Paul Esslinger – Ancora
From Paul Esslinger – Ancora
Self-released, 1983, Germany
Paul Esslinger moved to Berlin in 1975, where he connected with the local underground « neo-folk » scene, resulting in Esslinger‘s first musical effort with the band Teller Bunte Knete. The two albums released with Teller Bunte Knete showcased Esslinger‘s talent both as a multi-instrumentalist and as an arranger, but it seems that they did not provide him with the freedom that his first solo album, Ancora, would give him.
Released in 1983, Ancora is made of eleven instrumental sketches (Elf Stimmungen für kleine Besetzung, as we can read on the sleeve – literally « Eleven moods for small occupation ») which could be described as folky neo-Chamber music. With this album, Paul Esslinger cultivates a very personal style, drawing inspiration from folk music as well as jazz. With his very light arrangements, Esslinger gives musicians enough space to let each instrument expresses itself.
The gorgeous title-track has a very cinematographic feel which might reflect Paul Esslinger‘s then blossoming career as a composer for film and television. In our opinion, Ancora is one step further from Esslinger‘s somehow more conventional compositions for Teller Bunte Knete, as the song slowly builds itself towards an emotional climax. The sophisticated game of « question & answer » played by both organic (cello, guitar) and analog (synths) instruments is backed by a soft and ritenuto drumming; the whole thing resulting in a very pastoral framework which perfectly echoes the beautiful artwork, painted by Esslinger himself.