once the duo began to feel that their musical communication was elevating into something more profound than a session thing, they added guitars, claves, an accordion, a piano, and more. Their charming singing covers almost the whole album with a characteristic sense of deep, winking melancholy. At some point they began showing these songs to some friends, who encouraged the duo to move forward with the project. Somehow one of the tracks landed in Toshiya Kawasaki's mailbox. He instantly fell in love with it and asked the duo if they would like to do an album for Mule Musiq. The result is 13 songs full of sweeping acoustic guitars, airy rhythms, piano melodies, gloomy accordion emotions, touching voices, and a bunch of other exotic instruments, all created without the help of electronics. Elephant Island is an incredibly inspirational place where impressionistic lyrics dance gently with kinetic acoustic music borne out of the simple fun of jamming. The mélange of a structured song base and free improvisation injects all songs with a loose feeling. Steinhoff and Hammouda carve out their own musical utopia, full of hope and musical freedom powered by an unabashed instrumental playfulness.