This woman is in the worst possible mood. In a helpless act of aggression, in a kind of last-ditch self- defence, she destroys the place where she has worked most of her life. The stewardess in the video for "Transatlantic Flight" doesn't know what else to do and simply torches the plane. "Sunny Bay", the second album by Odd Beholder, the electronica / art pop project by Swiss musician Daniela Weinmann, will be released on September 10, 2021.
On the debut album "All Reality Is Virtual", everything revolves around digitalisation – around the uncanny collection of our data, but also around the spiritual importance of enduring loneliness. On her second album "Sunny Bay", Weinmann now turns her gaze to nature. On the romantic ideas associated with it. On escapism and alienation. And on nature as a process.
For the work on "Sunny Bay", Weinmann radically turned back on herself. Partly necessarily, as a result of the lockdowns of the last year. But above all it is a conscious decision. Weinmann sees the formation processes of the debut album and the two EPs before it as a getting to know of the ideas of her respective fellow musicians. For the current pieces, she makes no compromises: "I want to hear them exactly as they sound in my imagination. It has to feel right. The songs are in the centre. I have subordinated the production to them as much as possible without losing the interest in producing."
Whereas before the respective studios were decisive for the creation of the music, now it is Weinmann's room in a former factory. Directly on the water, outside the window it is incredibly green, there are an incredible number of spiders and insects, a family of swans, a beaver, an owl. Outside her window, their lives can be followed more impressively than it would normally be possible in a city: "The owl is incredibly cute. But he is a killing machine. There are lots of skeletons under his tree. I can watch the complete cycle of life and death here in all its slowness and relentlessness. Nature just does its thing, it's uncontrollable, unplannable."
For Weinmann, this is an important impulse. For a while she had toyed with the idea of setting up the new pieces as a counterpart to the debut album. But the conceptual, this urge for control seems increasingly unnatural to her. Instead, she concentrates on making music from within herself, letting the ideas unfold and take shape on their own.
„Sunny Bay" thus grows into a negotiation between dream and reality. A place of longing between utopia and alienation. An apparent paradise to recover from the constant exhaustion. From the daily fear of – shortly after waking up – doing too little again that day, while our hyperproductivity eats up the planet. "Sunny Bay" is a refuge into a picture of nature that is heartfelt, gentle and pleasant, but which has little in common with the owl outside Weinmann's window. On "Sunny Bay" Weinmann lets this fragile escapism collide in slow motion with another, droning reality: A story of escape told as a road movie. An environmental disaster contrasted with a disaster movie. Everywhere the images shatter.
Weinmann elaborates: "The cake floating away on the album cover, the burning rollerblades on the cover of 'Disaster Movies' – these are dreams, even my girls' dreams, that are broken. But they are no sustainable dreams. Acknowledging that they exist in order to let them go releases a lot of new power. I am already concerned with the extinction of dreams, but not in a destructive sense. We've learned to read such an end negatively, while it's a beginning and a liberation."
Just like "Sunny Bay" is the result of a liberation process in the first place. Weinmann explains why she didn't take the reins completely earlier: "It has to do with discrimination. But that's hard to grasp, because it's not a single person or central experience. It's thousands of little things. Whenever you take something in your hand as a woman, a guy is there to explain to you, unasked, how it actually works. And over all these years in the grand scheme of things, it does something to your self- perception. Obviously you can't do it, even though you can. And then you tend to pass things off."
For the current videos, Weinmann worked exclusively with women: "I wanted to work with a woman on camera because I hadn't done that before. And it was so easy to find her! It just takes the will to do it. I got so many great messages."
She continues, "It bothered me that it was so much easier to develop a shared vision. Without long explanations. I think a lot of valuable art is just lost in long discussions and one-sided lack of understanding. A lot of a female perspective just goes unheard because of that."
For "Sunny Bay", Weinmann has opted for a point of view that she herself sees as toxic femininity: "As a white woman, I'm full of problems. I'm still in second place, after all, I've been socialised as a man under capitalism. I want to narrate the bad woman who can't understand that she can shape emancipation in a way that is solidary and for the best for everyone. She's just angry, and she wants to destroy everything, but nothing about it is constructive." The pieces on "Sunny Bay" are also a confrontation with one's own block to doing something better. Weinmann continues, "I can't let go, and ask myself what my problem actually is. I see myself as a toxic protagonist trying to understand why she is so toxic."
As co-founder of the Swiss offshoot of Music Declares Emergency, she also sees her involvement in this light: "That's my approach to really make a difference as a non-artistic persona. To really be a person who pitches in and tries to find alternatives. In art I don't want to be accountable, I want to be able to be angry. Like the stewardess. She has my sympathies, but she is not a role model. As a human being, I have responsibilities."
"Sunny Bay" by Odd Beholder will be released on 10.09.2021.