Black Sea Dahu — I Am My Mother
On off-days, I would sit at the piano and play. As soon as I stopped hitting the keys, I would cry again! The only way I could hold back the tears was by playing and listening to the sounds slowly fading away and disappearing inside the body of the piano. – Janine
Janine Cathrein and her tight-knit band, a gang of musical talents, together known as Black Sea Dahu, return with a sophomore long player titled I Am My Mother. If you’ve ever been awestruck by the sheer power of a thunderstorm in full blossom and, for a moment, you forgot all about yourself; and it felt like you became the splintering lightning in front of you—that’s what it feels like to listen to these seven songs. Orchestral, tempestuous, and unpredictable, the way this music spills over any and all genre coloring lines evokes the lightness of touch and the freedom of Basquiat’s brush strokes.
In my world 1+1=2 doesn’t exist! It’s not as simple as that. Things don’t add up, and I try to explain this with my music. – Janine
The material found on this LP was lifted from loose ideas that were collected over the past couple of years, mainly on tour: quick notes made on a laptop or short memos recorded on a phone, usually at sound check. What sets this record apart from the band’s previous releases is its sweeping, orchestral, soundtrack-like sound and scope. This, according to Janine, was a clear and incessant vision that guided her while demoing the songs. The final session took 23 excruciating days and took place at a studio located in Biel, Switzerland. Everything was recorded in-house, including the string arrangements! Every single string instrument you hear was played by Janine and Simon. The magical ingredient, call it the seasoning, i.e. the thing that makes this music transcendental, is definitely the band’s chemistry. You can only play like this if you’ve been touring together incessantly and developed, through the thick and thin, that special brand of telepathy. The joy and the playfulness of the outfit is audible across the board; and you can also hear that a lot of what was recorded happened in the spur of the moment, through synchronicity or what one might call happy accidents.
The love that remains, in the end, is music! And I want nothing, but music! – Janine
On Affection, Janine sings: “I turned myself inside out (…) I laid my broken heart in your hands.” This is the key to the entire record, not only in regard to the level of honesty, and the vulnerability the speaker espouses, but also in regard to the fact that a lot of these songs are about more than they appear to be addressing on the surface. In this case, this song isn’t really about a romantic relationship, but rather the complicated and demanding contract between the songwriter and the listener. Glue, the first single from the record, is technically about Janine’s grandmother who lives with dementia, but is, in effect, talking about the ragged state of the world and how we are all complicit in it! Similarly, Human Kind, talks about our peculiar relationship to the planet and to other humans, as if it was just another messy modern-day relationship. The title cut, I Am My Mother, is a touching reassessment of self via the recognition of the nuances and idiosyncrasies of family. Regardless of how deep the record goes, and it goes hella deep! Or how dark it gets – and the lights get pretty dim in a few places – the music always sounds like a joyous affirmation of life. Like running and laughing or spinning around while staring up into the clouds or daydreaming about flying. The song Transience sums it up beautifully. Touring will remain extreme, the spotlight demanding, relationships will come and go; but music will forever be the shelter, the medicine, the solid ground and the wings that take you to magical places.
I Am My Mother is a record about empathy, acceptance, and the art of recognising the beauty in the never-ending dance between the ugly and the sublime. It’s about finding your roots, carving out your place in a world that remains forever in flux. It’s about agency and self-empowerment. It’s about all types of relationships: love, family, society… But! Fundamentally, it’s a passionate and open love letter to music!
|Black Sea Dahu
|Mouthwatering Records, Andreas Ryser (Switzerland)
Backseat, Sebastian (Germany)
Ephelide, Team (France)
|Mouthwatering Records, Andreas (World)
|Golden Ticket, Fab (Germany / Austria)
Cabin Artists, Kai Lehman (EU/UK (Except GSA)
Orange Peel Agency, Adrian (Switzerland)