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CONRAD SCHNITZLER

Conrad Schnitzler

Rot - 50th Anniversary Edition

    Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011), composer and concept artist, is one of the most important representatives of Germany's electronic music avant-garde. A student of Beuys and Stockhausen, he founded Berlin's legendary Zodiak Free Arts Lab, a subculture club, in 1967/68, was a member of Tangerine Dream (together with Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese) and Kluster (with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius) and also released countless solo albums - The red album from 1973 was Schnitzler's first solo LP.

    There was a particular type of artist who could only have emerged in the legendary early 1970s. Few musicians fit the bill better than Konrad Schnitzler. Revolution, pop art and Fluxus created a climate which engendered unbridled artistic and social development. Radical utopias, excessive experiment- ation with drugs, ruthless (in a positive way) transgression of aesthetic frontiers were characteristic of the period. The magic words were "subcultur", "progressivity" and "avantgardism". West Berlin, with its unique political status, was a crucible of turbulence. Founded in 1968, Zodiak was the ultimate point of convergence for subculture in West Berlin, with Konrad Schnitzler the driving force behind it. It was also here that Tangerine Dream and Kluster first met up to perform in public.

    The red album ("Rot") was Schnitzler's first solo effort. As a member of Tangerine Dream, however, he had participated in the band's debut release "Electronic Meditation" some three years earlier (1970). He, Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius had also already founded Kluster, whose first album "Klopfzeichen" attracted a wealth of attention. On "Rot", meanwhile, Schnitzler uncompromisingly pursued his very own vision of electronic music. As an acolyte of action and object artist Joseph Beuys, Schnitzler embraced the former's "extended definition of art", in which controlled randomness assumed an important role. Schnitzler actually extended the concept of "music". Or to put it another way: he cared not one iota for existing rules of music, preferring to create his own or conceptualizing a certain degree of lawlessness. Improvisation grew in importance. The most exciting aspect of Schnitzler's music is not the fact that he only used synthetic sound and noise; the apparently chaotic movements of his microscopic particles of sound draw the listener into a paradoxical, yet also crystalline and vibrant artistic world. It doesn't get much more outlandish than this. Schnitzler's debut surpassed virtually every other pioneering artist of the day in terms of radicalness. Not content merely with making psychedelic soundtracks, he turned these on their head with his defiant artistic will. The rigour of his approach has never been matched. Schnitzler's inimitable cascades of sound and their transparency were, and remain, unique.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    Meditation
    Side 2
    Krautrock

    Conrad Schnitzler & Ken Montgomery

    Cas-Con II

      Konzert in der Erlöserkirche, Ost-Berlin, 3.9.1986 In 1982 Schnitzler had already met the New York musician Ken Gen Montgomery, who then regularly performed Schnitzlers' compositions live at various venues worldwide. And so Schnitzler also produced 4 cassettes especially for his concert in East Berlin, which were sent by courier from West to East Berlin. On the evening of 3.9.1986, the privately announced and illegal concert took place in the Erlöserkirche in East Berlin/GDR. Montgomery mixed Schnitzler's music live from the tapes. The elaborately restored original recording is now being released for the first time on LP and CD.

      Conrad Schnitzler & Baal & Mortimer

      Con-Struct

        Conrad Schnitzler is one of the great pioneers of electronic music. Here Baal & Mortimer constructs new music utilising Schnitzler’s archive. Instead of reworking the material on its own,she chose to find traces of melodies, harmonies, notes within it, using them as seeds to add and derive new compositions. Schnitzler’s archive became the foundation and departure point from which a process of accumulation and chiseling away started. Through playing things on wrong speed, stretching, or warping, fractal structures appeared, one unfolding out of the previous one, almost like chaos magick set in motion.

