Michael Schiefel: I Don't Belong: Release Information
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Release Date: 24.02.2000
TT Catalogue No: 4433
Michael Schiefel could have just kept going from where he started, so promising was his take off into professionalism. His solo album "Invisible Loop" (1997) amazed the music scene and had critics raving about his concerts. Although he hadn't been in the business very long, the young man was invited to such prestigious events as Jazz Across the Border, and toured successfully in Europe. Everything was "wunderbar", considering the possibilities available to a singer at the beginning of his career.
But limits soon became apparent. Schiefel started on an extremely high level. He created an aesthetic niche with his debut album that woke high expectations. Using his voice (with different variations and effects) as the sole instrument, he put complexly combined networks of sound together, filling a gap in the improvising modern's spectrum of style. However, Invisible Loop's refreshingly unusual sound and style collages, that cover a range from Bach to Nik Kershaw, did turn out to be tricky. Any repetition of the concept would have been a step backwards. Schiefel had to think of something new.
He contemplated his own qualities as a composer. The result, after long weeks of reflection was "I Don't Belong", a vocal suite in 14 continuing chapters, all original compositions with the exception of one Police classic. Schiefel experiments with layering and mirroring, linearity and simultaneity, directness and alienation. And just as the titles can be read in succession like a story, the musical motives relate to each other. Fragile coloraturas snuggle up to off-beat rhythms, expanses of sound dissolve into melody lines and disperse into ambiguous spheres of associations. Schiefel uses the possibilities of modern studio technology to duplicate himself. At the same time he resists the temptation to over-enhance his music with cosmetic sound correction. As a result, "I Don't Belong" is an album just as open to attack as it is an honest statement of a creative young artist who isn't satisfied with aesthetic normality. And one who has only just begun to go his own way.