When Brandt Brauer Frick burst onto the Berlin scene in 2009, reimagining propulsive techno by using acoustic instruments, the world of DJs performing with orchestras and pianists headlining festivals was light years away. Inspired by both the city’s classical history and its dank dancefloors, the trio’s bricolage beats owed as much to minimal masters Steve Reich and Philip Glass as they did the minimal techno of Ricardo Villalobos and the Perlon label. Their debut album You Make Me Real blended the highbrow music of concert halls with the euphoric abandon of club music and in doing so helped to pioneer the contemporary classical renaissance in pop music.
The three friends, Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick, had no idea then that the intense style of music they made as a result of living and working on top of each other would take off in the way it has now, with artists like Nils Frahm headlining the Royal Albert Hall in London and Jon Hopkins being nominated prestigious awards like the Mercury Music Prize. “We couldn’t have imagined that the interest in classical instruments and especially piano would become so big,” says Frick. “I mean, we were dreaming of releasing on some cool underground label, so to see so many minimalistic piano artists doing well now, it’s exciting.”
Siblings Dominic and Fionnuala Kennedy grew up in Harlesden in North West London, where their parents had moved from the west coast of Ireland before they were born. However, they both spent a great deal of time back in their ancestral homeland growing up, taking in the countryside and absorbing its parallels to their bustling metropolis upbringing – something that’s undoubtedly seeped into their music.
‘uh’ is one of the most common sounds heard in the English language. An imitative that holds no linguistic meaning, it’s nevertheless a sound recognised by everyone; it could be a hesitation, an exclamation of distrust, a grunt of effort. For Dominic and Fionnuala it’s this ambiguity of the term that draws them to it.