September 05, 2009

April 28, 2009

Starship Klaus Schulze

Concert in Linz, Austria (1980)
Photo courtesy of KDM Archives

March 16, 2009

Roland SH-101 (1981)

Released 1981, the SH-101 monosynth looks like a 1-voice Juno 6. But unlike most of Roland's previous instruments, which were chunky affairs designed for use on tabletops and stands, was constructed from high-density plastic, with the result that it was extremely light. Some players derided this, equating its weight to its sound, but this was foolish.
The SH-101 sounds excellent, and there was a good reason for its construction. It was designed for posing. With the optional MGS1 modulation grip - a stubby handle that provided LFO and pitch-bend controls - became the de facto standard sling-on synth for the electro-pop crowd, and remains one of Roland's enduring successes. The 1981's SH-101was an instant classic, and is still popular today.

The SH-101 is very cool, especially for techno, drum&bass and Acid. It's a monophonic bass synthesizer. Its sound lies somewhere between the Roland TB-303 and a Juno bass sound. It has a lot of simple but cool features. You can control the VCF, pitch, LFO or all from the pitch bender. It has a white noise generator, arpeggiator with up, down and up/down patterns and a simple real-time sequencer. The LFO offers random, sine, square or noise waveforms. And normal or auto portamento effects give you that elastic bass sound. There are external clock inputs for the sequencer and arpeggiator, CV/GATE inputs and outputs and a CV hold pedal.
There is no patch memory storage and although it has no MIDI there are upgrades available for it from many analog service companies that will allow you to incorporate it into any MIDI studio environment. It can also be controlled by MIDI using a CV/MIDI converter. It's great for bass sounds or bubbly analog effects. They come in three different flavors - grey, blue or red and there was a ultra-rare white version too.

March 10, 2009

March 04, 2009

Jean-Jacques Perrey

Jean-Jacques Perrey (born 1929) is a French electronic music producer and is an early pioneer in the genre. He is best known within the sphere of popular music as a member of the influential duo Perrey & Kingsley.

He was studying medicine in Paris when he met George Jenny, inventor of the Ondioline. Quitting medical school, Perrey travelled through Europe demonstrating this keyboard ancestor of the modern synthesizer. At the age of 30, Perrey relocated to New York, sponsored by Caroll Bratman, who built him an experimental laboratory and recording studio. Here he invented "a new process for generating rhythms with sequences and loops", utilising the environmental sounds of "musique concrète." With scissors, splicing tape, and tape recorders, he spent weeks piecing together a uniquely comique take on the future. Befriending Robert Moog, he became one of the first Moog synth musicians, creating "far out electronic entertainment".

In 1965 Perrey met Gershon Kingsley, a former colleague of John Cage. Together, using Ondioline and Perrey's loops, they created two albums for Vanguard Records — The In Sound From Way Out (1966) and Kaleidoscopic Vibrations (1967). Perrey and Kingsley collaborated on sound design for radio and television advertising. Perrey returned to France, composing for television, scoring for ballet and continuing medical research into therapeutic sounds for insomniacs.

February 23, 2009

Mobile Shell "Bamboo"

Get your iPhone G3 a bit warmer with bamboo style.

February 12, 2009

Bruno Spoerri - Schweizer Pionier der Elektronischen Musik

Bruno Spoerri (*1935) ist eine der wichtigsten Gestalten im Jazz und in der elektronischen Musik in der Schweiz. Nach Studien in Basel (u.a. bei Karl Barth und Karl Jaspers) und Zürich erwarb er 1958 ein Diplom in Angewandter Psychologie. Er spielte schon als früh als Saxophonist in verschiedenen Jazzgruppen und gehörte von 1957 bis 1975 zum "Metronome Quintett". Nachdem er an den Kölner Kursen für Neue Musik 1965/66 teilgenommen hatte, arbeitete er seit 1967 als Komponist und Tonmeister.

Frühe Experimente mit elektrifiziertem Saxophon, Effektgeräten und seit 1968 mit selbst gebauten Klangwandlern, sowie ab 1970 mit dem EMS VCS-3 Synthesizer, führten ihn immer weiter in die Welt der elektronischen Musik. Spoerri arbeitete u. a. mit Joël Vandroogenbroeck und der Psychedelic Rock-Gruppe "Brainticket" zusammen. Tourneen führten ihn u.a. nach Japan, Indien und Äthiopien. Spoerri war ausserdem musikalischer Leiter des Zürcher Jazz-Festivals zwischen 1971 und 1973, und von 1975 bis 1977, sowie lange Jahre Lehrbeauftragter an der Musikhochschule Zürich für Computermusik. Er schuf zahlreiche Musik zu Werbe- und Spielfilmen.

