Video Premiere: Orson Hentschel – ‘Heavy Light’

Three years after his last studio album, Orson Hentschel returns with a multi-outputted visual album. Heavy Light, the title of his fourth album project, consists of three parts – a 3-channel film installation starring dancer Michelle Cheung, a visual live performance and the album itself. Hentschel expands the format of the conventional album to an audiovisual experience by merging elements of film, dance and music in a synthesis of arts. The project evolved in the time of Corona, which first affected him visually when the city of Berlin turned into a ghost town during the first lockdown. Light became the most vibrant element in the city, which influenced both picture and sound. Metallic, sometimes harsh and electrifying, surroundings of the urban life are landscaped into eclectic pulses.

Taking a walk through an empty city makes you extremely sensitive for your surroundings, for sound, light or movements. I was curious how a dancer would interact with this special state of perception in a process of improvisation. Musically I slipped into the role of a film composer, but with the mindset that the music also function independently from the picture. Heavy Light contains three tracks from my eponymous album, which will be released on May 27.

Orson Hentschel is a German composer and visual artist based in Berlin. He composes experimental electronic music, with influences ranging from classical minimalism to trip-hop and drone. Whereas Orson started off with classical piano, he by now concentrates on electronic and experimental music and film compositions. Even though Hentschel has experienced a classical education, his composition techniques are anything but traditional. His creative starting point is rarely rooted in musical ideas but consists of finding appropriate sound material. His sources are diverse: sounds and samples like soundtracks, film sounds, music albums or internet findings encounter polyphonic vocal music from the 14th century and composition techniques of Minimal Music such as Steve Reich. In his compositions, Hentschel draws a cross-section through the history of music and its genres in order to form his own musical expression. Considering his studies of music science in Düsseldorf and previously in Vienna and Dresden, his musical time-jumps appear less surprising.

Heavy Light will be released on May 27 via Denovali Records. Pre-order it here