maike zazie matern is a pianist and a composer. holder of magistra degree in literature with highest honors from both humboldt universität and freie universität of berlin, she has also studied in tübingen and uppsala, sweden. influenced by this passion for both music and literature she composes and performs unconventional piano compositions. she operates in the crossroads of the two arts, her medium being a type of sonic literature in both form and content: she composes pieces of music as she puts stories down on paper; she chooses notes as carefully as she chooses words. for her, sound is a language which enable storytelling. her music is to be received as an experimental radio play or voice theatre or as a sonic essay.
language also has a musical connotation: the sparse vocals, which alternate between swedish and german, are melodious and help set the tone. generally, she says, everything has a melody, "all sound and tone, also silence... all my ears are able to absorb". her work combines classical training with soulful sounds that are familiar, but have perhaps gone unnoticed.
born in 1983 near the old german university town of heidelberg, matern's first musical influences, though probably a bit dampened, began in 1982 listening to her father playing the piano in the living room, her parents’ singing voices and the sound of her mother's heartbeat.
upon fully entering the world, her early influences from her parents' lp-collection included keith jarrett and miles davis providing musical guidance throughout the 80s. the german children song collection das liedmobil might have had similar relevance: A first confrontation with a “prepared piano” and a piece of music with a couple of clocks. in the 90s she began a classical piano education between satie and chopin, and at the age of twelve she discovered the music of tori amos featuring piano in pop music. later influences came from electroacoustic artists such as björk, múm, amiina and midaircondo and from neoclassical tunes by among others arvo pärt.
maike zazie's first forays into fragmental piano improvisations started along with the new millennium, and in 2006 she started her solo project zazie von einem anderen stern. the debut album regen:tropfen [rain:drops] had been recorded in a small room with a garden view and at nils frahm's durtonstudio and partly during one winter and one spring in sweden in a forest near uppsala. it has been released in october 2010 and further also her multi-instrumental sound poem an open field for peter broderick’s project numbers at the same time. fragmente nie geschriebener briefe [fragments of never written letters] is her second album.
her compositions are stunning, brittle, fragile and melancholic, with the occasional outburst of childish exuberance, similar to an electro-acoustic daydream in stark contrast to the manic pace of the urban life she lives. matern takes the time in each piece to develop a calm, harmonious progression. the debut album regen:tropfen features piano tones, voice, cello, glockenspiel, field recordings, found sounds and also silence as an equivalent form of sound. listeners feel reminded of ludovico einaudi, yann tiersen or soap & skin as well as friends like nils frahm and peter broderick.