Markus Reinhardt has serious history as the founder of Hamburg based hit-making synth pop duo Wolfsheim (named after a character in The Great Gatsby). His band lit up the German charts with album releases such as ‘Spectators’ (1999) and ‘Casting Shadows’ (2003), which reached no 2 and no 1 respectively and saw them winning the ‘Best Alternative Domestic Band’ gong at the prestigious national Echo Music Prize awards ceremony in 2004.
Following a well-publicised anachronistic break-up of the band, Reinhardt returned in October 2020 with his most personal, authentic work to date as Renard and the release of a debut solo album entitled ’Waking Up In A Different World’. “The end of Wolfsheim motivated me to reinvent myself. A process that was urgently needed. With Renard, I’m more with myself,” he stated. “My album combines the sound and mood of the 80’s with the stylistic devices of today.”
Renard showcases Reinhardt’s signature intimate songwriting in symbiosis with renowned producers Oliver Blair (Ladytron, Client, Kelli Ali of Sneaker Pimps, etc) and the Hamburg based Chaos Compressor Club (Moddi, Love A, etc).
Vocal duties on the album are shared by several talents. The distinctive voice of Sarah Blackwood (Client, Dubstar) can be heard on ‘Heresy’, a lyric video for which is available now. Elsewhere, the special timbre of Pascal Finkenauer can be heard on both ‘Travel In Time’ (the album’s lead single) and ‘Junkyards’. Urban-folk singer Joseh brings a sense of uplifting spirituality to ‘The Meissen Figurine’, multiple award-winning Greek vocalist/composer Marietta Fafouti lends her beautiful voice to ‘Restless’ and the Berlin based Australian Eliza Hiscox (royalchord) enchants on ‘My Heart’s Still Shaking’. Two other songs, ‘Hotel’ and ‘Damn Happy’, see Reinhardt collaborate with German singer Marian Gold, the co-founder of legendary fellow hit-makers Alphaville.
‘Waking Up In A Different World’ is an apt title for this splendid debut album and an ambitious musical rebirth for Reinhardt post-Wolfsheim. Despite his deep roots in the independent music scene of the 80’s, this is a contemporary, modern take on synth-pop and a multifaceted and emotionally dense work of art.