The idea behind this series is to write about German music. I take the chance to cross the border to Switzerland and may introduce you to one of the best musicians coming from there. Stephan Eicher sings his songs in a variety of languages, including French, German, English, Italian and Swiss-German - sometimes he changes the language in the same piece. After he finished study at an art-school in Bern he released his first record together with his brother Martin as 'Grauzone'. The single 'Eisbär' was one of the most successful singles of the so called New German Wave. A real monument of reduced music - just a few programmed sequences and a guitar with a monotone voice.
His predilection for French chansons a la Serge Gainsbourg and Jaques Dutronc was the main influence for his next record. It has a very melancholic atmosphere what was the general major mood in this time and most of the songs are about loneliness. In the late 1980s he started his collaboration with the Frensh author Philippe Dijan which writes in his novels also a lot about loneliness. In 1991 he reached the top of the Swiss album charts with his album 'Engelberg'. Engelberg is a small village in central Switzerland where Stephan Eicher used to life a part of his live. This and the following record 'Carcassonne' where stamped by a relaxed basic position of all musicians. Most of the songs were recorded live in the studio with less overdubs. Eicher collected for his records a lot of excellent musicians like Pino Palladino on bass, Manu Katché on drums and Sonny Landreth on guitar. He had always the plan to realize projects that looked crazy on the first sight. Also his world tour that led him to Africa and south-east Asia.
Ten years ago he started a project called 'With the taxi from Hamburg to Palermo - a musical journey through the cultures' where he collaborated in one song with Herbert Grönemeyer and Max Gazzé:
While I write this post I listen to his records again and I have to say nothing vanished from his greatness. This are some songs from his record Carcassonne that I like best after all years. Give him a chance, listen and enjoy.
Stephan Eicher - Des hauts, des bas
Stephan Eicher - Hope
Stephan Eicher - La mi los
Stephan Eicher - Ni remords, ni regrets