BERNWARD KOCH
Touched By Love
(Real Music)

 

One of the legendary artists on the California-based Real Music label, Bernward Koch is back in 2016 with a compilation album called Touched by Love. One of the Euro legends of the New Age music scene, Bernward has over the years, released seven albums on Real Music and his eighth, Touched by Love compiles some of his favorite tracks with the kicker being that the CD features two newly recorded tracks called “Memories of A Cherry Tree” and “Hope.” Thanks to the expertise of Real Music’s mastering, the music effortlessly flows from one track to the next, regardless of what year the music is from. Speaking with mwe3.com about his 2016 Real Music CD, Bernward says, "Touched by Love is my very first “Best of” record and I was actually surprised how good that workswith so many tracks we might produce another “Best of” album on another topic. First I thought it would not be easy to put “Ever Returning” from the 1989 Flowing album together with the two new tracks from 2016 on one record, but it works fantastically!" A gifted multi-instrumentalists and composer, Bernward plays a number of instruments on the CD including piano, synths and electronic keys, guitar, bass guitar and all manner of percussion while receiving some support from his brother Christoph Koch (12 string guitar, drums) and his wife Christiane Böhm (flute). Perfect for meditation or sonic relaxation, Touched by Love is a splendid introduction to the timeless New Age instrumental sound of Bernward Koch. www.RealMusic.com





mwe3.com presents an interview with
Bernward Koch
The “Touched by Love” interview



mwe3
: What’s new in Germany? Summer is over and Fall 2016 is here again. Are you looking forward to the season changes? What have you been up to recently and what’s new musically?

Bernward Koch: Well, we have the same problems as other countries in the world, although on different topics, but all in all it’s okay. I hope we’ll have a few sunny days in the fall because the colors of nature are splendid at that time, always very good for music inspirations. At the moment I’m supporting the new album Touched by Love,” and I have several new tunes for a new album in 2017.

mwe3: Tell us about Touched by Love. How did you come up with the idea and what are some of the connecting aspects to the tracks? When discussing your instrumental music, I think we’re also talking about “universal love,” which encompasses love of the Earth or mankind.

Bernward Koch: Up to now I released seven albums on the Real Music label, 11 records altogether without the new Touched by Love CD, and I thought it would be a good idea to put a few tracks from all seven of the US records. I tested it here and the effect was really great, a great new view of the virtue of the music. Then I discussed it with Terence Yallop and he was keen about that. Of course you can hear the album as a love album, as a wedding album or what you want, but the track “Touched by Love” (from Walking through Clouds ) is the hook, and this track is very popular, too. I’m sure our world might not exist without love, even though it is sometimes very difficult.

mwe3: The back of the Touched by Love cover art mentions that the CD was compiled from over one hundred tracks that you have recorded for Real Music. How challenging was choosing the final track selections and tell us about the two unreleased tracks, “Memories of A Cherry Tree” and the track “Hope.” The liner notes say that those two were recently recorded. Is this the case, or do you have a number of unreleased tracks to draw from?

Bernward Koch: The music sequence must fit, the circle has to close in a very suitable and pleasant way. Actually I always compose and collect new ideas and tunes. So the two unreleased tracks, “Memories of A Cherry Tree” and “Hope” are brand-new, composed and produced early this year with a real background from my childhood in the 1960s. There stood a big and wonderful cherry tree nearby. It was amazing to climb that impressive tree, the tree was a quiet friend, and the cherries tasted wonderful. And hope is always indispensable in so many difficult situations in our world.

mwe3: What was involved in compiling the tracks taken from various albums you recorded? Was there some EQ work done to make the sound levels and volume the same so there is a seamless sound between them all? After going back and choosing from the seven albums, were you amazed at your progress in the studio and what are the years that span the Touched by Love collection? How do you feel your sound has changed over time or do you find there were more similarities in your recording and compositional techniques over the course of the releases?

Bernward Koch: Touched by Love is my very first “Best of” record and I was actually surprised how good that works, with so many tracks we might produce another “Best of” album on another topic. First I thought it would not be easy to put “Ever Returning” from the 1989 Flowing album together with the two new tracks from 2016 on one record, but it works fantastically!