        Conrad Schnitzler & Wolf Sequenza

        Consequenz II

          Composer and conceptual artist Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011) was one of the most influential figures of the electronic avant-garde in Germany. In 1967/68, the Joseph Beuys student founded the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, which became a playground for Berlin subculture. In addition to numerous solo releases Schnitzler was also involved in various band formations not least Tangerine Dream and Kluster. Representing another of his musical landmarks are the 'Consequenz' releases. 'Consequenz II' emerged from a collaboration with Wolfgang Seidel alias Wolf Sequenza, and is the follow-up project to 'Consequenz' which was a low-budget production that had an overriding aim of liberating music from its elitist circles in a 'Beuys-ian' sense. 'Consequenz II' returned to the theme with electronic apparatus that professionalised the sound but by no means reduced the fun he found in experimentation.

          "There are no secret devices. ERUPTION are proof of that" - thus read the claim on an early 1970s flyer for Conrad Schnitzler's band Eruption, the group he started after splitting from Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who persevered as Kluster, and later Cluster.

          Schnitzler had studied sculpture under Joseph Beuys and the statement echoed his teacher's philosophy: "Everyone is an artist." The flyer continued in similar vein: "ERUPTION are freeing the prisoners from their ivory towers." Schnitzler viewed art as social practice, not the realm of specialists. Anyone could get involved. You didn't even need to be able to play an instrument. The flyer also announced: "Members of the audience who bring transistor radios will get reduced admission if they play music on their radios inside the venue."

          That was back in 1971, ten years before we produced and recorded the Consequenz LP. We included instructions inside the sleeve for setting up just such a project with the minimum of technical fuss, inviting submissions which used the record as a playback tool. One cassette arrived all the way from New York, but that was about it. Not really enough to satisfy our ambition of liberating artistic endeavour from the ivory tower (perhaps not so much of a surprise, considering we only pressed a hundred discs). We had almost resigned ourselves to life in the ivory tower when a letter from a Spanish label (Esplendor Geometrico) reached us, asking for a sequel - Consequenz II. It didn't take long for us to decide to accept the offer, encouraged by the fact that we would not have to finance the release out of our own pockets - as had been the case with the first Consquenz.

          Certain "secret devices" had materialized in our ivory tower in the meantime. Conrad Schnitzler had purchased an 8-track recorder with money he had earned from "proper" art. I borrowed various bits of equipment from my band - Populäre Mechanik - including a drum computer, so we could really let rip. The little songs we made sounded much more "professional" than the cheerfully low budget music of the first Consequenz. I'd taken days off work for the sessions and after a week we had enough material to fill one side of an LP. The last track was further evidence of Conrad Schnitzler's sense of humour, as previously revealed on our "pop"album CON 3 (1981) and the "Auf dem schwarzen Kanal" single (1980). "España" on the A-side of Consequenz II is a vocal collage of the words "Buenas Tardes" and "España".

          All we needed now was music for the B-side, but our enthusiasm for the borrowed drum computer had waned somewhat. It was always the first track we recorded, which meant that everything else had to follow its lead. The beat itself was singularly unimpressed by what came next. This was an unsatisfactory state of affairs for two players (musicians?) who had begun with free improvisation, with either of the participants able to change the direction of the whole thing. Unsatisfactory, in spite of the fact that I was able to play to the beat with perfect timing, which led Conrad Schnitzler to give me the nickname "Sequenza" (hence the Consequenz title). The natural division of an LP into an A-side and a B-side lends itself to a caesura when the disc is flipped. So we decided to return to free-floating sounds on the B-side and, listening back now, I'm glad we did. Instead of competing with each other, the two sides dovetail perfectly.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Von Hand
          2. Zack Zack
          3. Fiesta
          4. Hommage á Gaudi
          5. Erotik
          6. Windmill
          7. Alhambra
          8. España
          9. Kastilien

          Conrad Schnitzler

          Con 84

            Composer and conceptual artist Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011) was one of the most influential figures of the electronic avant-garde in Germany. In 1967/68, the Joseph Beuys student founded the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, which became a playground for Berlin subculture. In addition to many other musical stations, bustling Schnitzler was a member of the Kraut-Electronic formations Tangerine Dream and Kluster. Numerous solo releases complete his extensive oeuvre. One of them is »CON 84«, probably his most composed work, on which he challenges the traditions of so-called Ernste Musik. The result is a complex electronic sound structure that marks a break with Schnitzler's previous work in a subversive flirtation with traditionalism.

