Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 June 2018

90s Acardipane Again


Primitive GLOOM/DOOM-CORE at its finest. Gabber stripped down to an elemental level that's almost subtle but it's not though if you you know what I mean. Sometimes I think this is just the best sound ever created, why would you need anything else?



Marc Acardipane is so in the zone here. I reckon he could have stayed there for another half an hour at least. I guess this is like an acid counterpart to the first tune.



Noisy gabber shit. An unhinged trip!


Maximal noise overload. An incredible concussive racket that goes fucking mental but somehow doesn't become a mess. It is a perfect cacophony till the end. How the hell does he do that? Acardipane at the peak of his powers. Surely one of the finest musical (?) moments from the 90s.

These 4 tunes are all by Marc Acardipane and are taken from the compilation PHUTURE released on PCP in 1994. When his day of recognition is coming I don't know but it's absurd that it hasn't. He was one of THE two or three great sonic technicians of the 90s.


Monday, 19 February 2018

Dio & Metal & ....



There is something very business like about certain metal. The way they trade singers and guitarists like it's a fucking football draft. The bands don't necessarily feel organic or like a gang.

Somewhere on the internet the other day someone mentioned the lead singer of Whitesnake had been in Deep Purple. I always just thought they were an American poodle hair metal band. I did only know a couple of 80s Whitesnake music videos featuring scantily clad ladies. My metal knowledge is somewhat lacking. I guess I'm more into your 70s hard rock, proto-metal, heavy prog and space rock with huge blind spots when it comes to conventional heavy metal and NWOBHM. I've never been able to get into Iron Maiden or Judas Priest like I have with say the likes of Blue Oyster Cult, Truth & JaneyThin Lizzy, Motorhead, Scorpions or Venom (maybe one day but I'm not holding my breath). Where the hell do bands like Accept and WASP fit in? I guess I need to do some research. Actually I've watched all those Banger docos so I suppose I've just forgotten about the shit groups that I don't care about.

I like Deep Purple (LPs like In Rock, Machine Head, Live In Japan etc.). I only really started to recognise their charms when I got old. They do tend to get overlooked as metal pioneers in favour of your Led Zeppelins and Black Sabbaths, particularly these days. It's weird that I know fuck all about them except maybe they recorded once in a castle in Germany and it burt down or something or nothing (?). I guess I know more about the post-Deep Purple activities of Richie Blackmore because I quite liked Rainbow due to several live videos that used to get played on Rage in the late 80s when I was a teenager. Their 1976 LP Rising is a classic.



Then there was Rainbow's Ronnie James Dio who later joined Black Sabbath for a couple of albums in the early 80s. Not that I know much about him either. I was somehow aware that his first couple of solo records were rated by metal heads and then Henry Rollins once mentioned him in a stand up comedy routine in the early 90s.

Anyway what I'm trying to say is the stories of these people David Coverdale (singer of Deep Purple and Whitesnake), Richie Blackmore (guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow) and Ronnie James Dio (Vocalist extraordinaire of Rainbow, Black Sabbath & solo) are all relatively interesting. Why don't Mojo and the like cover this sort of stuff instead of going over and over the minutiae of Bob Dylan's motor bike spokes (Sure I haven't flicked through an issue for years but I assume....)

Maybe I have to start reading the metal equivalent to Mojo or maybe a history of metal. Any recommendations out there? I did read that Chuck Eddy book on 500 metal albums but that was hardly an overview of orthodox metal. More like one dude's trip into heavy music that pissed off many an orthodox metal head.



Scorpions, they were German. They also rocked.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017 with Marc Acardipane

WE HAVE ARRIVED IN THE PHUTURE



These first two are on the same record from 1990!!!



From 1992 this is a one sided LP.



A classic from 96. A pretty ominous title right there and a rather fitting sound for now doncha' think?

