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"Carry on Wise Guy" is bursting with soul, knowledge and studio experience - to such a degree it's hard to believe that the full-blooded musician standing behind Airmate is only 27 years old. Hannes Bieger is undoubtedly an exceptional talent. After producing Deep-House-Hits, film music and the album for the duo LLava, he now debuts with his solo project, Airmate, in which he gives free rein to his immense passion for soul music. For "Carry on Wise Guy" he invited top-class vocalists from London, New York and Berlin to his studio in Berlin-Kreuzberg and

produced this multifarious album that interweaves soul with pop-appeal, club energy and the sensitivity of jazz.

The opening track "Messing Around" declares the vibe on which the versatile spectrum of "Carry on Wise Guy" unfolds in a soulful, rich and honest manner. Over funky Minimoog riffs and tight breaks, no less a person than British Zero 7 lead singer Mozez sings as if Curtis Mayfield was visiting Berlin´s "Kiez" neighbourhood. Likewise, "Let It Go" which evolved in co-operation with the fantastic Izzi Dunn has the qualities to be a true hit. The compact pop song is tailored as a perfect fit for the renowned singer and cellist (Gorillaz, 4hero, George Harrison, et al.): profound and yet light-footed, she floats over the casual down beat, which would also suit Erykah Badu.

In "Doin´ Rounds" featuring De-Phazz singer Pat Appleton, a charming brass section acknowledges the soul music of the "Golden Seventies" performed by artists such as Al Green and Donny Hathaway. Newcomer Thief in "Slow Down" fills the gap to Neo-Folk with a dreamy desire. "No Chains" makes it obvious that Airmate is also a native of the club scene: Seven minutes of rhythmic elegance return broken beats to the floor. The rapid story-telling by Fat Jon of the Five Deez adds hip-hop of the Open Minded School to the remarkable bandwidth of the album. One of the climaxes of "Carry On Wise Guy" is the hypnotic tingling song "The Love Below", which features Platnum. Here, references do not carry you very far: this is grand art, which simply knocks music lovers off their feet.

Not only by selecting international vocalists, Airmate effortlessly surpasses local and national German borders. Although his home base of Berlin is increasingly developing into an intersection for soul hybrids with protagonists such as Jazzanova, Hannes Bieger´s sensibility for jazz draws more on the translation of classic ideals, comparable to the approach of 4hero.

The pop moments on "Carry on Wise Guy" bring to mind genre-bursting acts like Moloko or Portishead. The music knowledge that is turned into production is based on a wide appreciation of musicians ranging from Led Zeppelin to Pharoah Sanders and Antonio Carlos Jobim and on to Lalo Schifrin and Matthew Herbert.
Hannes Bieger uses all these influences to sharpen the contours of his musical philosophy and turn them into a consummate form: music has to be accessible and complex at the same time. Under the layers of the inviting gestures of pop and the immediate intensity of jazz and soul, complex structures and a richness of detail stretch out.

Standalone statements are Hannes Bieger's means of production. He refrains from racing for the latest software plug-in and instead prefers to rely on his exquisite collection of analogue instruments: the Minimoog, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Clavinet form the source of the warm and noble sound characteristics. Needless to say, Hannes Bieger, a specialist and technical author of high-end vintage recording equipment - not only utilises old tube compressors but also digital means. And he does so without dispersing the magic of the moment: the production of the album took only half a year.

"Carry on Wise Guy" is the impressive freestyle of one of the biggest talents in Germany’s landscape of producers. In conjunction with some of his favourite vocalists, Hannes Bieger as Airmate has created fifteen immaculate and vibrant pieces, which immediately touch, move and thrive with time.

As openly as Airmate interprets quality music, he encapsulates soul as a universal vibe with coherent and straightforward production.

Guest List on the album "Carry On Wise Guy":

Mozez alias Osmond Wright was born on Jamaica and has been living in London for many years. As the singer of Zero 7, he participated on both of the bands successful albums. Last autumn, he released his solo album, ‘So Still’ on Apace Music. It was produced by Guy Sightsworth, who has previously written hits for Bjoerk, Madonna and Seal. For his debut, he was supported by Zero 7 and Nightmares on Wax, whose latest album features his vocals. Mozez voice can also be found on the album from Soul G And Tony Match.

Izzi Dunn is one of Britain´s most versatile and coveted musicians. The singer, cellist and keyboard player has worked together with MJ Cole, Roots Manuva and Soul II Soul and is one of London’s finest soul vocalists. As a cellist, she has played with George Harrison, Oasis and 4hero and she also has toured with Gorillaz. Her highly regarded solo album "The Big Picture" was released by "Fireworx".

Pat Appleton lives in Berlin. Many listeners will recognise her voice from the German Lounge collective, De-Phazz and their hit single "The Mambo Craze". She has previously collaborated with Hannes Bieger: featuring on the LLava Album, as well as on the Bossa Boutique 12" single (both also released on Mole Listening Pearls).

Berlin based Brazilian Singer Pat C. is best known by her association with Bungalow Records, where she has worked with Le Hammond Inferno, Maxwell Implosion. She also worked together with Stereo Deluxe. As the singer behind Fantastic Plastic Machine she has had great international success, most notably in Japan.

Marishka Phillips hails from New York. In Germany, the singer and actress was discovered by Sandboy (aka Homegrown), who featured her on his song "The Hike" (which can be found on the compilation "Listening Pearls - Future Point Of Contact"). While still a relative unknown in Europe, Marishka is an established jazz singer in the US.

With the release of her debut album ‘Rock Me‘ on ‘Sonar Kollektiv‘, Ruth-Maria Renner - aka Platnum - is now appreciated by a wider audience. Born in Romania, the established Berlin singer has also been working with Cultured Pearls and Soulounge. She shares a long-time musical association with Hannes Bieger.

Fat Jon comes from Cincinnati/USA and has lived in Berlin for a couple of years. With no fear of contact to electronic genres, the MC and HipHop producer has been well received by the Dub, House and Clicks´n´Cuts communities. While his sound transforms the HipHop sound into the digital era, he sticks to his roots in the golden age of HipHop by collaborating with Talib Kweli and J.Rawls amongst others. Recently, his group Five Deez released the album "Kommunikator", released on the label !K7.

Thief featured on both folk compilations of "Secret Love" by Jazzanova. Currently producing his debut album with Jazzanova/Extended Spirit, his status as a relative unknown will be over when it´s released.

Urzula Amen comes from Sweden. She played in a band with Hannes Bieger during his time in Hamburg and also sang on the Airmate-12" that was released on Nightclubbing.Music in 2003. Urzula has also worked with Rivera Rotation and Taverne Du Lac. She finishes "Carry on Wise Guy" with a fresh pop appeal.


Frequencies (Nightclubbing.Music) 12"

Carry On Wise Guy (mole071-2) CD, mp3

Photos by Anne-Marie Jonsbak