Hans Anselm – A Permanent Place In Between Poles of Existence


HANS ANSELM’s new album A Permanent Place In Between Poles of Existence is released by BERTHOLD records on February 23rd. The line-up: Gabriel Rosenbach on trumpet, Anna Wohlfarth on piano, Benedikt Schnitzler on guitar, Arne Imig on bass and Leon Griese on drums.


The imaginary Hans Anselm, sometimes ghost, sometimes human, is still inspirational for Wohlfarth and Schnitzler who wrote the music. “I haven’t seen Anselm much lately,” says the pianist. “He went into winter sleep mode, but he’s fine and he sometimes visits me here in Stockholm.”


The album title was suggested by another of Wohlfarth’s acquaintances. “The album reminded her of a state in-between. She felt that we were floating around in an intermediate sphere. That resonated a lot with me,” recalls the pianist. Indeed the music luxuriates in ambient sounds, both warm and dark, suspended in a state of, “just being, without dramatic climax.” Though the results can feel round and relaxing, that was not Wohlfarth’s original intention. “The last album was more modern jazz and this one is more electronic pop,” she says. “We’re interested in repetition, but without it becoming mechanical, introducing tiny, strange, organic changes.”


This is particularly evident in the tracks Room and Endless in which the ambient repetitious patterns subtly move into beautiful melodies. In Shadows the single, heterophonic melody came first, played without

beat or rhythm. “The complexity arises from overlapping and layering the melody,” explains Wohlfarth.

Spine by contrast has strong, controlled electronic sounds. “I always imagine playing this tune in a techno club at night, that would be my dream. It’s strict, all the elements are written out,” says the pianist and adds that the title came from Schnitzler, who wrote the piece and was suffering at the time from back pain!

Sculptures is the only track on the album with a singer. “We’ve been interested in featuring vocals, but decided to try it out at first on one track. Max Grüner was my suggestion because I’d listened a lot to Collector, one of his former bands from Leipzig. There’s something about his voice that I like a lot. Some voices just speak to you. His way of singing is not pretentious, I always enjoy singers who aren’t super trained. The result is less technical, more felt.”

Immanence is the band’s “just for fun” piece. “We’d recorded so much with overdubs and noise sounds that we enjoyed a lot, so we thought: why don’t we build a whole song like that?” The fluid music is highly detailed.

Rivers, the closing song on the album was first played by the band nine years ago. “It’s the only song we’re still not annoyed by,” admits Wohlfarth, “It’s more like a normal modern jazz song, but we deconstructed it a little bit, it gets slower and out of tune. It’s just an image of the past, who we were a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then and people change and leave.”


Though from Berlin, the pianist has chosen to live in Stockholm, her home for the last three years. “I’ve always had a longing for Scandinavia,” she explains. “I don’t really know why, perhaps it’s in my genes. I’d never been here, but I knew I had to move here.” She admits to have been tired of Berlin, not wanting to live in the same city all her life and getting stuck. The calm, natural beauty of Sweden, it’s mountains, woods and healthy air have been inspirational and have certainly influenced her music. Everyone else still lives in Berlin but it works out, with Wohlfarth returning to Germany for recordings and concerts. She regards live performance as crucial for the bands development and enjoys audience feedback. “People find the music very cinematic, visual and honest, which I like. They can close their eyes and think of nature or film sequences. The music gives a lot of room for dreaming away and personal interpretation.”


Wohlfarth talks of being part of a growing lifetime project, with more albums planned, without at the moment foreseeing which. In the meantime, A Permanent Place In Between Poles of Existence is to be enjoyed for its subtleties, warm-hearted atmosphere and originality.



Ian Bild – December 2023