Aside from Werner Pirchner’s „Himmelblau”, the nine duos which Christian Muthspiel composed especially for this album form a cycle of duets in the mood set by the first track, „Pas de deux tranquille”. Muthspiel is featured on trombone, piano, e-piano and once even on the recorder, alongside Steve Swallow, whose distinctive sound on the bass guitar is perfectly suited for this project. Overdubs, loops and other electronic effects were intentionally avoided in order to focus on the pure quality of the playing.
The underlying principle for all of the compostions on this album was to keep it simple, both in terms of composition and sound; to seek refinement in simplicity and to follow the natural, consistent development of one small musical cell per song.
The progression of keys, modes and tempos from one piece to another also played an important role. The liner notes to this album are by the Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr, who writes very pictorially: „When I hear the Simple Songs that Christian Muthspiel has composed and then he and his companion Steve Swallow have made twirl and soar and float, I am sometimes transported to a riverbank in summer,
where the branches of a wild elder tree, stones and grasses become the neck and body of a bass guitar or the tuning slide and bell of a trombone played with thrilling ease, and even the most complex melodies seem but a virtuoso’s pleasure garden.
Christian Muthspiel produced the artwork for the Gatefold cover using a special „Hinterglastechnik”, done with wood ash and white acrylic paint behind glass.