Monday, October 20, 2014

The Children Of Sunshine - 1971 - Dandelions

The Children Of Sunshine 
1971
Dandelions





01. Dandelions
02. The College School
03. Tuffy
04. War
05. They Call It Love
06. The Children of Sunshine
07. Uncle Harry
08. If You Are Lonely
09. Talking
10. It's a Long Way to Heaven
11. Harmony
12. Talking

Kitsy Christner and Therese Williams recorded a novelty album as ten-year-olds. Forty years later, Dandelions is an Internet sensation.



One typical 1970 afternoon, Thérèse Williams, nicknamed "Tres," and her best friend Kitsy Christner gathered for their usual after-school guitar lesson. The two Webster Groves fifth-graders were in a silly mood. While waiting for their guitar teacher, Jim Curran, they discussed a Christmas party that Kitsy's parents were planning. Tres wasn't yet sure if she could stay over that weekend.

"Be sure to ask your mom!" Kitsy reminded Tres.

"I will," said Tres.

"Be sure to ask your grandparents!"

"I will, Kitsy! I'll even ask my dog, Tuffy! And he'll say, Arf arf arf arf!"

Then Tres began strumming her guitar, landing on a two-chord pattern, and began improvising lyrics:

Arf-arf-fa-farf, that's what Tuffy will say

After I ask him,

Can I go to Kitsy's house?

I'm gonna run away from home and go to Kitsy's party!

As Kitsy joined in, Curran arrived, overheard the cheerful singing and playing, and asked, "What was that you were doing? You know you were writing music?"

"What do you mean? We were just goofing around!"

"No, that is making music! Keep going. This is today's lesson. I'm not teaching you anything else. You're going to expand this."

This is how Tres and Kitsy, two ten-year-olds from St. Louis County, wrote their first song. Before they graduated sixth grade, they made an album called Dandelions under the band name Children of Sunshine, sold 300 copies to friends and family, appeared on local TV and radio, and — thanks to a garage-sale rediscovery by a local record collector — inadvertently created a collector's item that now sells for upward of $500 on eBay. There is currently no other way to hear it besides the gray-market world of Internet file sharing.

It also happens to be a wonderful album. Dandelions' ten short songs are clearly influenced by the folk music of the time — Judy Collins, Carole King, James Taylor — but the melodies are so memorable, the performances so strong and unjaded, the vocal harmonies so shaky but effective, that it's utterly charming even now. Tres and Kitsy sing about family friends, pets, the world around them, God and each other. There are silly songs with inside jokes, but there are also confused observations on a Vietnam-era world ("War") and a resigned, almost heartbroken look at divorced parents ("They Call It Love"). It's very intimate music, not meant for an audience beyond themselves and their close friends and classmates.

Despite this — or, more likely, because of it — Dandelions has struck a chord with a discerning class of musicians and record collectors. When Beth Sorrentino, the former lead singer/pianist of 1990s alt-rock band Suddenly, Tammy!, heard Children of Sunshine, the duo immediately reminded her of "the untouched and authentic sound" that she loves in her own music students. "They seem to understand music on a very different level. It's fresh in their ears. Kids, I find, don't sing or play music unless they completely feel it. The experience for them seems incredibly in the moment. It feels almost like you are eavesdropping on them. [The music is] just pure and clean, full of flowers and sunshine, and just a dash of edge."

"When music is this special, we want to share it," suggests British rock critic Everett True, who featured Children of Sunshine on his website, collapseboard.com. "It's so understated, so human. I love singing where you can hear the personality of the singers. The music is fantastic, the way it's so nearly not there. There's such untroubled joy there."

Everett heard about the album from Ben Ayres, a founding member of the band Cornershop. "The album puts me in mind of artists like Beat Happening, the Shaggs, the Vaselines and many other musicians I love who aren't afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves and put musical ideas and emotions before detailed technical ability," Ayres says from London. "I deeply believe that most great music is on the boundaries of the so-called rules of music and more in the spirit and emotion-led area."