Of course these are all Marc Acardipane aliases and that was an alias for Mark Trauner. Marc was THE German producer of hardcore techno/gabba/gloomcore from 1989 onwards, more like a genre unto himself! Acardipane must have had over 100 pseudonyms and trying to collect his full back catalogue must be a futile task but it would be kind of heroic if you had them all. He had a big thing about 2017. I'm not really sure what it was, can't remember if I ever knew, but perhaps all will be revealed this year. On his record sleeves he kept saying See You In 2017. Surely he's gonna make a comeback and be as big as Beyonce....well it's a nice thought anyway. Perhaps It'll just be the end of the world as we know it and Acardipane will feel fine.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

CHBB


Here's something that has sat in my i-tunes unplayed for a long while. My version doesn't sound quite this good though. So my mp3 might be a bootleg or a demo, I dunno. The Electro Maggot played a version of this track the other day. The actual physical item of this, which is a 10 minute cassette from Germany in 1981, is impossibly rare and fetches big $$$ on e-bay. CHBB only did 4 releases all of which were 10 minute tapes that I am led to believe were only issued in runs of 50. Anyone can find that fabulous Liaisons Dangereuses LP from 1981 in some form or another but these four tapes are sort of The Holy Grail of German Post-Punk. So CHBB are Chrislo Haas and Beate Bartel. Krishna Goineau joined these two later to make up Liaisons Dangereuses but obviously wasn't part of CHBB, so that above youtube title is slightly misleading. The 4 CHBB tapes have never been reissued and I'm not even sure they're anywhere on the web any more. They're just not some obscure collectable though, the music is excellent and right up there with the Liaisons Dangereuses album for innovation. One of CHBB's tunes showed up on that Metal Dance 2 compilation a couple of years back. Who knows if there will ever be a proper reissue of the nine tunes contained within these infamous four C-10s? 

It's pretty good, innit? Thanks for reminding me Electro Maggot.


This one's a mad killer tune from the first tape. I'm pretty sure if you stripped this down to the synth and drum machine it'd pretty much be techno in 81, wouldn't it?


This is gold from the 3rd tape



Classic post-punk tropes from the first tape.


And here's a little bit of a classic from Liaisons Dangereuses that was also on their one and only self titled LP.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

CONRAD SCHNITZLER

Conrad's self-released 6 90 minute tapes
put out in 1982
Well it's been a bit hard to listen to anything but Conrad Schnitzler recently as I discovered quite a bonanza of his music over at Electronic Orgy. The post I'm referring to is from October last year where they uploaded his entire Container project which must have been originally released in 1983 as it contained material recorded between 1971-1983. I'm confused. Information on Schnitzler is sketchy at best. Even David Stubbs's underwhelming book on experimental German music of the 70s Future Days didn't shed any new light on the great man. Details from different sources are contradictory. It really doesn't matter, though. I'm trying to not get too bogged down in conflicting information because at the end end of the day its all about the music not trivial pedantic matters like titles, renamed records, bonus tracks, recording and release dates. Schnitzler self released Container as a six tape package. It got a reissue in 1983 and it was notoriously rare until Vinyl On Demand pressed it for the first time on vinyl in 2012. I think they only pressed like 550 copies. It's now a set of 9 discs well 8 and a half. Anyway I never managed to find this collection which I'm pretty sure sold out. So having it available online is very cool. It's not just a cool archive or something to obtain and be smug about, the material is of such a high and consistent standard you often find yourself rather astounded at the vision and talent of this musical maverick. Some of these future musical visions are yet to arrive. Schnitzler puts artists like Brian Eno into perspective. 1971-83 is part of Conrad's golden era. A couple of releases beyond that point were good too but what stopped me going beyond 1988 was his double tape set Contrasts with Wolfgang Hertz under the name Con-Hertz which had me baffled. A previous collaboration from Con-Hertz, two years earlier was good stuff so what happened, I don't know? Who cares? I don't wanna be negative about quite possibly the best electronic artist of last century. He had a a great run of 15+ years so whatever! I mean there's even a recent choice Kluster 6 cd set of unreleased archival material from 1969-72 issued by Vinyl On Demand as well. Where do they keep digging this shit up from? Would you believe Schnitzler has another mammoth archival release this time in conjunction with Wolfgang Seidel titled 10 Kw/H . This is another 10 cd set of material that was unearthed in 2010 containing music from 1973-1977 that is high quality too (perhaps I'll write about that another time). But this here piece I'm writing is about Conrad Scnitzler solo and there were many excellent albums he put out at the time ie. not really archival. Many of these are 20th Century electronic masterpieces.

