When Marichen Danz first began to make music with Alex Stolze, it was a project intended to soundtrack her art performances. But the soulful, crystalline melodies the two had begun to weave could not be contained within that context; instead they took on a life of their own, expanding into territories the two hadn't planned on charting - into the world of UNMAP.
Using the framework of these ideas, the two began isolating these ideas into beautifully ferocious pop melodies. They came armed with the tools of familiarity, knowledge and passion, having collaborated together previously thanks to Alex's work in the Berlin-based groups Dictaphone and Bodi Bill. With Vision and Voice firmly in place, Alex chose Matthias Geserick on bass duties; Geserick then chose Thomas Fietz on electronic drums to complete the quartet. Together they pared back the songs, rearranging pieces and building new aural edifices to attach their visions to. Occasionally they would find that melodies had reverted almost to their initial state, suggesting an inherent magic that remains timeless.
Indeed the melodies within their debut album Pressures feel out of time and space, imbued with a wide depth of energy and emotion. Embedded within are eleven tracks that thrum with the tremendous mass of our lives: the structures of social philosophy and hierarchy we place upon ourselves, and which are placed upon us. Cautionary tales of paranoia, protest and colonialism, the barriers of thought, religion and language, the fallacies of power and the weight of impermanence are translated into the language of liquid pop which wears its influences deftly and proudly. Though every member comes from a different musical background, be it classical or hip-hop, they each know how to weave their aural loves - which include Massive Attack, Tricky and Blonde Redhead - together into a shimmering cosmic blanket of sound. Through a blend of R&B-inspired rock and soulful electronic chamber pop, Marichen's lyrics are given a backdrop on which to live, to extend fingers into the ears and mind of the listener. These are more than songs; they are stories, mapping out a world both private and individual.
Many of the songs on Pressures began life as performance pieces tied to artwork, such as the bouncing sub-hip hop groove of "Pirates" and the chiming, unexpected twilight menace of "Take Over". Some, however, are entirely new pieces unique to UNMAP's strange and wonderful world, such as the foreboding "Altar" and the angelic "Monkey Effort". The group produced the album in Chez Cherie Studios with the help of Shitkatapult founder Marco Haas (aka T. Raumschmiere) and Apparat/Warren Suicide's PC/Nackt, giving it that unmistakably Berlin vibe with touches of Marichen's Irish storyteller roots apparent in the narratives. Delicately strummed strings and booming piano weave amongst her words, alternately pulsing with warmth and commandingly cold. It's something special, unique and captivating, and it will echo in your ears long after the album is over.