Can you be alone with yourself? And do you enjoy your own company? This is what Juergen Fritsch, who records music under the moniker Silverkeim, explores in his debut album, The Company You Keep In The Empty Moments.
The multi-layered sound from the instrumental release draws influences from a combination of alt-rock, electronic, psychedelic, and minimalist classical music. Similar to Explosions in the Sky, Moby, Mono, and Portishead, The Company You Keep In The Empty Moments is sometimes soulful, sometimes cinematic, and sometimes gloomy. Yet, the entirety of the album is so artfully blended together that it’s hard to tell where one track ends and another begins.
Fritsch says that, “If you’re in the mood to reflect and think about more existential topics, this is the soundtrack to do so.” This concept of self-reflection and alone time rolled over from his creative process. The German-born, Point Breeze-based musician wrote, produced, recorded, and played every instrument for The Company You Keep… himself. But, when Fritsch started working on the project two and a half years ago, he had no intention of it being a solo endeavor.
“I usually prefer to work with other people because it takes you in new directions and you get kind of inspired by other people’s ideas. But also you make compromises and hold back a little bit of what you bring to the table,” says Fritsch. “When it’s your solo project, you have complete freedom to express yourself artistically any way you want.”
Since Fritsch had free-reign he intentionally chose to leave lyrics out, allowing for a deeper personal connection when listening to the album.
“Usually when you have lyrics or vocals, you are led a certain way by the lyrics, you think about whatever the writer [sings] about,” says Fritsch. “I like the idea of having instrumental music because it doesn’t pull you in a direction but leaves it completely up to you. All you have to go by is the title and the music.”
The goal for The Company You Keep…was not just to capture Fritsch’s feelings and emotions but to capture the state of personal reflection: The feeling of being by yourself, working on yourself, discovering what you like about yourself, and what you don’t like about yourself. Do you like the company you keep in the empty moments?
“If you’re in the mood to reflect and think about more existential topics, this is the soundtrack to do so.”
Although Fritsch has been making music for the last 20 years, this is his first album to be recorded and released. Fritsch’s focus has been M*Modal, a Squirrel Hill-based tech company he co-founded. Because of this, Fritsch is in the position where he doesn’t need to make a lot of money from the release. All the proceeds from the sale of his physical album will go to Rainbow Kitchen Community Services of Pittsburgh.
“I’d much rather use the opportunity to raise money for them because it’s a good purpose and I’d really like to support the local community,” says Fritsch.
The Company You Keep In The Empty Moments is available on all streaming platforms Thu., Jan. 17. silverkeim.com