Equisetales is one of the most unique electronic releases you’re likely to come across this year; structured around Ernst’s own concept of a journey, where he sketches in “the tiny little things beside the pathway”, it’s an ambient universe of quirky, earthy organic sounds, where the different sonic elements mingle freely amongst each other; they’re largely all summoned from his clarinet in some way, shape or form. The warmth of what he’s created is what stands out.
Ernst says that for the most part, the sounds were recorded directly via microphone, from the amplifiers that his clarinet’s FX units had been hooked up to; meaning the recording environment (of his apartment’s living room) was largely analogue. “Of course, this delivers a completely different sound than plugins do. That’s where the ‘warmth’ comes from.”
After having experimented with how his clarinet could be worked into a nightclub dynamic, both live and on record, Ernst abandoned the structural restrictions of club music when he was recording Equistetales, choosing instead a more intimate approach. While it’s not too hard to detect an atmosphere, a certain hypnotic vibe that shares some roots with Berlin techno, it’s otherwise completely structurally removed from the city’s steely four-four beats. According to Ernst, the Der Ditte Raum connection was a crucial catalyst for the album. “Without Der Ditte Raum, the record wouldn’t have existed,” he says.
“When I met [lead producer] Andreas Krüger, and we started working together on Swing Bop, we realised it was a good fit, both friendship and music wise. We started a few jam sessions, and developing a few more tracks for him, while I was also working on my own music.”
Around this time Krüger was in the planning stages of beginning his own Funken label, a necessary independent shift after having released much of his music through Virgin Records over the years. He was keen to release Randweg’s debut record, and on the strength of early demos, encouraged Ernst to continue producing while he was getting the label up and running.
“When I finished working, I gave the album to him, and he helped bring a polished sound to it all, which I couldn’t have done on my own at all. So he gave my production a final touch, which you really can hear, and I’m very thankful for this. He was the final producer, mixer and label owner, which is great circumstances for a new project.”