“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” Stanley Kubrick
It was with great luck that I was able to discover Listener in the Hamburg-based venue Hafenklang a few years ago. I saw three men on stage, playing the very music I missed so much since the “break up” of Hot Water Music. There weren`t a lot of people in the audience, but I got the impression that I was not the only one with goose bumps in the room. The band’s three previous records were completely sold out, so I did something I’d never done in my label history so far: I asked for a re- release. We agreed and I developed the lasered Special Editions. On the day of the release, my server collapsed, because I received too many orders and by then I also recognized for the first time how many fans Listener have worldwide, because the orders really came in from all over the world. This is even more impressiv, if you know that Listener publish either on their own or on very small labels. These fans they earn themselves with their almost 150 shows a year and the good old mouth- to-mouth propaganda.
I think this echo for their music is coming, or at least that’s how it works with me, through another form of poetry in their lyrics. Dan, the singer, calls it talkmusic, I would describe it as a form of storytelling, as it is common in more original forms of music. Away from the idiom, the idle gesture, the staging, to the story, which must be told. And this is exactly where the genius of this band shows itself. Because these stories could also be made by Kubrick, Gus van Sant or Wes Anderson. They are small-scale and self-consistent, they make a big whole and yet are like a fragmented mirror in front of you and let only guess what world you can expect. Now, Being Empty: Being Filled is the first release I have been able to join from the start, and I hope this album will do many rounds on your turntables. Gregor Samsa
If you want to make it easy, the basic theme of the new, fourth album “Being Empty: Being Filled” could be the reference to all the outstanding personalities being presented on it. But it’s not that easy, of course. Listener have become louder, the guitars more rocking, sometimes more angry. Kris hits the drums as if there is no tomorrow. But this is just the musical side. The other is poetry and Dan sings, or should we say, talks, about life, with its edges, with the big moments, the many questions and the many failures, like no other singer in this world. No pathos, no false theatricality obscures the view of the content of the narrative. This way Dan recounts his stories, which may be our stories, makes Listener by a long way one of the most interesting bands of today. It is these analogies that best describe our time and let us understand them. This pointing out the contradictions without lifting your finger. This warmth, which in the end still gives hope, makes their music unique.