Grandbrothers’ music represents a communion between the old and the new. Formed in Düsseldorf, Germany, the duo’s groundbreaking work is centered around the collaboration between pianist Erol Sarp and engineer/software designer Lukas Vogel.
On their extraordinary new album, Late Reflections, the duo places their art in communion with an institution so old it predates their music by seven centuries: Cologne Cathedral. The iconic monument served as an unusual recording studio for Grandbrothers’ fourth album. The resulting album pulses with a rare sense of history and architecture, allowing the spatial properties of this extraordinary building to shape and deepen the duo’s compositions.
The idea emerged after a concert in 2019, when the church’s master builder unexpectedly asked if they wanted to perform a concert there. Three years later, Grandbrothers played a one-of-a-kind concert in the massive main nave of the Cathedral, performing music that had been specially designed for the vast size and acoustics. Leading up to the concert, Sarp and Vogel wound up preparing a whole album’s worth of material, which turned into Late Reflections. Although intimately linked to the concert, it is not a live album; the duo recorded the work at the Cathedral across a series of nights in July.
At its core, this is a deeply collaborative album—not just a collaboration between two unorthodox musical partners, but a collaboration between Grandbrothers and the Cathedral itself, which subtly steered the duo towards more ambient, atmospheric sounds. Late Reflections is evocative and immersive, and it asks as many questions as it answers: What does it mean for music to interact with architecture and physical space? How can composers keep their approach fresh more than a decade into their career? For Grandbrothers, the answer was to go where no recording artist of their genre has gone before, even if 20,000 visitors go there each day.