The Genocide of the Souls. The Pitesti Experiment.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"The most
terrible act
of barbarism
in the modern
world"

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Interview: Martin Küchen on his forthcoming CD, “The Spirit of Pitesti”


Martin Küchen : Many different aspects lead me to this track I think. One was the reading of one of Herta Müller´s books, about a young man sent to the Soviet Union (Ukraine) in 1945/46 to a labor camp, where he spent 5 years. He was of VolksGerman descent. Then the reading about different communist regimes in general and its always deceptive, totalitarian and brutal behaviour they all seem to have in common – no matter where in the world they established themselves.

The last track might be my own country, Sweden, a “soft socialist/capitalist” country, and by realizing how deeply infested we still are with this pavlovian dogma of progress  – leaving our lives spiritually shattered and actually mentally almost deranged in our non-capacity to really understand what has happened to us, as a society, as a people,  during this last six or seven decades – by realizing this, I came to question everything connected to the marxist mindset and also therefore started to read all this books about communism and the history of communism…..

You write on linear notes that “the experiment is not over”. “That global progressive force…that took away… the soul of the world”, “comes again, with new promises”. Are we targets of a new kind of re-education?

Martin Küchen : Yes. Definitely we are.

Is there hope for those re-educated by the new utopias? Can they be un-reeducated?

Martin Küchen : There is always hope. But within that realization lies a huge risk of being trapped by a hope that might lead you totally astray. By finding new utopias, etc.

If sounds could be translated into words, how would you describe “The Spirit of Pitesti”?

Martin Küchen : Fragile, sharp, with low and high, like water very close and far away at the same time.

Who were your greatest non-musical influences (literature, philosophy, etc.) at the beginning of your musical journey?

Martin Küchen: U.G. Krishnamurti. Not anymore today though:-) Also Kirkegaard, Emil Cioran, Samuel Beckett, Paul Celan.

What is your philosophy of sound?

Martin Küchen: To try to stay with the sound, no matter how it sounds.

Do you prefer recording in small rooms or in big spaces? Are the “spatially challenged” recording studios doing justice to the saxophone’s sound?

Martin Küchen: It can be both really. The most preferable might be a small wooden church with not too much acoustic.

Being immersed in the sound like a fish in the water, how do you perceive the sounds (vibrations) of the world around you? How does the world sound for you?

Martin Küchen: Our urban world today´s sound is usually a mess. On top of that we put very close to our ears, more sound via our headphones, always present. But it’s always interesting things to hear where ever you are – but then you can’t wear headphones:-), but basically we are living in a modern world where almost all expressions are being soundtracked – and by that very circumstance music is slowly losing its grip on us – since we are over indulging in music, music loses its meaning….

Do you play the piano when you compose?

Martin Küchen: Sometimes. Usually I use only saxophone.

Do you remember the moment of your first composition, when you gave birth of something new? Were you surprised by this gift?

Martin Küchen: Yes I was. When I was ten or eleven I managed to write something for solo flute in a very simplistic way of course, but later I found out it sounded precisely like a piano concerto of Rachmaninov:-)

Nowadays I don’t write notes at all. I never write down my music.

Is Nicholas Payton’s assertion, despite the jazz festivals held all over the world, that jazz died in 1959 – “Here lies Jazz (1916 – 1959)” – just a premature eulogy, an epitaph for the golden age of Jazz?

Martin Küchen: I don’t know. Things are dying and being born as we speak. I think music doesn’t care too much about these things:-)

You have toured all over the world, from Japan to US, Canada, Mexico, Middle East, all Western Europe, most of Eastern Europe (at least 6 times in Poland). Any plans for Romania?

Martin Küchen: It would be fantastic to play in Romania. So we in Trespass Trio really hope that we soon can do it. Even more so, since we are releasing this “The spirit of Pitesti” CD in the Spring of 2017.