Ceeys – Concrete Fields (2017)
A Truly Special Experience
“CONCRETE FIELDS”, the new album from Ceeys, was released on Feb 24th 2017. Ceeys, who we introduced in an in-depth portrait not long ago, is the joint project of the Selke brothers, who were both introduced to classical music at a young age. The album and photography project “CONCRETE FIELDS” (Betonfelder) is a personal examination of growing up in the dreary landscape of Europe’s largest prefab (Plattenbau) residential estate Marzahn-Hellersdorf.
Such concrete housing developments were widespread in the former GDR, and could be found in almost all of the larger cities. Plattenbau estates were constructed on the outskirts of the cities, their monotony and anonymity accepted as economic considerations took precedent over the social and cultural needs of the residents. Some remain intact today, modernised and renovated, while others have become abandoned concrete ruins where nature slowly reclaims what was once taken from her. But if you really listen, you can still softly hear the laughter of the children who once played in the playgrounds of these Plattenbau estates.
The music from Ceeys is an acoustic journey back to worry-free childhoods in these concrete fields, this cold and meaningless landscape that nevertheless offered a feeling of warmth, safety and innocence. And Ceeys celebrates these acoustics at a very high level. With the piano and cello they create an emotional and harmonious sound that captures both the grayness and the colours of that time, a sound that brings us closer to a feeling of the life that once was. The inclusion of electronic nuances from GDR music equipment gives the Selke brothers’ musical arrangements and expression exactly that which makes them so extraordinary, and not just in neo-classical circles.
A Piece of History in Experimental Modern Classical Music
Ceeys understands perfectly–and that is no exaggeration–how to captivate the listener with their instruments, and, with heart and feeling, to raise classical music to a new Renaissance that reaches beyond time. You close your eyes and are taken back to your own childhood; for those who grew up in these concrete fields, the music may lead them to certain memories–their first kiss or the sadness of their daily march to work or school. Ceeys allows the listener to discover for themselves what feelings the music brings forth.
Calm, intimate, fragile, filled with emotion and empathy – these words perfectly describe Ceeys’ modern classical sounds in songs like “Based I + II” and “Lumen”. The piano slowly builds a mood that gets immediately under your skin. With the interplay of the cello, the Selke brothers create a mixed arrangement of music and empathy that is very rarely achieved by composers in the genre.
“Without Shelter” particularly is a piece that will stay with you for a long time. Then there’s the contrast of “Rüber” with its high level of electronic finesse. With the incorporated string instruments, the song builds a deeply engaging melancholy and will give you goose bumps. A piece that is definitely at the very forefront of experimental modern classic music.
But “CONCRETE FIELDS” is not just an album or photography project. It is much more than that. It is also a piece of self-reflection from our two protagonists, and a piece of history in modern classical music. With their album, Ceeys has shown what makes neo-classical music so unique, and how much heart and soul can go into making music that will stay with you forever. Especially live and in the acoustic spaces within churches where the pair like to perform, the music is like from another world and a truly special experience. Thank you Sebastian and Daniel!
CONCRETE FIELDS was released on 24 February 2017 on the classic music label 1631 Recordings.
Original german review: