Harald Grosskopf - Synthesist - Remastered Lp - 2011-Bcc

The second side shades that outlook and delves more in the realm of dystopian sci-fi.

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I freely associated this peaceful piece of music inspired by B(uzz) Aldrin’s moonwalk with Baldrian–or Valerian in English–a substance that has a very calming effect.

During the Frankfurt studio sessions that followed my isolated recording time in the countryside of West Germany, I had to come up with song titles for the album. For me, music as an abstract language is hard to consolidate into a few words.

In summer 1979, Harald Grosskopf-- a drummer who lived in Berlin and had appeared on recordings by Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers, and others-- holed up in the apartment of a friend in Krefeld, Germany, to record his debut solo album.

In the flat he had a Minimoog, a primitive sequencer, an 8-track reel-to-reel recorder, and a lot of time alone.

The music on hovers in an intriguing middle ground between instrumental synth-pop in the vein of early Kraftwerk and more free-form space-drone explorations popularized by Schulze and Tangerine Dream.

The tracks are mostly compact and tend to hum along to a pop-friendly electronic pulse, but they aren't tied into any sort of verse/chorus structure.Over the course of several weeks, Grosskopf wrote and recorded the material that wound up on imprint Sky.RVNG has reissued the album, which is held in high esteem among early synth enthusiasts but is not widely known, along with an additional disc of re-workings by some of the record's admirers (Oneohtrix Point Never, James Ferraro, Arp, etc.) Between the original record and the new versions, offers an endlessly listenable introduction to Grosskopf's music that also serves a fascinating window into the sound of a specific time and place.The various versions on ask a simple question-- what happens when we translate these textures and ideas into the present?The biggest differences have to do with the presence of steady 4/4 kicks and a tendency to favor his moodier material.Curious New Yorkers can catch Grosskopf performing Edwin Eugene Aldrin, a.k.a.Buzz, the second astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission to sink his feet in moon soil on July 19, 1969.The low octave vocal sample at the end of the piece was picked from a library music LP.The voice archive on the LP sounds like someone saying “1847” (the year) in German.“Vast amounts of coffee and smokeable substances helped me overcome the technology-induced frustration,” Grosskopf writes in the record’s recent RVNG reissue.“I usually began recording in the afternoon and worked through the following morning. I loved being musically independent, never interrupted by anyone, communicating with the equipment and myself.” The Ash Ra Tempel/Klaus Schulze sideman was so entranced by his work that he’d often fall asleep right next to his meager 12-channel mixer, one of many pieces of equipment that reminded Grosskopf of the advice he once received from Manuel Göttsching: “Work with what you have, otherwise your dream will always stay a dream.” In the following exclusive feature, the Kraut-rock icon expands on his general album commentary with a track-by-track breakdown–streaming player and all–of the entire record.

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