The car’s front visors were down as we squinted ahead on the German Autobahn. It was a gloriously bright and warm Sunday in late winter. Destination: Ludwigsburg and the Bauer Studios.
Stefan, Dani, and Anne converged from nearby Offenburg; Jamie, Krista, Marc, and Alari drove up from Basel; and Jakob took the fast train down from Hamburg. The purpose was to lay down the vocal tracks on one of Marc Storace’s solo numbers in TEST, the song “I Been Thinking A Lot.”
The contrast inside to the sunshine pouring down outside was stark. In the windowless depths of the recording studio there were only the hushed spaces and cool atmosphere of a wine cellar.
As we settled into the control room, we looked through the glass and watched Marc prepare to sing. He had asked that all the lights on his side of the glass be turned off. A single reading light illuminated his text. Behind him and around him, total blackness. The reading light cast an ethereal shadow back up at Marc’s face. Marc was in this clean, cool, unadorned place, enveloped in darkness but splashed in light.
It was a magical moment. We could see that Marc had set up the environment he wanted for the focus and concentration he needed. A writer may prefer a well-lit room with a spacious library, while a painter may want a room with a view of the sea. Marc wrapped himself in a room of pure black intensity where the little light that there was fell off a cliff out of the blackness and onto his face and text. It was a beautiful 45 minutes of the artist at work.
When the lights came up again, Marc came to console side of the studio and his energy gave the space an extra intensity.
The Bauer Studios have been helping musicians and singers such as Marc Storace perfect their sound for more than 60 years. It has been the go-to establishment for German rock and jazz musicians, and has even had quick visits from Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis.
After Marc’s recording we all stumbled into the sunlight, dazzled more by Marc’s performance than the beautiful day outside. We used the moment for a photo opportunity, and the looks on the faces tell it all: this was one really special day. And another milestone for TEST. The result you can hear in the Media section of the TEST website.