It's lofty praise for an LP that, almost accidentally, is only now worming its way into eager ears. It's certainly taken the creators off-guard. They occasionally get calls from curious fans, asking if it's really them.

"You have to understand, when we listen to it, there's a part of us that's very proud and profoundly moved," says Thérèse Williams. She lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico, now, but took time out of her vacation in Oregon to discuss Dandelions. "But there are other parts where I'm just in pain at the sound of my voice, or how simple it was. Very childish. Immature, almost."

"For a long time, it was sort of an embarrassment," says Kitsy Christner Sheahan, who still lives in St. Louis and works as a real estate agent. "Now I'm thinking: 'You know what? It's OK to come back to this now. It was always a fun, exciting time, but it's OK to be proud about it.'"

The College School of Webster Groves was originally founded in 1963 as a teaching school for undergraduate education majors at Webster College. Then, as now, the school was known for its program of "experiential" education, with emphases on direct experience and theme-based learning. "The school was extremely supportive of students exploring learning on their own," says John MacEnulty, who was one year behind Tres and Kitsy in school. "There was a specific curriculum in math and science, but everything else was sort of loosely guided. Students were encouraged to come up with projects of their own to explore things."

Kitsy began attending the College School in the fall of 1970, at the beginning of her fifth-grade year. "My parents, especially my mother, would seek out the most creative teaching styles and had learned about the College School," she recalls. "So she moved my siblings and me from the public-school system." Her father played a few instruments, her siblings took lessons, and both her parents were fans and patrons of the arts.

On her first day at her new school, Kitsy met Tres, who had been at the College School since the second grade. She lived right across the street with her mother. Her father, Jimmy Williams, was a well-known local jazz pianist and an integral part of the Gaslight Square scene. "He was right in the middle of it," Tres Williams remembers. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler, but she retains almost subliminal memories of Williams' presence in the home. "He watched me when I was a baby. He used to play classical music for me all the time. There's a passage of Mozart's Requiem that makes me just melt. Even though I don't have a memory of him in my household, I apparently have this cellular memory relating to music."

Tres and Kitsy went through the first school day together and signed up for extra courses — including Jim Curran's guitar class. "He was not a teacher per se at the College School. It was part of his coursework at Webster College to teach us," Sheahan recalls. "I don't remember that I had picked up a guitar more than a couple of times beforehand."

"I had taken guitar classes with [Curran] the previous year, and Kitsy and I, just by chance, were going into class together," adds Williams. "We played beautifully together, sang together and liked each other."

Through school and guitar class, the two became best friends. Tres would spend weekends at Kitsy's house; the two would ride horses together at the Christners' farm in Dutzow, about an hour west of St. Louis. "You seldom spoke of them separately," says MacEnulty. "They were always 'Kitsy and Tres.'"

It was at one of these weekend sleepovers that the idea arose to make an album.

"Kitsy's parents had a lot of music parties, and we'd always do 'shows,'" Williams remembers. Uncle Scott and Aunt Judy, two of Kitsy's relatives, were in town from Kansas City. After an impromptu "concert," Uncle Scott said, "You two are good! Why don't you make an album?"

That was all the encouragement the precocious pair needed. With support from the College School, pre-production began. They had taken pictures of themselves in a field of dandelions at Webster College, so Dandelions became the album title and photo. Williams still marvels at the ease and enthusiasm with which her College School teachers took to the project: "As soon as it was clear we were on this track, they completely supported us to the point where we would get out of school to do performances. We would take school time to write music, perform on TV and radio. The whole school as well as our parents were totally supportive. They allowed us to be in control of the entire process."

Under Curran's tutelage, they wrote enough songs for a ten-song LP. There were no outtakes or unreleased tracks. To get comfortable with the recording process, they gave a concert at the College School — their first performance outside of practice sessions and spontaneous shows for family and friends. For the recording, they rented a church on Big Bend Boulevard and hired two backing musicians, Wendy Katz on acoustic bass and Mike Kieffer on drums. They rented the church for an entire week, but Tres and Kitsy, being kids, finished the songs in two days and were too restless to spend time overdubbing or doing extra takes. "If we've recorded everything, can we be done?" they begged. There are two tracks of between-song chatter on Dandelions, and you can actually hear them arguing about song endings, and their audible relief after finishing the last track.

