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The Director's Cut: Session Victim - Needledrop

The German pair explain how their new album on Night Time Stories came together.
Session Victim

Session Victim pretending not to be lost

German pair of Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling are Session Victim and have released their fourth LP Needledrop today on Night Time Stories, the sister label to LateNightTales. NTS & LNT is known for enlisting ambient compilations and pushing artists into new directions, incorporating soul, jazz, funk and indie electronica into their albums. Session Victim has done just that with Needledrop.

The LP feels organic and complex, as they bring together live instruments, drums, guitars, percussion, vocals and more, into a record that bridges various genre gaps. It is built to focus on a singular groove, but expands the mind with jazz, electronica and house music to give it that extra kick.

However, enough of me waxing poetic about the record, we got Reiling & Freer to explain the LP in a new Director’s Cut feature. They go through, track-by-track, to explain the meaning behind each song and how they were put together.

Stream the album as you follow along and get your copy here.

01. Bad Weather Mates

We arranged this one in the way of a classic, simple song, which we don't do so often: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, outro. We were thinking that it would be great to have someone singing on top of it, but after our friend Linnart recorded those subtle guitar lines, we decided to leave it just as it is.

02. The Pain

“The Pain” was one of the last pieces that came together, we wrote it at Hauke's place in Berlin. Right when we started, we felt that this one had a bit of a different vibe to a lot of the other songs, a little more serious and somewhat urgent. During the whole song process, we focused on not losing that bit, as it felt like this was exactly what the record as a whole was missing.

03. Made Me Fly

When we sat down and made a list with singers that we would like to work with, we only could agree on 4 or 5 - and, luckily for us, Beth was one of them. Right from when we first wrote to each other, we could tell that there was a real understanding about music and how to approach this.

We sent her all the tracks we had so she could pick whatever she wanted - and the one she went for was the one we had in mind all along without telling her. Beth is an amazing person to work with, very attentive and open. We are extremely happy with the result and hope to get another chance to work together in the future.

04. Jazzbeat 7

This is the oldest piece of music on the album. It came together very quickly and we had it in an almost finished state for a while, always thinking that we want a certain kind of rapper on it. When we revisited it and decided to have it in the LP, we imagined how good it would be if people would put it on at home and work on their flow and pen game with it. Hopefully someone will!

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05. No Sky, Blue Sound

We started this one in Amsterdam, at Detroit Swindle's studio. They invited us to jam together but both got sick on the last day and just handed us the keys. So, this is us, feeling out the DS gear by ourselves in their windowless (therefore the title) sound lab.

06. Waller And Pierce

This is an ode to our former “second home” in San Francisco, the apartment where our good friend Lily Ackerman used to live and where we spent a lot of time over the last years. It’s right around the corner from Groove Merchant record store, Rookie Ricardo’s. Vinyl Dreams and Amoeba are also close by - as well as our favorite Pinball place, Freegoldwatch. The peaceful vibe and relaxed pace pretty much hits our vibe whenever we spent time there.

07. Needledrop

The title track of the album - and actually the jam during which the whole idea of the record emerged. We made this one while we were housesitting our friends place in Earlwood, Sydney in early 2019. After a few days of just cooking pasta and watching old Wimbledon tennis matches on YouTube, we started to get bored, found a pair of old speakers in the basement and hooked them up to our live gear. “Needledrop” is what came out of that.

08. Isle Of Taste

Musically, this is one of the slightly more complex tunes on the album. It was recorded at our old studio in Hamburg, and our friend and frequent collaborator Carsten "Erobique" Meyer, who used to be our studio neighbor, came over one evening and played the enchanting melody that appears halfway through the song.

09. Cold Chills

When we worked on the album, we had this loose idea of making a real slow dance tune and actually did that with "Cold Chills." Most of the elements were recorded at Room G in San Francisco, where we already wrote parts of our last two albums and our friend Eo did some Linndrum programming on this.

10. Still High

Also written in San Francisco, “Still High” is one of these very simple, straight forward tracks, that live of one basic idea. It's fairly short and does not develop much throughout the arrangement, and that's how we felt it had to be done. We imagine this is a good one for slowly driving your car on a warm summer day.

11. Glimmer

The last tune of the record and also the last one that we finished. Although we sometimes use vocoders, we rarely do so in the classical way of playing a voice with a synthesizer. Well, on this one we did. The lyrics, if you wanna call it that, are from the backside of an old Amiga 500 computer game box that somehow survived all these years on one of Hauke's studio shelves.

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