The Director's Cut: Christian Löffler - Lys

Christian Löffler explains the back story and goes into how he made his new album 'Lys.'
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Christian Löffler

In these terrible times, we need music to try and provide some comfort. Since most are stuck at home (or at least should be), good quality listening music comes to the forefront. German DJ and producer Christian Löffler released his new album Lys today, which fits exactly the type of music we need now. It is soft, ambient and emotional, adding another necessary ambient album to your quarantine. For the album, he made us a blend of a Director’s Cut and How It Was Made, explaining how each song came together and showcasing the gear he used in his studio. In times like these, innovation is always appreciated.

Listen to the album now and get your copy here as you learn more about the project.

1. Farr

This was originally an ambient piece with only the pad sound you can hear in the beginning. I was working on a soundtrack for a documentary and came up with this idea. The pad was made on Nord Lead 2x. After a few months I came back to this sketch and finalized it as a full track.

Clavia Nord Lead 2x

Nord Lead 2x

2. Versailles (Hold)

I was experimenting with a new soft synth, Pigments, and found the bell sound you can hear playing within the main melody. I tried out a few lyrics from my sketchbook and recorded the vocal with the internal microphone on my MacBook just to see if it worked. I layered, cut, and re-arranged some of them and liked how it sounded. After saving this, I wanted to record the vocals properly but found myself struggling to catch the spirit from the first version, so I decided to go with the original.

3. Weiß

I originally planned on using the vocals used in “Noah” on this track. The song was meant to be arranged in a more classical way, but ended up sounding ravier. You can still hear a few elements from the original vocals. I was putting a lot of effort into the drums, jamming on the Elektron Rytm for a while and coming up with the slightly off and widely spread claps. I think I ended up compressing six claps triggered at once.

Elektron Rytm

Elektron Rytm

4. The End (ft. Josephine Philip)

This track was meant to be recorded with my own vocals, but I really wanted to work with Josephine again. We previously worked together on “Running” from my 3rd album, Graal (Prologue). We bounced around many ideas back and forth to crank out as many versions as possible on Ableton, even some that used my vocals as instruments. She suggested a couple of her own ideas but the one we ultimately ended up going with stuck out to me almost immediately. The first verse she recorded left me in awe. The main melody you hear at the beginning is a piano loop with a big reverb that echoes a synth pad.

5. Bergen

This was originally meant to be an ambient piece that played pad sounds on loop. It is comprised of 7 or 8 layers of pads coming from my Nord Lead. I improvised with a few more sounds and melodies – also from the Nord Lead – over the ambient pads.

6. Noah

"Noah" actually started as an instrumental that I played at my shows. People really loved it and the crowd response, so I decided to release the finished version. A friend of mine had the idea of incorporating the vocals from an early version of “Weiß” into this song. I gave it a try and it worked quite well. The main arp melody is played on a Prophet 6.

Prophet 6 Synth

Prophet 6

7. Lys (ft. Menke)

I met Menke in Stockholm while working in my friend’s studio. We were talking about her music and I loved her approach on working with her voice, layering and editing. Shortly after, I remixed her song “Nattskärran” and was sure that I wanted to have her on my album in some capacity. “Lys” was also originally meant to be an instrumental track and I emailed her the piano line. The lyrics are reflective of the main topic of the album: light -- how it signifies the passing of time throughout the day; the passing of seasons throughout the year; the constant change of everything that surrounds us.

8. Sun

From time to time, I love to produce a fast and simple techno record just for fun. At first, this was only beats and percussion but I ended up adding a few melodic elements when I realized it would tie into the album better. It sticks out not only musically, but also tempo-wise at 137 BPM. The sub-bass was created with my Minimoog, just like almost every track on Lys.

9. Ballet (feat. finn)

I’ve been a huge fan of finn’s music for over ten years and when I met him by chance, we were both curious about what it would be like to work on something together. The main melody was created with a harp sound made from Ableton’s Tension synth. I recorded the extra drive with a bowed guitar. I added an automated stereo pan to make it move harmoniously with the rhythm.

Minimoog Moog Synth

Minimoog

10. Roth (ft. Mohna)

The especially dominant sounding riff heard in the second verse was made on the Nord Lead 2x. It sounds like an arp but it was actually played and recorded in one take, ebbing and flowing from time to time. It gives the track a special dynamic almost accidentally. Aside from Mohna’s vocals, you can also hear a sampled and reworked recording of my own voice. I made edits with a Space Echo.

Roland Space Echo

Roland Space Echo

11. Map

I actually started recording this track while working on one of my previous albums, Mare. I ended up tabling it and then rediscovered it while going through my ideas folder for Lys. You’ll find me vocalizing here but with no concrete lyrics. I intended for my voice to double as an instrument. There are six versions of it sitting on my computer! I rearranged it many times and ended up liking this version the most. The main melody was derived from simply jamming and playing around on the piano. I also recorded a simple guitar loop that was edited with a pitch-shift delay to slightly push everything forward.

12. Für Immer

This was originally an ambient piece I used as a concert opener for a while. Prior to making it onto the album, it was named “The End Is Near” but I renamed it when Josephine wrote the lyrics for my other track, “The End.” The main synth was created with my Prophet 6 and was edited heavily with my favorite pedal effects, such as blueSky.  

Bluesky pedal Reverb

Bluesky

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