            »Schnitzler is an inquisitive chameleon«, as a friend of mine once said, whilst attempting to assemble Schnitzler’s musical output into some form of retrospective system. An enticing zoomorphism at first glance, yet not quite so convincing on closer inspection. Firstly, a chameleon uses its ability to change colour as camouflage. Schnitzler never needed, nor had any desire, to camouflage himself. Secondly, curious as he was (particularly with regard to how his own work developed and the results it would bring), he never, to my knowledge, demonstrated the urge to study his artistic activities through the inquiring prism of science or methodology. Perhaps what my friend was driving at was Schnitzler’s mastery of different forms, moving dexterously between them and integrating them into his own inimitable language. CON 84 is a perfect example thereof.

            CON 84 is evidently the product of a computer-supported sound generator – a sampler. The original LP came complete with sheet music inserts, so a music printer must also have been part of the package. It is hard to say which instruments Schnitzler had at his disposal in the early 1980s. And more to the point, where did he record these pieces? Was he still at Peter Baumann’s Paragon Studio? Leaving such questions aside, what really matters here is the opportunity to gain an insight into Schnitzler’s complex musical imagination and powers. It appears as if he wanted to show the listener that he can still compose in the classical sense, creating a series of miniatures which are not so far away from the infinite glittering patterns of the existing Schnitzler cosmos. CON 84 lines up polyphonic compositions from start to finish. John Cage, Fluxus, randomness – nowhere to be seen. Schnitzler the traditionalist? A highbrow composer? On the contrary. Just as he so marvellously subverted common conceptions of art, Schnitzler crafted CON 84 to sound like Ernste Musik - serious (classical) music. He was a master of camouflage (with a wink of the eye) and repeated the trick nine years later on the French release CD CON BRIO. Following Schnitzler has always meant being ready to expect the unexpected. When he could, and had the financial means to do so, Schnitzler liked to use the latest technology. CON 84 was technologically advanced for its time, yet the music was paradoxically conventional. I imagine that Schnitzler took great delight in such contradiction. With shiny new digital technology at his fingertips, he chose to compose music in traditional form. Did »conventional listeners« enjoy the results on CON 84 as much their author? I doubt whether his parodies and twists on traditional composition resonated with them. Alas, there is no record of any Schnitzler reflections on this singular music, I would dearly have liked to have heard his thoughts. When the album appeared in 1984, it enriched an already diverse experimental music scene. The willingness to engage with the genre was growing - regardless of how many listeners there actually were. I clearly remember finding CON 84 in a record shop which specialized in new wave and industrial sounds. How did that happen? Simple: boundaries were now blurred.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. X19 II
            2. X18 II
            3. 28.6.84 Blasen
            4. 16.4.84 I (1+2)
            5. X19
            6. X18 # I
            7. X18 I
            8. 16.4.84 I
            9. X19 I
            10. X18 (1+2)
            11. 16.4.84 Frei
            12. X18 # (1+2)

            Conrad Schnitzler

            Conditions Of The Gas Giant

              Imagine if you could listen to the nervous whirling of methane and helium, that's what this album sounds like - at least in the mind of experimentalist Conrad Schnitzler. The Berlin artist first released these recordings on a small American cassette label. An uncommonly rhythmical vortex, we would suggest.

              Conditions of the Gas Giant reflected the atmosphere associated with the music, clouds of manifold colours, whirling nervously above a gaseous planet. A methane and helium tryst in sonic form - fireworks, pyrotechnics for the eyes, like the surface of Jupiter, just as Schnitzler's tracks are pyrotechnics for the ears.