They mixed the tracks with Kent Kesterson at KBK/Earth City Sound Studios. Later a world-class studio and rehearsal space — Welders' drummer Jane Fujimoto recalls it as "like being aboard a giant spaceship" — it was then a tiny basement studio.

"He was recording high school choirs at the time," Sheahan says. "When we had to make decisions, we all met in his basement. And the adults let us decide." A total of 300 copies were pressed, and Tres and Kitsy sold them for five dollars apiece. "Jesus Christ Superstar was really big at the time," Williams says. "It was ten dollars for a double album, so we figured we could sell ours for five."

While waiting for the albums to arrive, the Children of Sunshine found themselves sought by local media. They appeared on two radio stations, KMOX (1120 AM) and a college station that neither now remembers. The Post-Dispatch wrote them up on the front page of the Sunday entertainment section underneath the headline "Songwriting Not For the Young at Heart." Most exciting, they appeared twice on Corky's Colorama, a long-running children's show hosted by Corky the Clown, also known as KSDK-TV (Channel 5) weatherman Clif St. James. "[Corky] had Tuffy's Pet Foods as a sponsor, so he had us sing it and then held up a can of dog food," says Tres. Their parents printed up business cards that said "Tres and Kitsy — Guitar Entertainment" on yellow card stock with raised orange lettering.

"Oh my gosh, we felt larger than life," Sheahan recalls with a laugh. "It was so fun and exciting."

And then it was over. By the time the albums arrived, Tres and Kitsy were in sixth grade and on to the next phase of their lives. There were no Children of Sunshine concert tours. In fact, both of them were a little embarrassed by the whole thing. "When you're ten or eleven, you're still a little girl," explains Sheahan. "When you get into the early teen years, you want to make sure you're still seeking approval from the people around you. And all of a sudden, we went through this transition where we had felt like what we had done was so wonderful, and then we thought it was babyish."

"By sixth grade, Kitsy's brothers were all into rock music," adds Williams. "No sooner was the album released than we were ashamed it wasn't hard rock. We had a psychological block to it for many years."

The pair graduated sixth grade and stayed together one more year — some of the College School parents from their grade started the Satellite School at Nerinx Hall High School. Then Tres moved onto Webster Groves High School, and Kitsy to Ladue Horton Watkins High School. The pair kept in touch but did not do any more songwriting or recording.

And that would have been the last anyone had heard of Children of Sunshine. Except for a little invention no one but a few computer scientists could have predicted in 1971: the Internet.

There have always been record collectors seeking out the most obscure recordings available. From old blues recordings and Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music to the present day, private, ultra-limited-edition pressings have always been valued for their scarcity and odd charm. "Obscurity itself will not sustain collector interest," suggests Irwin Chusid, a long-time DJ at Jersey City, New Jersey's WFMU (91.1 FM) who has produced reissues by the likes of Lucia Pamela and the Langley Schools Music Project. "However, obscurity and some musical magic, however raw, can spark cult appeal, especially if there's a back story and existing copies are rare."

Chuck Warner surely had this philosophy in mind while browsing a west-county garage sale some time in the mid-1990s. Now based in New England, Warner is a collector of some renown. His Hyped to Death label has unearthed literally hundreds of obscure punk, pop and post-punk one-offs and obscurities. He claims to have been one of the first to discover the Shaggs' Philosophy of the World, a strange but beguiling album by a trio of New Hampshire sisters that has spawned cult fame, a musical and a possible biopic. Through trial and error, he's trained himself to sift the vanity projects from the gems. "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of private-press LPs with promisingly crude artwork that turn out to be high school and college glee club and show bands, or religious records," Warner says. So when he happened across Dandelions at this particular garage sale, he was naturally suspicious. But, hey, it was only a quarter — so he bought the album and took it home.

