ORGAN THING: Charlotte Greve has shared the first tastes of what promises, on the evidence heard so far, to be a very rewarding album. This is beautifully epic…

Charlotte Greve, Portrait 2021, Berlin, (photo: Annika Nagel)

Organ Thing Of The Day: Now this is something rather special, composer Charlotte Greve has shared the first tastes of what promises, on the evidence heard so far, to be very rewarding. This is beautiful, beautifully epic, expansive, ambitious, exciting. There’s a short taste via the You Tube here at the top of the page, there’s far more via the Bandcamp thing that you find down there beneath the press release that will tell you more. Things like this are why we still do this Organ thing, things like this mater, beautifully enriching things…

“On October 15, 2021, New Amsterdam (Bryce Dessner, Deerhoof, Olga Bell) and Shahzad Ismaily’s figureight records (Randall Dunn, Bernice, JFDR) will release Sediments We Move, the new seven-part album from German-born, Brooklyn-based composer, singer, and saxophonist Charlotte Greve. The winner of two ECHO Jazz Prizes (the German equivalent of a GRAMMY), Greve has been hailed the “Best of Bandcamp” for her nebulous sound—one that flows freely between choral music, rock, noise, free jazz, metal, ambient, and bombastic 80s-inspired pop. On Sediments We Move, her debut album under her own name, Greve, backed by her band, Wood River, and Berlin choir Cantus Domus, invites listeners into a world where disparate sounds weave together like twine, melding into one beautiful, cohesive flow. 

Today, she shares album opener ‘Part I’. Composed as an introductory piece, ‘Part I’ sets the tone for the rest of the album. “If this would be a classical piece, this would be called the Ouverture, if this was a film, this would be the trailer. ‘Part I’ opens the composition with the most innocent, sparse, vulnerable and pure sound – soprano unison voices emerging from an ambient cloud of effects, laying out the core idea behind the music: The sediment forms, no matter what” explains Greve. From there, ‘Part I’ goes on to foreshadow what is to be expected from the rest of the album, combining eerie synth sounds, heavy drum parts, densely orchestrated chorale material and moments of euphoric indie-rock. 

Though Greve is a graduate of Jazz Institute Berlin and New York University Steinhardt, the composer frequently abandoned academic form during the creative process. Waves of inspiration overcame Greve, who then recorded her ideas on a whim—singing and talking and clapping into her phone. “I would describe this work as an image of myself, turned inside out, completely vulnerable and bare, out in the open,” says Charlotte Greve. “All my influences are here, interwoven together unapologetically. This is a genre-fluid piece. Listeners are invited to open their ears, to hear assorted sounds uniting, to conceive Sediments We Move as one.” 

Sediments We Move is imbued with this theme of connectivity. “This album has many different moments and phases, kind of like our lives,” says Greve. “We all go through different moments, different phases, though we don’t always see their interconnectedness.” After speaking with her grandmother, Greve began to clearly see the similarities between her relatives – habits and influences, traits and oddities passed through time. Fittingly, then, Greve’s older brother, Julius Greve, wrote lyrics for Sediments We Move, blending familial ties with imagery of nature, expanding the circle beyond the Greve family – one layer fading into the next, until all is one. 

“I felt an urgency to compose a large-scale piece,” says Greve. “I had never written for choir before, or ever since, and it was a lot of trial and error. But the sound of many voices coalescing with a beat-driven band was extremely appealing.”

In addition to her two ECHO Jazz prizes, Greve has won both the Jazz Baltica Award and a Praetorius-Musikpreis. For over a decade, the composer has toured across Europe, South Asia, and the United States, playing festivals from Jazz Baltica to Jazzfest Berlin to Haldern Pop to Jazzfest Kolkata, collaborating with New Amsterdam artist Arooj Aftab, dancer Isabel Umali, drummer Vinnie Sperrazza, pianist Marta Sanchez, and songwriter Grey McMurray. 

Like plunging a bottle into the ocean, then swirling the sand and silt and water together, Sediments We Move mixes Charlotte Greve’s myriad influences—both as a composer and a human”.

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