Alex Stolze, Ben Osborn, Anne Müller – Babylon (Spotify)

Alex Stolze, Ben Osborn, Anne Müller – Babylon

Alex Stolze, Ben Osborn, Anne Müller – Babylon (Spotify)

New single Babylon sees songwriter and producer Alex Stolze at his starkest, with a sparse arrangement led by a soaring vocal melody, pulsing piano chords and haunting deep cello tones. A collaboration with British lyricist and pianist Ben Osborn, Alex set Ben’s words to an original melody and arrangement. Approaching the song with a highly cooperative process, Alex asked Ben to play the piano part and added a cello line for his long term collaborator Anne Müller. In this way, Alex, explains, "the song is tribute to community."

“Ben's lyrics talk about what’s happening in Europe at the moment, and all over the world,” says Alex. “My favourite phrase is I was walking home through the streets unknown when a fist struck out of the silence, and a voice called ‘yours is to walk alone’. It’s an image our time, when nationalist and far right fear coincide with stock market crashes and it feels like we’ve gone back to 1929.”

Known for his blending of classical violin, electronica and alternative pop, here Alex put aside his violin and reduced the electronic elements of the track to a minimal layering of ambience. A complex, shifting harmonic structure shows the influence of classical and renaissance music alongside contemporary alternative music, resulting in a sense of symmetry: while the lyrics describe a contemporary Europe in need of rebirth, the music draws on a time of rebirth in Europe. In this way, Alex has crafted a protest song for our time that still manages to feel timeless.

Alex Stolze has generated a well-deserved reputation for his unique blending of different musical worlds, shifting seamlessly between stark modern classical works, fiercely intelligent electronica and off-kilter indie pop. Already widely acclaimed for his work with electronica acts Bodi Bill and Unmap, and the experimental avantgarde trio Dictaphone, his emergence both as a solo artist and as head of new label Nonostar Records has opened up a range of new musical possibilities.

Reviewed by Nagamag on May 7, 2020