Exploration and play are at the core of Simon Popp’s creative process. Classically trained in jazz drumming and polyrhythm, the Bavarian-born artist draws from a vast array of percussive instruments to build his expansive sound palette. Learning the drums and listening to a wide range of genres from a young age instilled in him a ravenous musical curiosity that resonates throughout his various projects: as a solo artist under his own name, his duo-projects 9ms and Enji&Popp or Fazer, the group he co-founded with conservatory peers Martin Brugger, Paul Brändle, Matthias Lindermayr, and fellow drummer Sebastian Wolfgruber in 2018.
Popp’s debut album Laya, as well as his follow-ups Devi and Blizz make use of rhythms as storytelling mechanisms. Contrasting light and dark, organic and synthetic sounds, his compositions engage in a dance of subtle complexities, enticing the listener into the practice of close listening. Throughout Blizz, regionally diverse instruments such as singing bowls, balafon and slit drums take flight, floating freely over earth-bound counter rhythms, conjuring up call and response techniques inherent in polyrhythmic music. This technique favours experimentation over perfectionism, leaving space for happy accidents to unlock new melodic possibilities. According to Popp, “it’s much more interesting to try to push the boundaries of an instrument to see what’s possible.”
Closely affiliated with Munich-based label Squama, who revolve around the axis of contemporary jazz, minimal and ambient influences, Popp’s extensive output through Fazer, 9ms, Enji & Popp and Runden showcase his passion for collaborating across a variety of avant-garde and popular music. His latest album 'Blizz' sees Popp delve deeper into this interplay between electronic and organic percussive sounds to new and delightful results.