Parallel Worlds & Dave Bessell ‘Dystopia’

Synthesists Bakis Sirros and Dave Bessell have released a new album, ‘Dystopia’.

We asked them about their collaboration, their gear and the inspiration for their music. … Read More Parallel Worlds & Dave Bessell ‘Dystopia’

Videos for Mary Ocher’s moving avant-pop reflect on a violent world

Music can still have something to say. Not just a hackneyed protest song or music that wears politics like dress-up, but – something to tell you.

When it hits you, you can sometimes feel a bit weak in the knees.

That was the impact for me of Mary Ocher’s new album, two tracks of which get video treatments. The songs themselves have a message, but then their meaning becomes even more stark in the music videos – reason to share them here. I’m slightly self-conscious that the way I knew about this album was initially in being asked through a friend to do a remix of one. Then I found myself listening to “Arms” on loop. Mary’s singing has for me some real power.

I think however narrative or abstract, a video is a success when it doesn’t just illustrate, but illuminates the music content. I didn’t know the back story for Mary’s lyrics (more on that later), but then seeing Israel through her eyes gave me some deeper insight. (Mary was born in Russia, but lived a large part of her life in Israel. She’s now based, like many recent Israeli transplants, in Berlin.)

Maybe it’s the moment we’re in, when the world seems to reveal its darker tendencies and conflicts threaten to shake it apart. But it feels the right time to look in the mirror, in Mary’s music.

Can you talk a bit about the words to ‘Arms’ – independent of the imagery we see here? What was its inspiration?

The song emerged out of this very context, hope it’s not too much of a let down. Of course, it is valid on a greater scale, but what made me write down those words was an encounter that happened several years ago, as I was visiting Tel Aviv on one of the first trips since I left it. I was sitting in a bus and a couple of guns were idly pointing at me from the seated soldiers on my right, who were not paying any attention.

Being removed from that environment, all of a sudden, revealed just how odd the prevalence of weapons is in the public sphere. Social environments are so strangely flexible, you are taught to accept something, and most people wouldn’t dare question. I find the commonness of weapons absolutely terrifying – not to mention the fear and the hate that are part of the mechanism that fuels the desire for weapons.

What was the process of filming ‘Arms’ like? You had a lot of participation from the people we see in this film, yes?

Haha. soldiers were very keen on demonstrating their tools. I suppose it’s a source of pride.

Your presence throughout the video is arresting to me, and honest, somehow. What’s your hope in terms of how the viewer would take this – given we’re living in a world in which strength and militarism are taking on new meanings, what would you want them to see here?

Quite frankly, I didn’t know how to make it clearer that I am appalled by that reality, anything protest-y would have been tacky. Perhaps that unintentionally makes the video more accessible to those who have never visited the region. Still, I expected some very hurt right-wingers to express their rage at my lack of respect to their desire “to protect themselves from their evil enemies”, which is what I’ve been fed in Israeli schools as a child. I can only assume that in most areas of conflict, hate is being systematically taught to the young — the only thing we can do is not to listen.

At the end of the day, while civilians are busy being killed, someone is making money, money dictates the policies, conflicts and their resolutions, the safety of people is little importance, while at least on paper the lives of citizens matter, the lives of non-citizens matters not at all.

Where does pacifism fit in this? Some of us were recently confronted with this by [cultural collective] female:pressure’s Rojava campaign, as that literally brought us face to face with someone who advocated armed resistance in order to defend their communities. Are there limits to our pacifism?

Pacifism is a luxury only those who are not under life-threatening conditions can support. I do, while realizing that a peaceful existence is only possible as long as no one else attacks. If we would all decide collectively to support that notion, that’d be a very different story, but we’d have to undo all of human history. And still, yes, pacifism is a noble idea we should aspire to.

To contrast the message of these videos, then there’s “The Endlessness (Song for Young Xenophobes)” Should I take that title literally; do you have a message for those people?

Quite tongue-in-cheek, I suppose; I don’t suppose we would have much of a conversation. Though I have recently discovered that some conservatives… errr, if not downright outspoken racists liked my work (and that nearly made me choke). Would these people be more likely to listen? I think they’d rather be the ones who shout “don’t go into politics, just play your song and look pretty.” I used to be comfortable with my well-read, far-left, queer audience, each of them could have been a friend.

I thought this imagery of the desert went beautifully with the words, and against the urban / populated imagery of the “Arms” video. What’s the significance of that landscape?

Thank you! I was looking for images of serenity, or an illusion of it.

Photo: Katja Ruge.

Photo: Katja Ruge.

Can you talk a bit about the production on this music? Having worked with one of the vocal tracks, of course, I feel a bit closer to them. But I love that there’s a sort of rawness to them, a kind of recording technique that feels a bit timeless rather than overly contemporary. What was your objective with that?

“The West Against The People” was recorded mostly at the Faust Studio, though I started recording bits for it in Berlin, and collected additional recordings from Felix Kubin and Die Tödliche Doris to work with. I’ve had the help of two sound engineers and three drummers (I also played drums, though badly, on a track, so that makes us four), as well as Hans Joachim Irmler, who is the patriarch of the studio. Julia Kent contributed cello to one of the tracks that is not featured on the album. All in all, I’ve returned with 24 new tracks, and only 13 could fit on the LP… we’re planning a special edition of the record that will reveal additional tracks bit by bit in the coming months. Sound-wise, I just don’t like most of contemporary music very much. perhaps it’s awful to say, but I’m afraid it’s true.

