Conrad Schnitzler — Kollektion 05: Compiled by Thomas Fehlmann
(Bureau B BB188, 2015, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-10-02
Conrad Schnitzler, who passed away in 2011, was an extremely prolific and pioneering composer, concept artist, and one of the most important representatives of Germany’s electronic music avant-garde. He was an early member of both Tangerine Dream and Kluster. In 1979 Conrad gave a guest lecture on the extended definition of art established by Joseph Beuys and how it can be applied to music. One of the attendees was Thomas Fehlmann, who later gained recognition in the band Palais Schaumburg with Holger Hiller in 1981. In 1990 he became a member of The Orb, playing an important role in Berlin’s electronic and club scene. Now things have come full circle and Thomas is the curator of Schnitzler’s music for the latest in the Bureau B Kollektion series. A question immediately comes to mind. Is this new release a compilation or a mix? In reality it is somewhere in between. Thomas selected various pieces from Schnitzler’s white period (all the album covers were white and black), and presents them in a seamless (re)arrangement that creates a new listening experience. His choices were musical, not chronological. Many of Schnitzler’s compositions can be challenging – you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. The pieces on Kollektion 5 tend to be the more accessible of his output. Fehlmann drew music from Contempora, Conrad & Sohn, Consequenz, Con3, and Congratulations, all from the early 80s. His goal was to condense Schnitzler’s versatility, his inventiveness, and wit into a single musical journey. He succeeded, and it is remarkable how the music flows, especially when these pieces are taken out of context of their original albums. If you have never experienced Schnitzler, then Kollektion 5 is a great point of entry into his world.
Related artist(s): Conrad Schnitzler
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John Forbes has this to say about the track:
I'm predisposed to the unprepared and the greazy, but every now and then I need to leave the house. Yet, this is a constrictive moment in history: A modern nervous sweat through a 17th-century frontier prism.
The majority of the track was recorded at my Frogg Mountain Studio in Chicago. The percussion resulted from people stomping on metal plates in a four-story-tall freight elevator shaft which served as a wild echo chamber.
I sent the track to a rhythm section I know in Marquette, Michigan, because there's a 5/4-vibe there that's all its own. (I suspect the isolation and natural brutality that is the root of the unique human nature there.) Despite being cut off from civilization at large by sheer geography, Marquette maintains more top-notch drummers and astute musicologists than anywhere I know. A true yaba yum.
Forbes also created this art to visualize all the musicians who contributed to the track: