Artist: Cook Strummer
Title: The Fall
Label: LOK Recordings
Release date: 22nd June 2018
The music of Cook Strummer- aka Max Donnet- is the kind that can only come from someone with both Belgium and Berlin within him. Channelling the post-punk synth sound of his home country’s Cold Wave movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s, Donnet has absorbed the sounds of his adopted home in Germany, taking that all-pervasive electronic music that is all around him and morphing it into something new.
The result is The Fall.
Recorded in a cell located in the basement of an old Stasi Prison (Studio K61 in Berlin), it’s an album with one eye on the dancefloor, but one that works just as well when the party is over. It’s an album that blends the organic with the synthetic, mixing guitars and synths with post-dubstep flourishes and drum machines. It’s an album about something.
Talking about the album that he’s spent a full two years pouring his heart and soul into, Cook Strummer said:
“I wrote and recorded the album at a time when I was getting over a break-up. I was working 40 hours a week in an office, going out every weekend to Techno clubs and recording at night in the studio. It was intense. The lack of sleep even gave me hallucinations. The feeling of doing something important stuck though. It gave me a reason to move on. Somehow, there’s a part of my soul in there. I had to put out both the emotions and the ideas to create something out of it.
The name of the album has been chosen in reference to first single Fallen, the idea of falling in life and waking up again. It’s also about the fact that it’s not the fall that kills you. A fall can be graceful. A fall can improve a life perspective and create new paths. It can and does make you strong. The main deep metaphor in there is one of reincarnation. Indeed, it’s the story of a soul negotiating with God to not reincarnate on earth again but being forced to do it anyways.”
After arriving in Berlin in 2012, Cook Strummer released six EPs in one year before hooking up producer Laurent Zimmermann who offered to work with him on his debut album.
Over the next two years composing, recording and mixing The Fall at Studio K61 in Berlin, with assistance from sound engineer Mario Engelter.
In 2016, Max met Noah Luttermann, co-owner of Berlin electronic music label LOK Recordings, quickly becoming friends and deciding to collaborate on a few tracks. In summer 2017 they released the 5-track Soul Distortion EP, a tech-house focussed release that made some serious noise in the underground scene. Later that same year, the collective of Cook Strummer, K61 and Lok Recordings finally came together to collaborate as a family on the album release for The Fall.