As might be expected from his complex yet harmonious recordings, Miro Denck thinks a lot about duality. Two halves of a whole, competing instincts, echo, counterpoint, the overlap in the Venn diagram–nothing exists on its own, in a vacuum. The mystic meaning even doubly announces itself twice in the name of his solo project name, thanks to the two-dotted umlaut: TWÏNS. “I work with myself as my own partner, my twin,” the Berlin-based artist says. “But I also think of us all as being cosmic twins, of being the same of any other human, of the same universal matter.” That insistence on interconnectivity powers Denck’s latest, The Human Jazz, an intimate record that binds joy and pain closely together.
The album’s late ‘70s experimentalism springs in part from the close community Denck has found in Neukölln, a district in Berlin that others tapped into the era might recognize as having given the title to a piece on David Bowie’s Heroes. The neighborhood brims with vintage stores and cafes, jazz clubs and dive bars, a vibrant art and music scene spread throughout. “There’s a strong DIY spirit here, people making exciting art between those streets full of garbage, in a way maybe similar to what I imagine New York City in the ‘70s must have felt like,” Denck laughs.
The wide array of sounds pulsing through The Human Jazz reflects the diversity of Neukölln as well as Denck’s extensive library. Tracks like “Some Kind of Space” wobble and groove, vintage ‘60s Philicorda organ vamping over the top a la Zamrock, and other East African styles. The sleigh bells and droning keys of “Anatman,” meanwhile, are pulled from the vibes of another African music explorer: “Alice Coltrane is a goddess to me,” Denck says. “I spend so much of my time listening to spiritual, modal, and free jazz.” And as the track ends on a bit of warped tape, a smoky purple portal rips open, pulling a new world into focus.
Glide is premiering the ravishing track “Peace” off The Human Jazz, which kicks off with a mellow winsome opener that sounds like a lost song nugget from experimental rockers CAN, yet instead of springing into a hypnotic beat frenzy, it retains its flourishing “song first mission.”