Conrad Praetzel reaches back 20 years to create his latest album, Adventures Into Somethingness
Northern California multi-instrumentalist, composer, and sound designer, Conrad Praetzel releases Adventures Into Somethingness, an energetic yet serene album that ebbs and flows throughout the course of 40 minutes.
Produced by: Conrad Praetzel
Conrad Praetzel has been making music for the better part of 30 years. Over those three decades, he has split his attention between two distinct musical projects: Clothesline Revival and Conrad Praetzel. Within the space of Clothesline Revival, Praetzel enjoys exploring the interaction of soundscapes and traditional roots music instrumentation. Whereas on his self-titled releases, Praetzel’s sonic explorations tend to follow a more electronic and ambient nature.
After releasing music for the past 20 years as Clothesline Revival, Praetzel explains that it was time for a change, “After recording five albums as Clothesline Revival, this album was an outlet to try something different without any roots instrumentation at all. I just wanted to keep the ambient and electronica elements that have always been a common thread in my recordings.”
Released under his birth name, Adventures Into Somethingness spans nine instrumental tracks. The project, the fifth album under his name, is his first since Receive in 1999. Musically, the album is an energetic yet serene album that ebbs and flows throughout the course of 40 minutes. Organic in nature, most of the tracks lack any absence of sound. There always seems to be some nuanced idea emanating from the speakers. Whether it is the sounds of processed guitars reverberating or synthesizers bellowing, Praetzel always seems to conjure up the right feeling sonically for any given moment. Expect slow and methodical passages that transform over time.
Thematically, Praetzel describes the concepts he worked through on the album:
“I wanted to explore the idea of developing compositions with simple organic structures that are slowly in motion to somewhere else and do that in a controlled but random way. To create evolving soundscapes by the process of elimination and addition, rhythms gradually shifting or no rhythms at all, mood swings, sounds slowly and completely disintegrating, taking sonic spaces to absurd sizes and back again.”
He also gives us a look into the specific explorations and techniques that he incorporated throughout the recording:
“I still relied a lot on guitar as a sound source but I didn’t want it to sound like a “guitar.” The guitar parts are heavily processed through guitar pedals, sampled and then re-performed with more processing often added later. When I listen to the new album I sometimes can’t remember which sounds originated on guitar and which didn’t.”
Oftentimes, electronica and ambient artists struggle to pull a set of tracks into one cohesive thought. But on Adventures Into Somethingness, Conrad’s approach allows him to succeed without hesitation. His explorations fit together like puzzle pieces finding their neighbor with ease to form the larger unit. At times, the album stretches into an otherworldly landscape well beyond the expected limitations that other traditional genres provide (on the surface).
When asked to elaborate on the meaning behind the title, Adventures Into Somethingness, Conrad sums up what he likes best about music and why he has made it his life’s work:
“What I enjoy most about listening to music is when it turns into an adventure. When you block out everything else and completely immerse yourself in and surrender to the experience. That’s where the title comes from, and I hope that others will listen to the album that way. I would also recommend listening to this loud to get the full impact and hear all the details.”
So go ahead and turn up the volume. Conrad would want you to.
Adventures Into Somethingness is available on all streaming services on June 24, 2022.
Standout Songs: Adventures in Somethingness, Blue Poppies, Rescued By The Nano Spirits, Absence of Nothing
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