An article on his collaborations is
in the works. 
What's most striking about Container, apart from its ridiculous length, for me is Conrad Shnitzler's transition and progression from abstract, sometimes atonal and experimental shadowy electronics to more proto-techno electronica and disorientating sonic ambience then onto pioneering industrial soundscapes but next toward the last few discs he begins an unexpected transformation from unorthodox electronic pioneer to some sort of esoteric purveyor of electro pop.

The LPs of Schnitzler's that I love (9 of which are listed below) don't really delve into his forays into almost conventional NDW. I mean Neue Deutsche Welle (er..that's German Post-punk-new-wave-schtick) was hardly chart pop fare Scorpion's stylee but all the same NDW did become generic. This usually happens when a bunch of loosely affiliated like minded arty individuals set themselves apart from the mainstream to try and create some kind of musical environment where strange and uncompromising music can develop and thrive. This usually in turn, if successful, creates a scene where the music if not particularly sonically similar often prides itself on its reluctance to be categorised. Once someone, usually a journalist (well in the old days anyway, now it could be anyone on social media etc.) identifies this loose bunch of outcasts doing something artistically different the Utopian dream starts to go pear shaped. These disparate artists all end up thrown into a category and become co-opted by corporations and major labels and cracks start to appear. Then as a flow on effect a second of wave of groups who are usually less innovative and less talented begin to homogenise the sound palettes used by the original milieu of artists. This then creates a dwindling affect where a conventional set of rules regarding sounds, production styles, art, fashion, performances etc. are set up. Subsequent waves of artists following in this wake then begin the 'revival spiral' of further diminishing returns.

Getting back to Conrad. It's pretty weird to hear him singing and perhaps not being as outre as usual. Disc 8 & 8.5 are the ones on Container I'm struggling with. It might very well be good, perhaps great, interesting and even innovative. I do also have the Auf Dem Schwarzal Kanal EP from 1980 but I'm not sure I'm ready for Schnitzler's forays into NDW after years of knowing him as my favorite German experimental sonic guru from the 20th century. It's a bit like if Elvis started doing avant-garde classical midway through his career perhaps. Lets forget about all that for now.

Lets backtrack a little now and discuss the great man. I think I first read about Schnitzler in the early 90s as he played on that rather crappy first Tangerine Dream LP. He was also a footnote in the history of the terrific duo Cluster. But this guy ain't no bloody footnote. He's a genuine innovator and one of the best sound artists period. Is this where I mention West Berlin's The Zodiak Free Arts Lab? This was a melting pot of musical activity where many future legends of Krautrock and experimental synth music congregated in the late 60s/early 70s. Schnitzler co-founded with Hans Roedelius and some other chap. Anyway I can't understand why a handful of Schniztlers's solo LPs didn't make it into Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler top 50. He could have got rid of a few records from the likes of Cosmic joke(ers) and Amon Duul II post Yeti don't you think? Next I encountered Schnitzler in that brilliant book from 1996 on German rock, experimental, electronic, Kosmische and progressive music titled The Crack In The Cosmic Egg written by Steven & Alan Freeman. I was into the usual suspects back then...er still am actually... such as Can, Neu, Harmonia, Faust, Cluster, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul II and more, but Conrad Schnitzler I noticed had the most absurdly lengthy discography in the entire book. The Freemans wrote good things about him as well so his name stuck in my brain. He was originally in Kluster with a K in the late 60s with future members of Cluster with a C not a K, Moebius and the aforementioned RoedeliusCluster went on to critical and cult success while Conrad remained an outsider pretty much for the rest of his life. I did used to see the occasional Kluster cd around in Melbourne record shops in the 90s & 00s but never bothered to check them out. Now living in the desert city I wish I'd bought them. I'm finally getting around to them now though. I got into Cluster with a C in the 90s in a big way though (more on them another time perhaps).


The first record I found by Conrad Schnitzler solo though was Con released in 1978. This is an absolute fucking classic record, one of my favorites of all time and a great place to start if you're not ofee with Conrad. On Con he travels a great path with no cheese and nothing too similar to what other (un)popular electronic German acts were doing at the time. This is electronic art that's not too academic therefore quite listenable. The amount of space in the music on Con is incredible and by that I don't mean outer space. I mean room like in King Tubby's 70s dub reggae. This is a beautifully recorded all electronic album with great attention to detail. It was produced by Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann. Some of the sounds here were so far ahead of their time that similar timbres were not heard until the mid 90s in dance music genres such as techno, jungle, doomcore, darkside and tech-step. Upon hearing Con Schnitzler rapidly became one of my favorite electronic artists of all time, up there with The Primitive Calculators, Suicide, Severed Heads, Ilitch, Cabaret Voltaire, John Foxx, Kraftwerk, Cluster and er....Depeche Mode.