The CD mastering was done by Ken Lee in Oakland, California and I think he did a good job. Of course today we have many more possibilities in the studio, for example, using the abundance of VST plugins in a computer… but it all fits together. And my own rule is, and will remain always to find a strong melody, a good song, telling stories with my own handwriting… that’s what is important for me.

mwe3: I often say that New Age music, such as your music, is really the classical music of the modern times. I don’t mean to discredit Bach or Mozart but why do you think classical music radio and press have been slow to acknowledge New Age music? I am interested in your opinions on the current state of New Age instrumental music and also how is the situation in Germany and in Europe regarding your brand of New Age instrumental music?

Bernward Koch: A long time ago in San Francisco, I bought a book about music and business that was called Running Your Rock Band, and one of the first lines was: “Think in quality and not only in your personal music taste.” I like that very much. “New Age” is a term originally from the 1980’s but I think the important thing is to produce really good music in quality in every respect. Maybe there are many cheap productions on the market in Germany and Europe for sure, and that’s not good for the reputation, not only in New Age, but in other styles, as well. Okay, I know the music industry needs terms for sure, but I guess most of the customers first buy the artist that they know and like his or her music, and later, the musical style if they enjoy it.

mwe3: How many different keyboards and other instruments are you playing on Touched by Love ? How has your sound progressed as far as what keyboards, both pianos and synths, you have featured over the course of the seven studio albums featured here? What else is capturing your attention as far as new gear and studio equipment goes?

Bernward Koch: Many, like the Yamaha DX7, Roland D50, alpha Juno, Mini Moog, Korg SG1D Piano are from the Flowing days in 1989, and I use those keyboards to this day. Other included analog keys like a few Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, Hohner Clavinet D6, different Yamaha digital pianos (today I use a CP4), Korg Trinity, Nord Electro4, up to a new Yamaha Reface DX. And there are many VST plugins within my sequencer Steinberg Cubase like Padshop, Retroloque and many more.

I still work with an old Lexicon PCM 70 reverb as well as a Lexicon PCM 91 and other studio gear. I will never sell them. And I use real instruments like different guitars: 12 string, bass guitar, glockenspiel, exotic and Sonor percussion are important. I like to produce an unicum, e.g. a flute that is not a flute, every player has their own sound and vibrato. But I need only a sound that fits the compositions, and I’m lucky to have a wife, Christiane, who is a classically trained flutist, especially for baroque and classical music, (but it sounds great in my music, too), and a brother who understands the special vibes in my music. All in all I mix the analog and modern digital productions together to reach an emotional and honestly timeless music.

mwe3: Now that you’ve had a chance to pick and choose from the best of your Real Music albums, do you have a favorite period or album that really stands out in your music or do you consider all your albums to be like your children, and you don’t choose favorites? You have some early albums that have not been released by Real Music right?

Bernward Koch: My releases are indeed a little like my children, I can’t really choose favorites. Every album has significant tracks, and although I know many people like Walking Through Clouds very much, which included the successful track “Touched by Love,” the last record, Remembering and Touched by Love is always “the best” you know.

My first two records, Flowing and Laguna de la Vera, were produced originally for the German Erdenklang label. Then I released Still Magic and Picante, both for BSC Music in Germany. Later there was another record for Erdenklang/DA-Music, Montagnola – dedicated to Hermann Hesse and recorded only on a grand piano. Now, and for many years I’ve released my music on the Real Music label.

mwe3: Now that Touched by Love is out, what are you planning for 2017? I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2016. As an artist, how important is it to have goals and plans for ideas on composing and recording as it relates to future releases?

Bernward Koch: Yes Robert, time flies! So we all have to produce something valuable in music, in art, in words… to cherish a little in the fast stream of time. I think I have enough new ideas for a new album in 2017. Over the last few years I’ve collected about 40 new concepts for the next record, but you know quality is more important than quantity, so I can choose only the best tunes and start working. I think for every serious artist, one of the important things is always to try to improve his or her work.



 

 
   
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