Conrad Schnitzler & Pyrolator’s Con-struct

12th March 2016

Title: Con-struct

Label: Bureau B

Schnitzler was one of principle figures in the development of krautrock but he was a man of many talents including sculpture. His training was formal too, he worked with Stockhausen while being inspired by the likes of John Cage and Pierre Schaeffer. In terms of krautrock, Schnitzler worked with both Tangerine Dream (on Electric Meditation, in 1970) and Kluster. In fact, Schnitzler worked with both Mobius and Roedelius on Klopfzeichen (1970) and Zwei Osterei (1971). Schnitzler left to develop a solo career soon afterwards, although he maintained close links with the fraternity as he developed an acoustic process in conjunction with tape loops and electronics. The mid to late-70s was a quiet time for Schnitzler but he seemed to come alive again, spreading himself around on a gamut of small labels, in the 80s with trance-like and even pop-oriented projects such as Consequenz and Con 3 respectively (the latter featured a collaboration with Ton Steine Scherben’s Wolfgang Sequenza). The early 90s were quiet again but he resumed his activity in the late 90s culminating in 00/830, released a few days before he died from stomach cancer.

This work is a posthumous collaboration with Kurt Dahlke (aka Pyrolater, Ata Tak and ex-member of DAF) who has been granted access to Schnitzler’s archive of, well, bit and pieces. Lumps of sonic snippets, odd and ends, bricks to be used to construct…something. Hence, the name. Dahlke has plundered the Schnitzler audio library to create a new work: this is no a remix of any sort.

Each of the 12 tracks has a number. 389 8 gets the show on the road with a beautiful wash of synth harmonics that blend with contrasting simplified, random percussion that gives the album a real ‘Ta-Daaa!!!’ moment. That beauty remains, essentially, despite becoming more complex and unsure of itself in 288 1 as more foreboding percussion and voices add elements of seriousness into the mix until we get to 289 5 which changes the mood entirely. Using an 60s TV theme toolbox, the electronics provides a melody with a frown. It’s beautifully dynamic over a good quality hi-fi, though.

The explorations continue throughout from the sparse atmosphere, almost submersible 316 1, offering claustrophobic vibes to the aggressive industrial tones of 289 2.

This is an adventurous and expansion creation, offering plenty to get your teeth into. I look forward to hearing more from this archival source in the future. Schnitzler lives, eh?