The next one I came across was Rot which was released in 1972 and was his 2nd solo outing. Man this LP was good too. Rot was no Switched On Moog record, which were all the rage at the time. Rot is the antitheses to that sub-genre. This LP was full of thick synthesiser textures that wouldn't be out of place on like a PCP or Cold Rush release from the 90s. Germans know a thing or two about getting voluminous squalls of sound from their electronic machines. I wouldn't say this was particularly melodic, its more like a mental cacophony that's intensely visceral. Sometimes it ends up in a dark abyss but always remains riveting as the music continuously mutates into other spheres. Rot is a fine otherworldly noise that must have alienated most people that came across back in 1972. It would have been great fun to play this to a James Taylor or Jackson Brown fan back in the day wouldn't it? Actually it'd be good to do that today.


1981's Control was reissued in the mid 90s and contained the T5 tracks from the aforementioned Container as bonus tracks. This was the first time I was alerted to the legendary 6 tape pack The Container. Anyway Control was the first Conrad Schnitzler album from the 80s I'd heard. It starts off in kind of a nice melodic almost conventional musical manner but by track 5 we're into his idiosyncratic synthesiser darkness. Untitled 5 is one of his most incredible tracks, with its clusters of doomy modulations comparable to no one. Untitled 6 wouldn't be out of place on say a hauntological or strange ambient LP from the last 20 years or so. Untitled 7 & 8 contain soundtracky vibes but in a Schnitzler universe of course. The remaining tunes (yes tunes! previously I couldn't really have used that term) are wonderfully mysterious and surreptitious.


I think the next one I got into was Conal which I must have found on a sharity blog back in the day when they were still a big thing. This one was recorded in 78 but not issued till 1981. This is more classic electronic transmissions from the mind of a genius. On side one's track N1 Schnitzler creates great atmospheres and synth swirls that despite not really being tunes as such or conventional ambient electronics are a very enjoyable listen and almost relaxing. Conal's second side N2 is like a delirious yet subtle 70s urban update of Forbidden Planet's OST with the sounds of rocket exhaust vapour trails mixing with dipping electronic lines that become siren-like at times making it slightly ominous in places. It feels like there's trouble afoot in the nerve centre of a future metropolis. A gentle rhythm flows in and out of the sound of rocket ships and spacecraft coming and going. Then there's little electro motorik pulses, like the baby sized aliens have landed and are driving around in mini toy vehicles. But it's like you're looking down at this future precinct from the safety of a mountain range a long way away. So it never becomes too intense and is quite unreal and mirage like. Splendid stuff.


Blau was my next discovery and was originally released in 1973 or 74 depending on who you believe (Discogs or The Freemans) making it perhaps his 4th album. Side one's Die Rebellen haben sich in den Bergen versteckt is all gentle cyclic electronic rhythms that become incredibly hypnotic. This is way before hypnotic was commonplace in music and I suppose is now a cliche. I think there's even a guitar towards the end of side one. Blau isn't a hundred miles away from Cluster or Harmonia on a superficial level but Schnitzler has such an individual way with synths and home made electronics that this record could only have come from him. Side 2 Jupiter is more intense than side 1 but this is still the gentler side of experimental 70s German music and I think its time is still yet to come. Fucking amazing when you think about it, as it was recorded 40 years ago. While Neu and Can have a thousand and one imitators Schnitzler has such a specific sound he's not such an obvious influence. All I can say is try imitating him suckers and you'll come off worse for wear.


