Join Austrian musician and journalist Robert Rotifer, launching his new album "Holding Hands in Petrópolis'' in London this October.
He will share the stage with beloved fellow musicians including Amelia Fletcher, Helen McCookerybook, Ian Button, Paul Pfleger, and Ruth Tidmarsh. The event will also feature a special performance by indie pop sensation from Austria PAUL & PETS, followed by a set from the psych pop wonders LOOKING GLASS ALICE.
For more info & tickets, click here.
Holding Hands in Petrópolis In February 1942, having fled persecution but lost all hope in the world, the Jewish Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and his second wife Lotte took their own lives in the Brazilian city Petropolis. There is a photo of both of them in bed, dead but still holding hands, that has haunted Robert Rotifer for a long time. It came to his head again as he wrote He's not ill, a sprawling 7 minute song based on the beat of an old Carousel rhythm machine and the words passed on by Jean-Luc Godard's lawyers after he left this world last year - and it gave him the title of this album.
Holding Hands in Petropolis is Robert Rotifer's 11th record in 23 years, and his first new music since the all-acoustic About Us album in 2019. Since then he has been involved in a number of projects. He recorded the collaborative, bilingual Equal Parts EPs with fellow singer-songwriter Helen McCookerybook, and the album Thunderclouds as part of Louis Philippe & The Night Mail. He contributed to the Papernut Cambridge album Channel Suite, played guitar and was musical director to a 14-piece band for a string of televised house concerts by legendary Austrian artist Andre Heller, as well as gigging with Fay Hallam in the revival of her 1980s mod soul band Makin' Time and the rocking post-twee super group Swansea Sound… all of this alongside his day job as a journalist and broadcaster making radio shows and writing articles on music, arts and politics for various radio stations and magazines in the German-speaking world.
In the summer of 2022 Rotifer set to work on this new set of songs, calling on friends and collaborators to contribute. Ian Button overdubbed drums and some mellotron, Fay Hallam played keys on a few tracks, Helen McCookerybook and Kenji Kitahama added backing vocals, Amelia Fletcher sang co-lead on Red Yellow Orange & Green, plus there were also contributions from Austrian musicians such as Ernst Molden and Paul Pfleger, uniting the two separate musical worlds Rotifer has been moving in since leaving Vienna for the UK some 26 years ago.
As a result, Holding Hands in Petropolis is sonically rich and varied, sometimes even downright groovy in spite of its inevitably caustic lyrics (That was the Time, Chewing on the Bones of the Sacred Cow, Man in Sandwich Board), sometimes rocking (Change is in the Air), then gentle and melancholy (Those Dreams Again, Red Yellow Orange & Green), bookended by its two most expansive tracks He's not ill and Slipped in the Rain. The arrangements are both spontaneous and detailed - sometimes a delicate web of interlinking guitar parts, sometimes stark and spacious. Most of all though, Holding Hands in Petropolis is an album about the right to despair, but full of humour too - a palpably self- experienced assessment of life in a world that defies the inevitability of the progress we were taught to believe in. Expressing this, Rotifer says, is not so much a career move as a means of keeping my head from exploding.
Robert Wyatt called Rotifer's writing unique in its conscientious clarity without being simple, and Bill Fay has described his work as both musically and lyrically brilliant. Holding Hands in Petropolis will be available on LP, CD and digital from Gare Du Nord Records - the label Robert Rotifer co-founded in 2013.