When you put electronic producer (Viberate) Ben Böhmer and Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist/composer/conductor Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, FKA Twigs) in a room together, adding Böhmer’s whimsical production with Moose’s string arrangements , the result is a riveting collaborative EP, The Apparitions.
Together the two reimagined select tracks off of Böhmer’s critically acclaimed sophomore album, Begin Again (Anjunadeep, 2021), including the single “Home” ft. JONAH and “Slow Wave” ft. Gordi.
“I loved getting to work with Ben and the featured singers on this project,” Moose says. “In the beginning, we weren’t sure what shape our collaboration would take, and almost as a lark, I tried muting all the album stems and building the entire structure with just strings. To my delight, Ben liked this approach, and I went deep with all the stems, studying fx artifacts and minute timings to try to translate electronic sounds onto a body of strings without losing the magical idiosyncrasies of the original work. I hope that the EP feels familiar to fans of the album, but pulls their ears and their hearts in unexpected directions.”
The EP, released Jan. 28, is the first new music from Moose since the Copycat Killer EP with Phoebe Bridgers in 2020. Böhmer, who won the AIM award (Association of Independent Music) for Best Live [Streamed] Act and boasts over 100 million streams, is currently on a worldwide tour in support of his album.
American Songwriter asked Böhmer and Moose to create a playlist of favorite songs. In an unexpected twist, Böhmer, the electronic producer, shared a list of his favorite classical songs, and Moose, the instrumentalist/composer, shared his favorite electronic songs. Read below to see what each artist had to say about those tracks below.
Fans can purchase The Apparitions HERE.
Ben Bohmer’s favorite classical / acoustic tracks:
Martin Kohlstedt – “Gol”
Even since I saw Martin Kohlstedt in a small bar in Göttingen, Germany my life has been accompanied by his music. The bar was completely silent when Martin played and ‘Gol’ was the track that really captivated everyone.
Patrick Watson – “Lighthouse”
In ‘Lighthouse’, it feels like Patrick Watson has composed a song for eternity. Love how he gave the arrangement such a dramatic twist. The shift from cinematic atmospheres into Mexican drama is legendary!
Peter Gabriel – “Heroes”
Reworking David Bowie’s classic, Peter Gabriel creates an extraordinary arrangement, which I see as one of the inspirations for “The Apparitions” release with Rob Moose. Beautiful track!
José Gonzalès – “Cycling Trivialities”
‘Cycling Trivialities’ is also a track filled with magical strings, guitars, and voice elements. The quiet atmosphere and lyrics have become a part of me over the last few years, and I have listened to it on repeat.
Cinematic Orchestra – “Dawn”
I really enjoy the simplicity of this composition and the heaviness of its overall tone. It’s a great mix of organic strings and targeted synthesized sounds. The song was a major inspiration for my track “Wall Of Stings,” and I actually went on to sample these exact chords.
Rob Moose’s favorite Electronic tracks / tracks by Electronic artists:
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, London Symphony Orchestra – “Movement 6”
I love how this movement starts with the same sparse 7 note figure from the beginning of the piece, evolves to include a gorgeously expressive viola solo, and then just keeps climbing and climbing, way beyond expectations, to a cathartic emotional outpouring of lyrical string writing that somehow manages to feel totally contemporary.
Blake Mills- “Two”
This was such a surprising release from the guitarist/producer extraordinaire, who I’m lucky to count as a collaborator and good friend. The project was born out of studio sessions booked to explore a synth guitar, and a lot of the sounds that happened are impossible to replicate because of randomized elements and ephemeral pedal chain decisions. The track is simultaneously austere and completely emotional, and emerges and recedes unpredictably as if the listener just happened to come across it on a radio dial for a few minutes before driving out of range.
Sufjan Stevens- “Year of the Dog”
I picked this because of the role it’s played in my musical life. Sufjan was an early collaborator and I got to arrange this for a string quartet for an album we made some decades ago, and then for my group, yMusic. It’s been orchestrated and choreographed by the NY City Ballet, and for an originally obscure recording, it’s lived an outsize life and still charms me every time.
Brian Eno – “1/1”
I know that this is an extremely ubiquitous pick, but I can’t shake the fact that it’s an incredible piece of music. It’s so repetitive but the rate at which the phrases unfold is absolutely addicting, and when I start the track, I never want it to end. Patience, tone, and content align in a beautiful way and, while I’ve never listened to it in an airport, I do love ON the plane and it was a staple around the house in the first few weeks of my son’s life.
Isao Tomita- “Suite Bergamasque, Claire de Lune, No. 3”
I’ll never forget hearing this for the first time on vinyl at Jesse Harris’ apartment. To encounter canonical classical work played with such love and reverence on monophonic synthesizers was a revelation for me. It’s a remarkable achievement and a perfect example of using technical mastery for the greatest good.
BEN BÖHMER & ROB MOOSE – THE APPARITIONS EP TRACK LISTING:
- Home ft. JONAH (An Apparition)
- Slow Wave ft. Gordi (An Apparition)
- Beyond Beliefs (An Apparition)
- Erase ft. lau.ra (An Apparition)
Photos courtesy TCB Public Relations