Gelb was formerly known as the Black Cassette and originally released privately in 1974. Then in the 80s it got renamed as Gelb? Conrad's convoluted catalogue can get irritating at times so lets just go with this one as Gelb that is sometimes subtitled 12 pieces From 1974. This 2006 Captain Trip reissue has three bonus tracks from god knows where? Anyway this was his first foray into shorter pieces instead of side long odysseys and it suits him immensely. On the LP we've got proto-industrial, embryonic techno, gloomcore sounds 20 years early, stuff David Lynch and John Carpenter would like, evocative atmospheres and even the occasional piece of enchanting melodic synth goodness similar to 90s idylltronica. Schnitzler's electronic music is really charming and enjoyable as opposed to difficult electronic academic music. The twats who made that music may have been innovative but they didn't seem to have a clue about the aesthetics of music and were more interested in doing it just to be pioneers. You didn't necessarily want to listen to their music more than once or, lets face it, even once, which kind of defeats the purpose of making music in the first place doesn't it? Conrad made groundbreaking music that wasn't tedious, which I suspect was a much harder thing to achieve than what his scholarly contemporaries were doing. Making such alluring music that was also trailblazing was a hell of a feat from Mr Schnitzler, not that it was particularly popular but hey that's like a marketing/business thing innit?


Silber contains previously unreleased material from Schnitzler's prime era of 1974/75 that didn't see light of day until 2009 and this Bureau B version came out in 2013 adding a further 3 tracks. I'm known for my dislike of bonus trax but these are great. Silber made my best reissues list of that year. We've got some primo pioneering proto-techno here and gear that would later be known as electronica. This was way ahead of its it time once again by like 20+ years. I mean this sounds like a record I would have bought in the mid 90s like Mouse On Mars, Lithops or something but way fucking better. He heads off into pitch black zones on some tracks, dark ambient eat your heart out. I'm sure on track 7 he even uses a guitar or a very good electronic facsimile. If you told me some of these tracks were Ekoplekz, The Mover or Coil without me knowing I'd believe you. Schnitzler remains relevant 20, 30 and 40 years later and still sounds futuristic. What a man!


Now Grun is a cracker. If Cluster or Harmonia ever made a record with modern beats this is what it would have been like, on this first side anyway (don't get me wrong Cluster & Harmonia are 2 of my all time favorite groups, fucking love them!). Again this was so far ahead of the game it was absurd. Grun was released originally in 1981 and contained material from 72-73 and once again got reissued by Captain Trip and later Bureau B in late 2014 thus missing my end of year reissue round up. Side 1's Der Riese Und Seine Frau is pretty much 32 minutes of amazing ambient techno that predates the likes of Basic Channel by many, many years. It's minimal, hypnotic, beautiful and some of the greatest art of the 20th century. Conrad Schnitzler makes every other cool German musician, sound artist and composer seem just not up to scratch. I've got Stockhausen records but they lay dormant and unplayed most of the time whereas I could put on a Conrad record at any time and in any kind of mood. In my mind he is the king, THE innovator. Side B starts with the first version of Bis Die Blaue Blume Bl├╝ht, this is only a short one at 20 minutes. More happens in the first 2 minutes of this tune than in the entire previous track. This has its own kind of internal logic. Improvised Synths splatter, chirp, swirl, throw weird shapes and splash added colour and texture, a bass of the synthetic variety throbs along in its own world, a drum machine beat quite low in the mix tries to get the momentum going but the rest of the instruments seem quite content to meander in their own time. They might get a move on or they might take a different path for a while. The other part of the tune I guess is the part which is a composed repetitive keyboard melody which is probably looped or Conrad would have had severe RSI after this session. Nobody else is as good as this with regard to accessible experimental electronic music from the 70s. Oh... I nearly forgot the bonus track which is the second version of Bis Die... Musically nothing has changed its just played at 45 rpm instead of 33/3. Maybe someone said 'hey mate this would be awesome if it was a bit faster!' and yeah if you thought the first version meandered a little this version tightens it up and makes it nice and compact. This was a trick that Neu also used on their 1973 LP Neu 2 but that was more out of economic concerns not artistic endeavour. Neu went one better though and sped two tunes up to 78 rpm. Now that would be interesting to hear Bis Die... at that speed. It would possibly have invented speedcore or gabba 20 years early. Anyway just a thought I suppose.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Marc Acardipane On Me Bike



These tunes came up on my Fuck Yeah! Mix on the i-pod whilst cycling today. These tracks really get your legs moving. Is it illegal to ride with your i-pod in your earballs? It does feel unsafe. I was definitely riding into the future and possibly could have ridden front on into a truck and wouldn't have cared. These are still incredible soundz.