Folk Rock, Indie Folk
Andrew Bird, Bill Callahan, Bon Iver, Bonnie Prince Billy, Elliot Smith, Feist, The Magnetic Fields, Sufjan Stevens, Wilco
Wanderingted is the alias of Ted Schmitz, a singer-songwriter currently living in Berlin. He sounds like it; there’s an eerie European elegance to his stark folk-rock which brings to mind from where Bowie recorded his own famed Berlin trilogy. Schmitz was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and he sounds like that too: There’s mountain-band instruments and delicious treacherous-weather twangs all over songs like “To the Gods of Minnesota” and “The Water of All My Days.” This imaginational mix of Berlin-Saint Paul sounds like it would be unlikely, until you hear how Schmitz’s evocative voice mixes with his crisp acoustic playing, creating a gorgeous new geographical region of the mind and senses.
Wanderingted’s debut album I Could Be You seems like something completely original, but also from the talents of someone who works as an opera singer and performer all over this globe. As a clue to the name of his project, he considers himself one of the many wanderers in this world – as he says, “I am with those of us who have moved more times than we care to count, observing the same human patterns everywhere.” He wrote I Could Be You mostly in a garden shed just outside of London. For a guy from middle America, he can craft elegiac threnodies that would be perfect on a mix-tape with the very Anglo Divine Comedy (but restraining any bombast).
Schmitz found himself making songs over a year which always seemed on the brink of worldwide apocalyptic destruction, during which his own father was dying of cancer. Suffering through all this doesn’t usually sound like it would help to make a deeply pleasurable listening experience, yet it does. Such darkness does not make I Could Be You hard to listen to; just the opposite. Like an existentialist finally churning the cruel absurdity of fate into an unexpected form of meaning, there is a surprising amount of humor here as well. Such as the duties described in “Just A Dude,” or the weird Fairy Tale rhymes of a certain goose described in “Carfrost.” You never know where the lyrics are going to go, but Schmitz can actually be poignant and hilarious at the same time.
Schmitz explains: “In this atmosphere, where it seemed everyone wanted to act, to influence, to invoke change and shout louder than the next person, the question arose: why add to the noise when songs can uniquely speak the language of our secret hidden worlds? The songs that came out sound to me now like moments of that year, where things feel silly and profound at the same time.”
What cuddles up to the listener with beautiful vibes of indie folk, the eight songs now form the musical basis of the staged concert Im Gegensatz zu dir (In Contrast to You) by Nico and the Navigators. The show addresses responses to these very turbulent times and how we can value differences. Premiered at the Performing Arts Festival in Berlin in 2017 and continuing to tour, the record I Could Be You will finally be released December 7, 2018. Now that’s all put together, it’s definitely a journey off the beaten path well worth taking.