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Maike Zazie Matern composes and performs unconventional piano compositions. Her work combines classical training with soulful sounds that are familiar, but have perhaps gone unnoticed. The sparse vocals, which alternate between Swedish and German, are melodious and help set the tone. The debut album regen:tropfen (“rain:drops”) is coming in early autumn 2010.

Born in 1983 near the old German university town of Heidelberg, Matern’s first musical influences, though probably a bit dampened, began in 1982 listening to her father playing the piano in the living room, her parents’ singing voices and the sound of her mother’s heartbeat.

Upon fully entering the world, her early influences from her parents’ LP-collection included Keith Jarrett and Miles Davis providing musical guidance throughout the 80s. The German children song collection Das Liedmobil might have had similar relevance: A first confrontation with a “prepared piano” and a piece of music with a couple of clocks. In the 90s she began a classical piano education between Satie and Chopin, and at the age of twelve she discovered the music of Tori Amos featuring piano in pop music. Later influences came from Icelandic artists such as Björk, Múm and Amiina and from neoclassical tunes by Arvo Pärt, Peter Broderick and Yann Tiersen.

Maike Zazie’s first forays into fragmental piano improvisations started along with the new millennium, and in 2006 she started her solo project zazie von einem anderen stern.

Her compositions are stunning, brittle, fragile and melancholic, with the occasional outburst of childish exuberance. Matern takes the time in each piece to develop a calm, harmonious progression. The classical training shines through clearly and exceptionally on tracks like raum ohne zeit, which is a hybrid experiment of music and voice theatre.

The debut album regen:tropfen features piano tones, voice, cello, glockenspiel, field recordings, found sounds and also silence as an equivalent form of sound. zazie von einem anderen stern means “zazie from another star” which is appropriate since her music has a celestial quality. During 2008-09 she worked on the debut regen:tropfen, partly in Berlin, where she now resides, in a small room with a south facing garden view and at Nils Frahm’s Durtonstudio. And partly during one winter and one spring in Sweden in a forest near Uppsala. In spring 2010 Matern also created the multi-instrumental sound poem an open field for Peter Broderick’s Compilation numbers which he’s planning to release sometime in 2011.

regen:tropfen is an electro-acoustic daydream in stark contrast to the manic pace of the urban life she lives.

“All sound and tone, also silence… All that my ears are able to absorb, has a melody.” – Zazie