              Conrad Schnitzler

              Con 3

                “Con 3” (1981) was Schnitzler's sixth regular and most “commercial” album and furthermore his first one with vocals

                Liner notes by Asmus Tietchens • Featuring six bonus tracks (vinyl only four) ---This album saw Schnitzler head further in the direction of pop music. Like “Consequenz”, “Con 3” is a collaborative effort with Wolfgang Seidel, alias Sequenza. “Con 3” is a really odd mixture of numerous ingredients which Schnitzler was capable of combining with dexterity and taste. His musical handwriting is immediately apparent in the foreground. Effervescent electronic sequences can be heard on all nine pieces, coming from somewhere and appearing to go wherever – this is Schnitzler alright, this is his musical utopia.

                The blue album from 1974 and was Schnitzler's second solo LP. Digipak reissue with liner notes by Asmus Tietchens, rare photos and six bonus track (CD + download only) On the red album, Konrad Schnitzler laid down the direction his musical artistry would take. The blue album ("Blau") offered confirmation of his intent. Maybe the "Rot" and "Blau" tracks were recorded in the same session. Structure, sound and timbre of both LPs are so similar as to suggest that this was the case (an unverified assumption nevertheless!). Far more important than this historical pedantry is the fact that Schnitzler included two brand new compositions on "Blau" which followed on seamlessly from the previous album. Quite simply, he had found his way, a course from which he would not stray as long as he lived.

                The so-called Berlin School (Berliner Schule) - with Konrad Schnitzler one of their number - had developed its own style of minimalist music. Clearly distinct from Anglo-American pop music, and no less removed from the minimalist art music of Steve Reich or Philip Glass, the focus here was on electronics and elementary rhythmics. The Berlin musicians showed no great interest in instrumental or vocal virtuosity, nor were they in thrall to exuberant interleaving of rhythm. With the aid of synthesizers and studio technology, they were bent on breaking into territory hitherto considered the province of a privileged elite, clouded in mystery and secrecy, resonating with uncharted sounds and noise. "Blau" is an archetypal example of this very phenomenon. Schnitzler's style was really too idiosyncratic ever to set a precedent, but he was, and still is, one of the most significant inspirations for pop music in more recent times. Already a figure of prominence, perhaps he will one day be elevated to the status of a legend.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Die Rebellen Haben Sich In Den Bergen Versteckt
                2. Jupiter
                3. Wild Space 1 (Bonus Track)
                4. Wild Space 2 (Bonus Track)
                5. Wild Space 3 (Bonus Track)
                6. Wild Space 4 (Bonus Track)
                7. Wild Space 5 (Bonus Track)
                8. Wild Space 6 (Bonus Track)

                Conrad Schnitzler

                Rot

                  Conrad Schnitzler (1937 - 2011), composer and conceptual artist, is one of the most important representatives of Germany’s avant-garde electronic music. A student of Beuys and Stockhausen, he founded Berlin’s legendary Zodiak Free Arts Lab, a subculture club, in 1967/68, was a member of Tangerine Dream (together with Klaus Schulze and Edgar Froese) and Kluster (with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius) and also released countless solo albums.

                  Digipak reissue with liner notes by Asmus Tietchens, rare photos and a 20 minute bonus track (CD + download only) The most exciting aspect of Schnitzler’s music is not the fact that he only used synthetic sound and noise; the apparently chaotic movements of his microscopic particles of sound draw the listener into a paradoxical, yet also crystalline and vibrant artistic world. It doesn’t get much more outlandish than this. Schnitzler’s debut surpassed virtually every other pioneering artist of the day in terms of radicalness. Not content merely with making psychedelic soundtracks, he turned these on their head with his defiant artistic will. The rigour of his approach has never been matched. Schnitzler’s inimitable cascades of sound and their transparency were, and remain, unique.


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