Conrad Schnitzler — Blue Glow
(Art Gallery AG 003 CD, 1979/1994, CD)
Conrad Schnitzler — Charred Machinery
(Art Gallery AGCD11, 1980/1995, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1996-08-01
Herr Schnitzler is probably the most prolific synthesist (we might as well say musician) on the planet. He has been around since the early days of Kluster and Tangerine Dream (he was a member of both), started a solo career in the early 70s with 3 unbelievably rare LPs and literally exploded in the 80s, releasing just about everything he recorded. I mean here's a guy who released a cassette for every month in a year, and now states that since 1990 he has over 60 DATs of music that you can order directly from the composer! Exposé most likely will not be covering these. These two CDs are only the first two of Art Gallery's archive series from Schnitzler. Art Gallery has been quite prolific of late in releasing his CDs and their total is growing exponentially. Both of these CDs draw music from the Container cassette box set, a compilation released on Broadcast in 1983 with a total of 12 "tracks" entitled "T1" - "T12."
Blue Glow is the entire "T2" and part of "T4." Schnitzler's song titles in the past have often been numbering systems, yet with this reissue the individual tracks within the "T" series have been named. Schnitzler's music is not your average electronic fare and is really not comparable. His music is experimentation in statis, nothing like the Teutonic, romantic, or ambient styles. The results seem like reflections of the cold machinery that analog synthesizers can be. Taken from 1972-79, at times the stark atmospheres are listenable, yet often the oscillator fluctuations are harsh and disturbing – some of them make me afraid for my speakers!
Charred Machinery ("T1" and half of "T6") is very similar yet possibly more mechanical and industrial; on both CDs there's barely anything resembling melody. The three tracks are all about 22 minutes in length each and have cold metallic grating synth tones and insistently dissonant sequencer patterns. I assume they will be reissuing more from Container as there is some more spacier and less cathartic music (and some really bad stuff as well) on it. There's better and worse music from Schnitlzer, yet either CD acts as a decent starting point – although you better like it bleak.
Related artist(s): Conrad Schnitzler
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more