It all starts with an ambiguous invitiation: „Welcome Tourist“! A kind-hearted Bernhard Fleischmann invites travellers to make themselves at home in his musical world, furnished with musical souvenirs from his own travels.On a more subtle note, Fleischmann wants to criticize a state of mind that subordinates human beings to a logic of economic utilization. Bernhard knows full well that music without lyrics can hardly express any political thoughts. In order to make his point clear, „Welcome Tourist“ opens with the song „02/00“ which features an explicitly political quote by American author and philosopher H.D. Thoreau, which was originally published in 1848 in his essay on „Civil Disobedience“, a piece which still is relevant today, maybe more than ever.
„Welcome Tourist“ is not just a political statment. It also is a document of growth and refinement. Despite a more instrumental approach(in the classical sense),you will still find Bernhard Fleischmann hunched over his tiny groovebox, creating the most sumptuous harmonies. On this record, however, he lets his musical talents unfold (you’ll hear him on piano, drums and vibraphone) and engages the support of others, which turns the once solo artist into a band frontman. In harmony with this functional shift, the music also undergoes a change, which shines through on „Le Desir“ and „Sleep“, which have been previously released, but now feature new vocals by Charhizma label owner Christof Kurzmann. The addition of vocals strongly emphasises a key aspect of Bernhard’s work, namely its song oriented approach. Both „Le Desir“ and „Sleep“ work in both versions.
Compared to Bernhard Fleischmann’s earlier work, „Welcome Tourist“ might not appear as accessible. Bursts of noise and distortion have now become as important as the trademark melodies circling through his songs. Bernhard does not want this to be seen as a (political) expression of uneasiness. Rather it just refers to his ongoing love affair with noisy guitar bands.
Working with different musicians had a direct influence on the outcome of each song. Usually, a groovebox composition by Bernhard marks the start of the mutual working process. The initial composition retreats more and more during the development of the final piece until there’s nothing left but a shadow, a blurry trace, that nonetheless leaves its mark on the result. This is in particular true of the 46 minute long piece, aptly titled „Take Your Time“. The title’s invitation adresses both musicians and listeners, of whom the latter has to apply another way of listening different to what he’s used to while listening to three minute pop songs. This piece relates to the album’s title „Welcome Tourist“ as „Take Your Time“ presents itself as a perfectly dramatised journey, a radio play almost without words (and it also features lots of those found sounds Bernhard picked up while traveling). The individual voices/instruments work as allegoric figures representing modes and atmospheres which automaically trigger images. The arrangement delicately treats those instruments as recurring motifs, some work together, some against each other. And others again appear as variations of themselves, reinterpreting what already has been „said“ and thus developing the plot towards its end. All of this creates a special magnetism that helps to maintain the tension holds the listener captive throughout the entirety of „Take Your Time“.