Photo: Katja Ruge

On May 24, Henrik Schwarz and the award-winning Alma string quartet will release CCMYK, a new album on Schwarz’ own label, Between Buttons. We’re told to expect a free-flowing conversation between classical and electronic music, with tracks that are as fitting for a club as they are for a concert hall.

Schwarz has been exploring this fertile terrain between classical, electronic, and dance music for almost a decade. Having produced some of the most elegant dance records of the 2000s, he has spent much of his later years collaborating with jazz musicians, orchestras, writing ballets, and reconfiguring canonical classical works.

The story of CCMYK is the story of chance, communication, and control. In 2013, after performing with the Dutch Chamber Orchestra in Amsterdam, Schwarz was introduced to Alma String Quartet violinist Marc Daniel van Biemen. In 2015, Schwarz invited the four players to his studio in Berlin where they began working on a series of improvisations. Schwarz would suggest a musical phrase, and one of the Alma Quartet members would play in response, with another then taking up the idea and complementing it. 

This process saw highly trained classical musicians playing and recording as a jazz band. Schwarz would respond to their classical creations with his own electronic productions. He would then take these half-hour jams home and edit them down, sculpting them into coherent tracks. During this process, he would add electronic melodies and beats, sometimes inviting the quartet musician back to respond to the alterations thus carefully building and refining each song.

“I love finding the essence of something,” says Schwarz. “I see it like working on a sculpture that someone else began, and to make it visible, you have to cut away until you can see what’s really there. So you find this balance between free and controlled. We would begin with this totally open vibe, and condense the freeform music into this finished work.”

CCMYK LP lands on May 24 via Between Buttons, with two live dates confirmed below. 

May 8: Between Buttons Label Night, XJAZZ Festival, Emmauskirche, Berlin, Germany. 

May 24: Record Release Show, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

You can find more information on the project here


01. CCMYK4

02. CCMYK8

03. CCMYK9

04. CCMYK1

05. CCMYK3

06. CCMYK10

07. Happy Hipster 

08. CCMYK18