Sendung Kulturplatz, Schweizer Fernsehen (SFDRS)

February 11, 2009

January 20, 2009

Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser - Prophet of the "Kosmische Kuriere"

Ohr Musik Produktion GmbH (1969)

Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, founder of the legendary labels Ohr, Pilz and Kosmische Kuriere and author of dozens of books on pop music counterculture is one of the key figures of the german Underground Music which became popular under the expression 'Krautrock'. Ohr became the home of the most important groups, like Ashra Tempel, Embryo, Guru Guru, Mythos, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, by the English press collectively called 'Krautrock'. A term - originally meant more pejorative but later mutated into a term of amazing quality.

In fact of the success of Ohr and Kaiser's undeniable ability for new trends in popular music, BASF proposed in 1971 the new label Pilz (Mushroom). On Pilz Kaiser now published, among other things the first albums of Popol Vuh and Wallenstein as well as of Witthüser & Westrupp. In 1971, Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser was the architect of one of the most curious experiments in the history of German music when he joined in the same team Ash Ra Tempel and the American psychologist and writer Timothy Leary, who was very popular for having coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out” and whose ideas about the spiritual benefits of the LSD shocked the universities and put him in the eye of the storm of the late sixties American countercultural movement.

1972 Kaiser drifts in the direction of esoteric. With his girlfriend Gille "Star Maiden" Lettmann and Leary, who has just fled to Switzerland to escape the CIA, they call themselves the "Kosmische Kuriere" (Cosmic Ambassadors) which have set themselves the goal of "To travel around the world to distribute LSD 25". Kaiser and Gille Lettmann go completely in this cosmic religion and devote themselves body and soul to their Proliferation. After the “Seven Up” experiment Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser gave birth to a new brain-child: the label Kosmische Kuriere. A year later, Kosmische K. released four albums, all of them under the name of The Cosmic Jokers, including “The Cosmic Jokers” (1974), “Planeten Sit In”, “Galactic Supermarket”, “Sci Fi Party” and “Gille's Zeitschiff”.

All of the tracks featured the correspondent authors, but the musicians involved were not noticed about any of these releases and got no payment or benefit from any of the productions. It was Manuel Göttsching himself who discovered the scam when he heard by chance one of the albums in a Berlin record shop. After these many bands from the label such as Popol Vuh left the company, and Tangerine Dream refused to release their forthcoming “Atem ” album on the label to find out that Kaiser had already licensed it to the Polydor label in the UK without their knowledge. And Klaus Schulze, who was involved in the “Kosmische Kurriere” sessions, took legal action against Kaiser. Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser lost the case in court and eventually the musicians got their rights back.

From 1973 then start more groups litigate Kaiser, because there are various contractual ambiguities. Wallenstein leads a lawsuit against the label. Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream doesn't want to do anything with Kaiser's strange religion and denied him the use of the name "Cosmic Music" where he claims the paternity rights. The group Hölderlin breaks the contract with Ohr in Oktober 1974. The process series' affair against Kaiser was taken up by the German music press, which in turn him attacks also because of his links with the Timothy Leary. Kaiser's reputation and credibility was now seriously damaged, and he soon stopped the activities of Ohr Music and Kosmische Kuriere in the wake of the legal problems.
Finally, after the release of Seven and One Jager Jager (1975) by Popol Vuh,
and a 1975 with Gille Lettmann together designed Tarot game, "The Legendary Star Maiden's Tarot", Kaiser ended all artistic generic and commercial activities. The labels closed and Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser apparently disappeared from the country and quit the music industry for the rest of his life.
Without some official confirmation of the date and place of his demise we have no final ending for the story of what truly became of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, or Gille Lettmann.

Ultimately Kaiser became a lost soul, a victim of his times, the drugs, and broken relationships. All this serving as a trigger for some form of congenital schizophrenia that led to his ultimate downfall and becoming a virtually forgotten man. He is not the only one to be counted among the missing in the generation. It seems dreams and dreamers sometimes die hard.

January 11, 2009

Kosmische Kuriere: Walter Wegmüller – Tarot (1973)

"Tarot" was the very first release of Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's german Krautrock Label "
Kosmische Kuriere". In December 1972 Kaiser invited some musicians to Dieter Dierks Studio to record the cycle of Tarot by swiss painter Walter Wegmüller. An amazing all-star cast of musicians backing him with the music: Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke both from "Ashra Tempel", Jurgen Dollase, Harald Grosskopf and Jerry Berkers ("Wallenstein"), Walter Westrupp and Klaus Schulze.
What this piece of vinyl makes remarkable and unique are the lyrics in swiss-german language.