"Of course, when I listened to it, I was blown away by both the musical sophistication and the lyrics." Warner recalls. And thus began the search for answers, in time-honored collector fashion: Who are these people? And what are they doing now?

Warner began sleuthing. He called the College School's alumni office, which would not give out contact information. When he realized that they had friends in common, he put out a request for information and a fresh, unopened copy of the album — only to find out, "Kitsy and Tres did not seem to want anything to do with the record and were not willing to sell copies to me at any price."

"We just didn't want to claim it anymore," Sheahan recalls. "The man I ended up marrying, his family had dear friends that went to the College School with me. While I was out of town, his mother had our record album in her living room and said, 'You're not going to believe who this is!' Even then, I was still embarrassed."

Warner played Dandelions for a few select contacts. One was ex-Dead Kennedys' vocalist Jello Biafra, known for his passion for "incredibly strange music."

Another was a long-time friend of Warner's in California. Said friend finally traded a pile of punk records for Warner's copy of the album, did his own research and found Williams on the Internet.

She was annoyed that someone had sold Dandelions at a garage sale.

"My instant reaction was, 'Who's the jerk who sold our album when they could have called and given it back to us?'" Williams remembers.

By this time, both Williams and Sheahan were happily going about their adult lives. Sheahan stayed in the area, married, had three children and began selling real estate. Williams married, divorced after fifteen years and eventually found her way to New Mexico. There she became active in music once again — this time playing percussion in Brazilian samba bands — and started working in "permaculture," or sustainable land-use design. Her organization has helped set up agricultural systems throughout Latin America. (When it's suggested that she's come full circle from Dandelions to permaculture, she laughs. "If you're growing shallow-rooted crops, leaving the dandelions actually brings nutrients up to the surface," she says. "So dandelions are very valuable.")

Warner's friend convinced an initially skeptical Williams to sell him a batch of unopened albums, and from there the recordings traveled around the world.

In April 2009, the blog swanfungus.com provided a download link to a digitized copy of Dandelions. "I listened to it yesterday for the first time and can't really think of a good musical comparison, but the songs are actually really cool, and the recording doesn't smack of kitsch in any way," wrote the Webmaster. This is the link that rock critic Everett True posted to his faithful readers and promoted on Twitter.

It's been a long, strange trip: from a west-county garage sale to a collector in California, to a musician in England to an English writer currently living in Australia and now back to St. Louis. It took a complex tangle of technology — a medium that some believe is destroying the music industry — to bring these low-key, isolated acoustic recordings to an audience that no one, least of all ten-year-olds Tres and Kitsy, could have imagined existed.

Even so, the pair is making plans. In between writing a book about her father, Williams is fielding offers and talking to record labels about reissues. There have been a few offers, and they're considering how to best preserve the innocence and legacy of the original project. She and Sheahan have even discussed a "reunion" concert — maybe a potluck dinner for their family and friends, maybe even at the College School itself.

There's one bittersweet part of the story: Jim Curran, the man who taught them guitar and inspired the whole project, is nowhere to be found. They're still looking for Curran, and both were adamant that he be mentioned in this story.

"We cannot find him, and we want him to be part of this resurgence," stresses Williams. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't even be writing music. He was our protective bubble through the entire process."

But Williams and Sheahan would be crazy not to keep hope alive. If the story of Children of Sunshine teaches us anything, it's that we're all interconnected in complex and seemingly random ways. The concept of "six degrees of separation" is now as outdated as eight-track tapes. If a Webster Groves duo's fifth-grade school project can reach across the decades to find an audience, perhaps their teacher is closer than they think.


EL: Evan LeVine
TW: Thérèse (Tres) Williams
KC: Kitsy Christner

EL: Can you tell me about yourself?

TW: My legal name is Thérèse Williams. The nickname “Tres” was created by a second-grade teacher who felt “Thérèse” was too difficult. I reclaimed my true name “Thérèse” as a junior in high school. Although I was married for fifteen years and had changed my last name to my husband’s in 1984, I changed my name back to Williams via my divorce in 1999, reclaiming my father’s name the year before his death. It was a good choice.

