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Coming together again in October 2016 to prepare for a week-long residency culminating in a festival at the Funkhaus in Berlin — the former headquarters of the GDR state radio - the players wrote, rehearsed, and developed the ideas they had been pinging back and forth via the internet in the venue’s Studio 2, an exquisite, wood-panelled room with remarkable acoustics. “What that room created is pretty indescribable,” recalls Leaneagh. “It was a little cocoon.”

When Stargaze arrived to premiere the project in Minneapolis however it was the day after Trump’s election, and they found their new bandmates reeling. It was in the wake of this news — and just a day before the premiere, that Leaneagh wrote one of the album’s most sublime pieces, How Is This Happening. “The famous question is always ‘which came first the music or the words?’” says de Ridder. “And I honestly think in this project the music came first and then Channy found the words that were going to capture the atmosphere of the music. Or transcend them. Or contrast them. So it was interesting with How Is This Happening, at the last minute to turn the process on its head.

She just made up her lyrics and her vocal line, and she sang it to us, and we started playing to it, and arranging it as we were playing, everyone being aware of what was happening in America at that time.” The resultant album feels more than a simple collaboration, something more than a sum of its parts, a record with its own unique life force and distinctive voice. For de Ridder, the album’s title, Music For The Long Emergency, reflects the confusion of the times. “It had a meaning of music being a haven, giving you a ray of hope,” says de Ridder. “An alternative reality. And that became a theme of the music too. Quite a lot of the music is a little dark, and it does reflect what has been going on, but also incredible beauty at the same time which we hung onto because we needed to.”

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