The Potsdam-based brothers Sebastian and Daniel Selke have, throughout their career, been employing themes surrounding their Communistera, East German heritage. The memories rescued through their music aren’t only historical, they are first and foremost emotional recollections of their past growing up in East Berlin in the final decade of the GDR and the country’s turning point in the 90s. At its core, the duo’s music can be heard as a dialogue between siblings about their shared upbringings and experiences, a conversation given form through Sebastian’s cello and Daniel’s piano keys, in the fusion that becomes CEEYS.
Originally conceived as a trilogy and subsequently reimagined as an anthology, the CEEYS catalogue, released on German label Neue Meister, can be split into three parts that are closely tied to specific historical periods. CONCRETE FIELDS weave the brother’s sketchy childhood memories of the 1980s, WÆNDE & HIDDENSEE speak of the historic turning point in 1989 and the vague 1990s, and HAUSMUSIK and MUSIKHAUS, reassess the past through today’s prism and new perspectives.
In their 2020 release HAUSMUSIK, CEEYS delved into a renaissance of supposed resolved conflicts in a new disguise – new borders and walls, the revival of the Cold War, new forms of tyranny – in a purely acoustic album recorded from the intimacy of their home studio. With their upcoming release MUSIKHAUS, CEEYS shifts the perspective from the brother’s personal account to encompass varied voices and sensibilities in a carefully curated rework album.
From modern classical to jazz to electronic music, CEEYS invites 10 contemporary composers to share their musical impressions by reworking tracks of HAUSMUSIK on MUSIKHAUS. To name a few: Neue Meister colleague, Marina Baranova gave her own major melody to CEEYS’ harmonies making her interpretation of the piece Circa one half-CEEYS’ evocative mood and one half- Baranova twist with the pianist’s unique touch. Singer-songwriter Mara Simpson adds her haunting voice and poignant lyrics, ‘We keep the pieces to build better, to build hope brick by brick’ to the soft, repetitive backdrop of ‘Yes, brick by brick’ embracing the meaning of the original composition. Erased Tape’s electronic-music composer, Ben Lukas Boysen builds around Fallen’s repetitive and tense motif, adding an ascending energy and instrumentation to the composition which stretches it to new planes of emotion. Every track on HAUSMUSIK offers a new vision of the past, confirming that memories as well as history itself is always subject to reinterpretations and revisions – a recurring idea in CEEYS’ oeuvre.
The album’s title, MUSIKHAUS not only mirrors the last release’s title but also converts the idea of cosy chamber music (‘Hausmusik’) into the concept of a ‘house of music’ – a space where musicians can collaborate and exchange ideas freely and intimately. The idea is also closely connected to one of CEEYS’ earliest musical projects, the Q3 Ambientfest, an annual boutique music festival they founded that brings to stage established and emerging artists from diverse genres in Potsdam.
Much like the festival, MUSIKHAUS sees CEEYS providing a platform for musicians to exchange, collaborate and create across genres. With moods that span the upbeat to the melancholic, MUSIKHAUS remains a coherent journey and intimate affair due to the tight relationships developed between the brothers Selke and their musical contemporaries.