Some time last year my friend Frederic Merk, from Vevey in Switzerland, got in touch to ask if I could write some words and sing them on a track of his. I’d been to Vevey to play two shows for Fred the previous year, so of course I said yes.
I’d also been really enjoying his second record, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I like the way that Fred’s recordings as 17f have this quality like he walked into his studio and started tinkering with a synth to find a sound and then really like the feel of a chord he was playing so he records it, and then adds a harmonica, and then a guitar, and then there’s this piece of music that ebbs and flows. Each piece feels more ‘discovered’ than ‘composed’.
His new album is called Son of a River and the liner notes even say that the songs on it are a result of playing with old and broken instruments and recording equipment. It’s more than field recordings or jams though…he’s orchestrated these accidents into pieces that really resonate and do things to your head.
I sing on side B, on a track called Power of the Hill. I know that Fred lives near a mountain, and the title gave me that image. I live at the base of Eccles Pike in northernmost Derbyshire, so I looked up at that and wrote about what I saw, thinking also about the way the trees affect the image on the transition between autumn and winter on the sides of motorways driving from Germany to Italy via Switzerland.
The album is out on very limited 12″ vinyl (100 copies) that comes with a CD, or download it. Listen here: