Robot Koch’s latest album, ‘The Next Billion Years’, is as musically as it is philosophically ambitious. Inspired by a mysterious recording, the German producer serendipitously came across of the 20th-century French explorer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the album imagines and gives sounds to a far distant future, “When we think about the future we usually think about our own lifetime and our children, but who really thinks a thousand or a million years into the future? Or even better, a billion years?” asks Robot. It was this big-picture view that informed Robot’s decision to work with the grandeur of an orchestra and the famed Estonian conductor Kristjan Järvi on the album, opening up his electronic meditations to the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s terrain of acoustic instruments and arrangements for the first time. ‘The Next Billion Years’ turned out to be not only a highly emotive and existential sound journey but also incredibly poignant to the times we live in.
Now, Robot decides to add even more layers to his ambitious album project by inviting long-time collaborators to reimagine and reinterpret the album’s tracks for a new remix EP. ‘The Next Billion Years Reworks’ albums counts with remixes by singer Dehlia de France, producer Alek Fin, Icelandic duo Hugar, as well as Snakes of Russia, Recue, Slow Shiver and a new rework by Robot Koch himself.
Highlights of the EP include Dehlia de France’s soft vocals and textures in her mysterious rework of All Forms are Unstable, and Hugar’s stripping down of Stars as Eyes into a full-bodied ambient soundscape of melodic strings and piano. Last but not least to be released is Robot’s own rework of Kassel, which adds a repetitive tinkering vibraphone melody to the backdrop of lush and cinematic strings. Kassel is a heartfelt homage to the city, where he grew up. “This song feels a warm blanket,” Koch says, “slightly melancholic and has a sense of nostalgia and homecoming. On a bigger picture, it is also a song about Earth being our collective home that cares for us and that we should care for as well.”
‘The Next Billion Years Reworks’ album is a glorious achievement in collaboration and interpretation, as deep and rich as Robot Koch’s acclaimed original album itself.