Mary’s full-length, The West Against The People will be out on March 10 on Klangbad. Vinyl, CD, digital.

Read her essay, The West Against the People.

The remixes are out now, starting with a heavy track by The Autist – it’s a pay-what-you-will benefit album for asylum seekers.

The post Videos for Mary Ocher’s moving avant-pop reflect on a violent world appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Cosmic Krautrock At Superbooth 2016 (Kosmische Musik)

Superbooth 16: This video captures an excerpt of a live ‘Cosmic Krautrock’ performance  by synthesist Udo Hanten and Klaus Hoffmann. The duo performs with a Moon Modular 5U modular synthesizer and the new Memotron m2k. Here’s what they have to … Continue reading

Kraftwerk In Their Psychedelic Jam Band Days

 Sunday Synth Jam: This vintage video, from 1971, captures Kraftwerk in their so-called ‘Krautrock’ experimental rock days.  Here’s another video, from about the same time, capturing an live television performance: At that point, Kraftwerk’s sound and style were completely different than … Continue reading

Roedelius: Dreamy, Ambling Ambience from an Electronic Legend [Videos]


Born in a very different Berlin in 1934, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is an elder legend of electronic music and piano, having helped establish the voice of German krautok and ambient music. (Think Cluster, Harmonia, Aquarello.)

But today, he is as active in international tours as artists a fraction of his age, freely pouring out music. And his music itself is liberated, flowing … youthful. In a live performance captured recently at the arts space Mindpirates, he joins the excellent multi-instrumentalist and bass player Armin Metz. With great swells of sound amidst a nicely-meandering, jazz-like exploration of notes and mists, the two explore mystical electrified dreamworlds.

The final bits are a sneak listen to “Red Ambience,” forthcoming on the release Ubi Bene with Leon Muraglia. Kevin Klein
and Ralf Schmerberg filmed the event on August 22, which evidently put attendees in a lovely mood.

Roedelius from Mindpirates e.V. on Vimeo.

For more, here’s a live preview from last year, of Sub Rosa’ release King of Hearts. Swiss-born Christopher Chaplin joins him on that record.

ROEDELIUS & CHAPLIN : King of Hearts : Live Preview 2012 from Luma.Launisch on Vimeo.

More on his Website:

The post Roedelius: Dreamy, Ambling Ambience from an Electronic Legend [Videos] appeared first on Create Digital Music.

The Mad Scientist Modular Synthesizer Hauntology Krautrock Album

Can Krautrock come from Iowa? Iowa native Andre LaFosse has a new album, Do The Math, that he describes as “the mad scientist modular synthesizer hauntology krautrock album.” LaFosse says that Do The Math explores the possibilities of ‘unstable and archaic musical machinery’: … Continue reading

R.I.P. Conrad Schnitzler

Experimental electronic music artist Conrad Schnitzler – who was a member of the original incarnation of Tangerine Dream and had a 40 year solo career – died August 4th of pancreatic cancer. Schnitzler completed his final work, 00/830, a few days before his death. At right, a photograph of Schnitzler from July 23,2011. In the last years […]

R.I.P. Conrad Schnitzler

Experimental electronic music artist Conrad Schnitzler – who was a member of the original incarnation of Tangerine Dream and had a 40 year solo career – died August 4th of pancreatic cancer. Schnitzler completed his final work, 00/830, a few days before his death. At right, a photograph of Schnitzler from July 23,2011. In the last years […]

Kraftwerk’s Die Roboter Music Video (1978)

Click here to view the embedded video.

This retro-futuristic video, from 1978, captures Kraftwerk performing Die Roboter.

Die Roboter captures Kraftwerk at the peak of their Mensch-Maschine heyday, in the middle of their 1974 (Autobahn) to 1978 (The Man-Machine) creative peak.

Die Roboter

Wir laden unsere Batterie
Jetzt sind wir voller Energie

Wir sind die Roboter

Wir funktionieren automatik
Jetzt wollen wir tanzen mechanik

Wir sind die Roboter

Wir sind auf Alles programmiert
Und was du willst wird ausgefuehrt

New Krautrock Phaser Recreates Classic Kraftwerk Effect

Mode Machines has introduced the KRP-1 Krautrock Phaser, a phaser effect that uses a unique analog circuit design, based on the famous phaser used in the 1970s “Gerd Schulte Audio Technik Berlin – Compact Phasing A Number 1″.

The Krautrock Phaser is handmade in Franconia, Germany and features all discrete circuitry. The phasing amplitude is created by two lamps and 8 photo-couplers to generate a unique phasing effect.

According to Mode Machines, “You will get an idea of the impressive sound if you listen to Kraftwerk´s Autobahn. (You know – that one part. -ed)

The Krautrock phaser can be used as a guitar pedal or as a studio synthesizer processing tool. There is an input for CV pedals to control the amplitude. There is one mono 1/4″ input and two stereo 1/4″ outputs.

Famous users of the original unit include: Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and Tommy Bolin.


  • Modulation
  • Feedback
  • OSC-Period and Phasing/ Amplitude

The Krautrock Phaser should be available in November for $589 from Big City Music.