Decorative music is what Kai Otten calls his second acoustic-electronic album “Camper Mode”. This is not meant to sound belittling or even disparagingly in any way. Quite the contrary: Because good music can indeed be background music, says the 33-year old composer, producer and guitarist. Music can be gentle, invite you to dream and relax – but also has to take the listener up his or her promise to decode what actually happens. And that is what you can find a lot of on “Camper Mode“, released on Kai Otters own label Lounge Aroma.
The influences and the sounds range from Ambience to Easy Listening to Electronica, from Flamenco to Jazz to Trip Hop. Handmade sounds and self-made instruments meet synthesizers and sound samples like crackling, noise, rustling and ringing. And every time Kai Otten`s crystal clear solo concert guitar puts itself on top of the lovingly composed instrumentals.
This is rare in electronic music, so in this regard “Camper Mode” is also an experiment: the attempt to answer the question on how to make lounge music with conventional methods. Those methods Otten learned while studying at the renowned Hogeschool voor de Kunsten / University of the Arts in the Dutch city of Arnhem and while working as a musician in various bands. Thus came about the wish to record an album that sounds electronic but in fact isn`t: with the exception of a handful of loops at most all instruments were recorded live, amongst others by the exceptional percussionist and Grammy Award winner Nené Vásquez.
That can sound so moving and rhythmical like on the track Flamingo as if you saw Ché speeding through Chile on his motorbike. Another time you are floating through space with Major Tom on spherical soundscapes. Or – like in the appropriately named song In Clouds – through the air.
The Cologne based Kai Otten was influenced by artists such as Air and Blank & Jones, Moby and Tycho. This list is completed by the first chillout-compilations of Café del Mar. Compilations Otten thinks were ahead of their times. The same can be said about him and “Camper Mode“.
During the whole hour of this album Kai Otten produces pictures for the listener that become more intense by deliberately leaving out vocals with lyrics that might restrict them. Exactly that is the idea behind the music: the listener can get an experience of individual images and stories. The music becomes a soundtrack for different daily situations and special occasions and thereby, although still in the background, gets a certain specialty and intensity.
Besides on CD and vinyl “Camper Mode” is also available as a Giveaway Gadget: kits for paper grammophones with a download link will be on display at selected places that will not be announced beforehand. All you have to do is: download the music, put your smartphone in and listen. Kai Otten does not only break new grounds with the album itself but also with the way of its marketing. It will be exciting to follow him.