Die in Brasilien geborene, in Köln aufgewachsene und in Berlin lebende Künstlerin Dominique Dillon de Byington alias Dillon hatte immer eine klare Vision ihrer Kunst. Zwei Alben hat sie bereits veröffentlich. Für sie selbst sind beide eigentlich eins, denn sie erzählen eine zusammenhängende Geschichte. Live war dies stets spürbar, denn die dunkel melodischen Songs beider Alben bestimmten im magischen Wechselspiel ihre Shows. Als sie 2015 vom Berliner Foreign Affairs Festival gebeten wurde, ein einmaliges Konzert zu entwickeln, entschied sie sich für eine Performance mit einem sechzehnköpfigen Frauenchor, der sie und ihr Kollaborateur und Co-Produzent ihrer ersten beiden Alben, Tamer Fahri Özgönenc im Juli 2015 live im Haus der Berliner Festspiele begleitete. „Ich hatte das Bedürfnis mit Stimmen zu arbeiten und eine weitere Ebene zu kreieren, die zwischen der Elektronik und mir atmet. Das hat mich sehr gereizt, und so haben Tamer und ich gemeinsam den Chor geschrieben und arrangiert.“ offenbart Dillon. Der Chor impft ihrer von Klavier und elektronischen Sounds getragenen Musik eine neue körperliche Ebene ein, zwischen der ihre Stimme sehnsüchtig tanzt. Wie natürlich sich das neue Element in ihre dramatisch minimale Musik einfügt, zeigt die nun erscheinende Liveaufnahme des Konzerts. „Als ich begann mein zweites Album „The Unknown“ zu schreiben, war mir klar dass es inhaltlich sowie musikalisch die Fortsetzung von „This Silence Kills“ werden würde. Nun finden beide Alben nicht nur Live zusammen. Für mich heißt dieses Album „This Silence Kills The Unknown“.“ verrät die 28-jährige. Zum Livealbum erscheint zudem ein Konzertfilm vom Auftritt im Haus der Berliner Festspiele. Und 2017 wird ein von seinen Vorgängern völlig losgelöstes 3. Studioalbum erscheinen, das sie selbst als „Liebesalbum“ bezeichnet.
Born in Brazil, raised in Cologne and based in Berlin, Dominique Dillon de Byington, aka Dillon, has always had a clear vision of her art. She already has two albums under her belt, and she actually regards these as part of the same work, since they tell a coherent story. This has always been apparent in her live shows, which are carried by a magical interchange between the dark-melodic songs of both albums. When the Berlin Foreign Affairs Festival asked her, in 2015, to develop a unique concert idea, she decided on a performance with a six-piece women’s choir, which accompanied her and Tamer Fahri Özgönenc, her collaborator and co-producer of her first two albums, in the live performance at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in July 2015. “I felt the need to work with vocals and to create an additional layer that breathes in this space between the electronic music and myself. I was very attracted to this idea, so Tamer and I wrote and arranged the choir parts together,” Dillon explains. The choir injects a new physical layer into her music, which is dominated by piano and electronic sounds, and her own voice dances longingly in this space. The newly released live recording of the concert reveals just how naturally this new element slots into her dramatically minimal music. “When I started writing my new album The Unknown I already knew it would be a continuation of This Silence Kills in terms of both music and content. Now the two albums are being brought together as a release, as well as in the live shows. For me, this album could be called This Silence Kills The Unknown, the 28-year-old reveals. A film of the concert at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele is being released alongside the live album. And in 2017 this will be followed by a third studio album, this time entirely separate from the works that came before, which Dillon herself describes as an “album of love”.
First a roar steadily builds, then we hear the first piano tone of The Unknown - along with the voice of Dominique Dillon de Byington. There it is again, the unique timbre of the young Berlin-based artist who captivated the music press and arts critics alike with her 2011 debut album on BPitch Control This Silence Kills. With songs like “Tip Tapping”, “Thirteen Thirtyfive” and “You Are My Winter” Dillon, originally from Brazil, left an impression on more than just the indie scene. This Silence Kills was sweet and enticing enough to establish itself as a pop record with singer-songwriter passion and experimental enough to be taken seriously as an art project. It was described as chanson-pop, sensuous electronic music featuring a voice comparable to Feist, Björk or Joanna Newsom. There followed two sold-out tours and numerous festival gigs all over the world – a life on the road. For Dillon this was completely unexplored territory.
“The Unknown” is not only the first song she wrote for her eponymous second album, it is how Dillon evokes that thing in life that has no name, no description no boundaries. The Unknown can be anything: longing, love, loss, transience, fear or desire. In keeping with the cover art for The Unknown the twelve new tracks have a more direct, natural and candid feel: “The lyrics are a lot more abstract and open, although they are just as personal and introverted,” says Dillon about the songs she wrote between May and November 2013. Tracks like “In Silence” and “4ever” are sometimes pensive, they exude this profound contemplation which must not always be characterised as melancholy.
Whereas the majority of the debut album, with all its melodies and arrangements, had been written before it was recorded, The Unknown came about more as a conceptual work. Yet despite the new approach, it should still be understood as a sequel to The Silence Kills. The foundation for album number two was laid within three weeks at the same studio and even in the same room of Clouds Hill Recordings in Hamburg. Once more she worked with Thies Mynther (Phantom/Ghost) and Tamer Fahri Özgönenc (MIT): “I didn't see any sense in working with someone else. Back then we began a dialogue that, in my eyes, was never concluded.”
The result of these creative exchanges is a narrative gem that is eager to retain some malaise around the edges. From the ballad-like lead single “A Matter of Time” to the chamber music style “Forward” – Dillon's impressive voice comes even more to the fore on The Unknown. The piano is not only present on almost every song, it also conveys an incredible depth that complements the playful naivety of the debut album. Although the bass drum makes its presence felt as a silhouette on “Into The Deep” and the club-infused “Nowhere” develops this electronic substructure further, The Unknown is more puristic, more enigmatic and certainly not a dance album.
“I wrote poems. For me these are all poems I'm singing. The album is more like a book of spoken words and pictures than an album in the classical sense,” the 25-year-old says about The Unknown. It can all be so simple: a piano, a voice and a story – these elements alone suffice for Dillon to spread her magic. A magic that can create drama as well as lament, that can confidently put personal scars and doubting thoughts on display. The Unknown is a dense, compact work from an extraordinary artist whose journey has only just begun. Or, as Antoine De Saint-Exupery once said: Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- DIE TÜREN
- ENNO BUNGER