In the traditional Teutonic music circles there is a growing realisation that never have so few musical ideas been purveyed by so many. Sequencers/PPGs abound — usually played with the musical creativity of the stone deaf. With the signs of a revulsion amongst the record buyers against the dreary, unemotional music they've been meted up in the last couple of years, it bodes very badly for much that is common fair amongst electro-musicians. Yazoo have needed the amazing torch-burning vocals of Alf to maintain a commercial level of interest. If the electronic commercial sound becomes passe and the over obsession with electronic keyboards goes with it, then one can only feel that the purely instrumental electronic album will be relegated to the film score and the fanzine cassette. As we have observed before, some non-German musicians seem to be transcending the narrow confines of a self generated electronic wilderness, and this they are doing to the apparent delight of an ever increasing number of fans eg. Kitaro and Didier Bocquet.
However, at the rarified end of the 'wish I could have one' CMI/Synclavier high tech field comes news of a most interesting new label called Erdenklang. Formed by Harald Zuschrader and Hubert Bognermayr (E&MM consultant) they are featured in this issue. The first two releases to come on to the U.K. market will include Bognermayr's 'Erdenklang' — a piece first featured at the Linz festival that displays the classical or symphonic potential of the CMI. It will be accompanied by a fascinating album by Tri Atma called 'Sensucht und Einklang.' Although the acoustic guitar and tablas play crucial bridging roles between the CMI/Synclavier patterns, an innovative and fascinating record is the result. Anyone who doubts that electronic instruments are capable of producing beguiling and organic music should listen to this. Erdenklang is distributed in the U.K. by Making Waves (new address:(Contact Details)). If your local shops can't be persuaded to stock this material on Erdenklang then you can always buy it from Making Waves' newly acquired mail order division, Miracle Mail Order, (Contact Details). Erdenklang, like this year's superb crop of Kuckuck and Celestial Harmonies releases are pressed at Teldec (Hamburg) using their revolutionary DMM or Direct Metal Mastering technique. This German development involves the direct 'etching' or cutting into a copper surface on a steel disc. With careful monitoring and the use of high grade vinyl, it eliminates the possibility of snap, crackle and pop on the disc. It is surely going to be adopted as an industry standard in the next few years. Even the monolithic EMI organisation has taken out a licence to manufacture using DMM.
Since our last article Kuckuck has released Georg Deuter's 'Cicada' — a wonderfully joyous piece of music, re-issued 'KI' and 'Tao' by Kitaro as well as two Paul Horn sets. For those of you not familiar with Horn's work, he is a saxophone/flute player whose sound phrases played in the incredible reverberation of well-known acoustic chambers, such as the Taj Mahal, take on an eerie but very beautiful nature. Any listener could be forgiven for believing that electronics were involved at some point!
Whatever possessed Illuminated to put out Schulze's 'Audentity' in the U.K. as a single LP? A company seemingly with the Midas touch on such interesting bands as Sex Gang Children must be bananas to release a single LP of a double that has already sold into the country as an import. Sales of the English version are supposedly below five hundred copies, but Robert Schroder's re-issued 'Harmonic Ascendant' is doing very well... Schulze-ish it maybe, but nevertheless it's very fine. Also on Schulze clones, shops report that the latest Michael Garrison 'Eclipse' has sold very disappointingly indeed. The ludicrous import price can't have helped!
Meanwhile, in the land of passion and commitment, the lucky people who have purchased a copy of Arthur Brown's 'Requiem' have actually been able to hear something electronic in conception and yet totally original. Amongst the more enlightened, a great number of radio stations featured tracks from the LP in their rock shows.
In spite of some weighty PR from Island Records, the fantastic laser technology of Bernard Szajner clearly does not transmute into record sales. Retailers around London report a very small ripple of interest after the concert and the new LP. As reported in E&MM July the Szajner rhythm section of Paganotti and Bailly were first seen in London last year with Richard Pinhas. Pulse reports that 'L'Ethique' by Pinhas has suddenly started to sell strongly again, perhaps because it is featured on the cover of 'The Rock Album.' Pulse's Dave Lawrence is still trying to recover from a series of crippling bad debts and so all his release schedules have been shattered. Nevertheless, by the time this article has appeared, both Didier Bocquet's 'Pictures Of Life' and Steve Jolliffe's 'Journeys Out Of The Body' will be in the shops.
The long planned Jade Warrior LP has also been badly delayed — but this because of the serious illness of composer Tony Duhig. He is reported to be well on the mend and putting the final touches to what sounds like an epic. Massed choirs; string quartets; Emulators etc. etc. Expect an article and interview by E&MM editor Mike Beecher shortly. Christian Webb ((Contact Details)) has set up, in collaboration with Pulse, a Friends of Jade Warrior information service, if you want to know more send a SAE to Christian.
With the highly successful co-operation between Giorgio Moroder and David Bowie on 'Cat People' now passed into history, it's interesting to see that Bowie has reinstated the guitar to his act and to his overall sound. Where Bowie leads a lot of other people will follow so it will be gratifying to see if one of the most flexible of all instruments receives more attention in the future. That erstwhile contributor to E&MM, Adrian Legg, is just about to astound the world with an album on Spindrift called 'Techno-picker'. Adrian is currently demonstrator for Ovation guitars in the U.K.
Congratulations to Thomas Dolby on his immense commercial success. Since meeting him last year it was as clear as day that with his ambition and the mighty EMI machine as his weapons he was going to be a star.
In previous Electro-Record columns I have appealed for any information on record retailers who are prepared to support more of this music. We will print the names of those retailers who help customers... just one name this time, Record Trade Centre at Beckenham, Kent. Now is the time to apply pressure to the local radio stations to get air-time for more of this music. Both the IBA and the BBC are aware that the pop formula is played out totally and a great deal of heart searching is now taking place. At this point a powerful lobby is needed. It's no good just lamenting the lack of coverage given; folk and country music have their own national and local radio coverage sorted out, so why not electronic new music?