The multi-talented Berliner shares her skills around with an album of collaborations
Barbara Morgenstern, the Berlin-based artist, composer, lyricist, music and choir director, likes to have a concept already in her head before recording, an idea that she can relate to both emotionally and intellectually to trigger the song writing and production.
The musical journey on ‘Doppelstern’ is a reference to the scientific phenomenon of double stars, which is the translation of the title. Every track here is in collaboration with another musician, hence the double theme. Each track is the result of Morgenstern and one other collaborator, her double (star) for the track, each originating in different studios, across continents, a handful of which appeared on the pre-album EP ‘Beide’ and are now followed by this full set of collaborations.
Morgenstern wanted every song to be a product of those pairs, the combined skills and styles, ideas and energies unique to the dynamic. Unlike her first recording, ‘Sweet Silence’, in which the vocals were in English, the songs on ‘Doppelstern’ are mostly in German. In ‘Übermorgen’, a duet with Justus Köhncke, I know they must be musing over the wonder and awe of the universe – that is, how stars are a luminous ball of gas held together by their own gravity that one day will eventually explode and die, but it’s hard to figure that such momentous events are occurring in the world around us from both the melodic vocals and high treble electronic pop soundtrack. It has all the qualities of an excellent radio pop song though, which the title explains is its aim.
There is a hint of mindfulness, elegance and intrigue which blends beautifully with the soundtrack when you can understand the words: ‘Lost In A Fiction’ is in English and ‘Too Much’ combine both languages successfully. That said the mood still comes across throughout the album, particularly in ‘Meins sollte Meins sein’, with Hauschka. In ‘Gleich ist Gleicher als Gleich’, featuring Lucretia Dalt, intrigue and playfulness arrive, with random, unusual sounds and curious pace, and it seems to bring out the sweet-subtle-sharp element of Morgenstern. ‘Facades’, with Julia Kent, is completely different, no less captivating, with its layers of melodies popping up in unusual places and a trip hop beat in full flow.
This album is a beautiful thing to own. Working with a different musician, producer or vocalist for every track means ego finds it difficult to squeeze in, and the intent and energy goes into the one track in a different way to the norm. And there is something unique and spontaneous about every song, as she intended, with her as the thread. Now she needs to find her true artistic double (star), the one that is brave enough to pull on that thread.