In 2018, along with Knapp, Tillmans returned to more song-based recordings, producing “ON MY OWN” (3:37). As Tillmans explains, “‘ON MY OWN’ uses the screeching noises from New York subway trains. That’s a very important part of how I work because I can’t play [instruments] myself, but I have a very clear idea for sounds and melodies, for the recordings that I bring to Tim. He modulates, modifies them, and builds them into their tracks as we produce them. Field recording sounds are, of course, a kind of audio photography. So there is also that connection to my visual art practice.”
Particularly poignant at this critical moment of self-isolation around the world, the song’s mantric lyrics repeat the refrain: “I’m on my own and not alone.” Tillmans selected this musical composition about togetherness, which he sings against his own recordings of moving trains in New York City’s subway, to share with everyone.
“On My Own” credits: Vocals and field recordings by Wolfgang Tillmans. All instruments by Tim Knapp except string machine by Jay Pluck. Music by Tillmans, Knapp. Lyrics by Tillmans. Produced by Tim Knapp and Wolfgang Tillmans. Mixed by Klaus Knapp and Tim Knapp. Mastered by Klaus Knapp at Trixx Studios, Berlin.