Environ Me is an audio-visual journey accompanied by a collection of expertly made films. Each track represents a different element and contains its own inspired and individual concept, varying from the use of wildlife, fire and water to manmade steel, gears, Velcro and more. Constructed using his signature percussive skills as well as electronic manipulation and sounds recorded directly from an array of natural sources, the album is a dynamic and poignant exploration that harnesses the best of Manu Delago's adventurous spirit and singular vision.
Manu Delago
ENVIRON ME
Imagine a musical forest consisting of 20 double basses, each placed on a tree strump in a felled forest with their players behind them. The piece starts with a chainsaw-esque intro, sonically cutting down a tree. But then the track takes a very calm turn with a soothing handpan pattern accompanied by the double bass forest directly recorded in nature.

All musicians involved agreed to abstain from a fee for the project and plant a forest instead. These young Elm trees will store CO2 and protect against storms and erosions as they get bigger, while stabilising surrounding coniferous forests that suffer from global heating.

Trees For The Wood
In May 2021 my band & crew cycled more than 1500 kilometres around Austria and played 18 concerts on the ‘ReCycling Tour’. All musical instruments and the required equipment for the live performances were transported in specially built bicycle trailers. The travel party of six crew members generated electricity using solar panels. The track ‘ReCycling’ itself symbolises that journey and features various bicycle sounds, alpine accordion sounds, a recycled vocal hook and a motivating beat for uphill challenges.
ReCycling
When I decided to make an album incorporating the sound of our environment, it was pretty clear that I had to include the mighty element of water. I started by experimenting with various water percussion sounds recorded with an underwater microphone but I soon realised that the track needed a visual component as well, so I invited the choreographer Cornelia Voglmayr to work on ‘Liquid Hands’ with me. Our aim was to create a musical interplay between nature and humans in which the sound of water is featured but is also visibly compelling. We ended up with a musical choreography performed by 4 percussionists performing in/on a very cold lake.
Liquid Hands
Since we filmed the video in Winter, the lake was frozen so we first had to crash bits of the ice sheet that covered the surface. We also needed drysuits to be able to stay in the water for several hours that were needed to shoot the video. For visual reasons our hands had to be exposed and with every take our fingers gradually froze adding making the video shoot even more challenging.

I combined the water sounds with heavily distorted handpan sounds and a slightly aggressive low-end synth, giving ‘Liquid Hands’ a drum’n’bass feel. As a teenage drummer I was heavily into those kinds of beats and finally I made a track on handpans that’s inspired by that electronic genre.

It took a whole year to record this track since the rhythmic backbone is built around footsteps across four seasons. Every three months I returned to the same location and recorded myself walking on the same path. Not only did the surface change, but I also varied the pace accordingly. On Autumn leaves and Winter snow I walked slowly, creating a slightly sustained percussion sound, whereas the crispy gravel invited me to walk faster in Spring and even run in the Summer. Those footsteps melt with minimal handpan melodies, electronic beats and driving synths produced by Matt Robertson.
I find the video for this song very fascinating as the exact same framing of the same location looks so different through the four seasons.

Transformotion
For interesting sounds of our surroundings, nature provided lots of great options but I also wanted to include some urban aspects. On one of many socially distanced walks around London parks I saw and heard two people playing that famous velcro ball game. I decided to not only use that sound as a beat but also make an advanced choreography for three percussionists (which turned out to be very difficult to perform). I paired that playful but steady Velcro beat with a very physical handpan pattern, mainly consisting of upward arpeggios which give the track a driving feel, always moving forward. We all have been thrown a curveball in life at some stage but 2020 has clearly been a big one.
Manu Delago - Curveball
Curveball
The track is symbolic of human interference on the planet. As visual and sonic symbols I chose an electricity pole and the metal framework of a mountain draglift next to it because they appear in the middle of nowhere, where one would expect pure nature. This symbol could be anything else that humans created like square crop fields, glowing cities, never-ending motorways or a cut-down rain forest. 'Interference' is also the opening track of my new album and in a way builds a transition from my last album 'Circadian'. I even used some recordings at the start which were leftover from those sessions. But then the track takes a more electronic direction, and especially at the end it's a real outburst of energy with a drum solo and metallic sounds recorded on that metal framework.

Interference

June 8, 2022 Treibhaus, Innsbruck AT: tickets
June 9, 2022 Radiokulturhaus, Vienna AT: tickets
June 10, 2022 Redbox, Mödling AT: tickets
June 11, 2022 Zahrada, Banska Bystrica SK: tickets
June 13, 2022 Nova Cvernovka, Bratislava SK: tickets
June 14, 2022 DKO, Jihlava CZ: tickets
June 15, 2022 Kulturhaus, Schrems AT: tickets
June 17, 2022 Waldbühne, Berlin GER*: tickets
June 19, 2022 Percussions Festival International, Lausanne CH: tickets

July 1, 2022 Swiss Handpan Festival, Wetzikon CH: tickets
July 8, 2022 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod UK**: tickets
July 9, 2022 Cheltenham Music Festival UK**: tickets
July 30, 2022 Gasteig, Munich GER***: TBA

Aug 17, 2022 Süsterkirche, Bielefeld GER: tickets
Aug 18, 2022 SHMF Kesselhaus, Kiel GER: tickets
Aug 19, 2022 SHMF Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg GER: tickets
Aug 20, 2022 Überschlag Festival, Hannover GER: tickets

*supporting Björk
**w/ Anoushka Shankar & Britten Sinfonia
***Manu Delago Ensemble
TOUR DATES 2022