My father was Jimmy Williams, jazz pianist/composer/arranger. He had a strong 50 year musical history in St. Louis. He started playing professional jazz piano while only 15, playing with an adult jazz band in East St. Louis.  His original composition “Jim’s Tune” is covered on the vinyl album ‘Five Brothers’ on Tampa Records (sold for $1.98 back in the day), with Red Mitchell/bass, Bob Enevoldsen/tenor sax, Herbie Harper/trombone, Don Overburg/guitar, and Frank Capp/drums. I have two in my possession. He’s also on three CDs that I know of. A 1957 recording of Bob Graf’s ‘Bob Graf at Westminster’ and a 1995 issue of Jay Hungerford’s ‘Jay Hungerford presents The Keys to the City’. Each track is a duet with Jay on acoustic bass. He let my dad name his track; “Get Out of Town” – Cole Porter. My dad’s long-time buddy, and best man at my parents’ wedding, Joe Bozzi came out with a CD after my father’s death “Nice Vibes and a Trumpet” with a cover of my dad’s original composition “Jimmy’s bossa Nova (Only a Dream Ago)”, and the original recording from the late ’60s on the Charlotte Peters Show in St. Louis (ABC) of “Jordu” (the Jazz Salerno Quartet, later the Joe Bozzi Quartet was the house band at the Playboy Club Penthouse in St. Louis for many years-they performed on her show to promote the Penthouse shows at the Playboy Club).

I have recordings of his that I need to put to digital and release. I’m also doing a website for his musical legacy. He was the musical director and had the “Jimmy Williams Orchestra” for a jazz series for St. Louis’ PBS (channel 9). He was musical director and pianist for the Golden Rod Showboat in St. Louis, docked at Laclede’s landing. He did jazz arrangements for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The Doc Severinsen Band of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show performed one of his arrangements (I have to find out which one and when). He studied with Henry Mancini. He was in the middle of the Gaslight Square phenomenon in St. Louis in the late ’50s, early ’60s due to the fact that he was the musical director and pianist at the Crystal Palace in it’s heyday. At the Crystal Palace my father played for the Smothers Brothers, Barbara Streisand, Odetta, Lenny Bruce, and so many others.

My father drowned in my presence in St. Charles, just outside St. Louis in September 2000 in the Missouri River. Twenty-three musicians from the ages of 23 to 60+ played his musical memorial. They played his arrangements, original compositions, and his personal favorites. We have video. I’ve inherited his music and piano…so it’s in my blood; I have great timing and a good ear…but I never mastered any one instrument, I never truly studied music. My father studied music at a young age. He was practicing piano four hours a day starting at age fourteen because something in him ‘had’ to. He was considered in St. Louis to be a musician’s musician; a master musician, of the bebop era. There are jazz musicians all over St. Louis that have suitcases of my father’s arrangements. When a band leader would hire my dad for a gig, they new they’d get amazing arrangements thrown in!

After Dandelions, I never played music again until after my father died, twelve years ago. I had to step back into that river gradually. Song writing is my life-long therapy.

EL: Can you settle the Dandleions/Children Of Sunshine/Tres & Kitsy thing?

TW: The album was titled Dandelions. We called ourselves The Children of Sunshine, but were known as Tres & Kitsy (Tres & Kitsy is what was printed on the album labels).

EL: The back cover of the record tells us a lot about the history of ‘Dandelions’ — but it doesn’t say how Kitsy and Tres met, just that you met two years before the album was recorded. So, how did you two meet exactly, and how was your friendship different before you started taking guitar lessons?

TW: Kitsy and I first met at The College School in Webster Groves on the first day of school in 1970. We were both ten years old and starting the fifth grade. I had been at the school since the second grade, but this was Kitsy’s first year there. At the time, it was an open-classroom school supported by Webster College, which is now Webster University, in Webster Groves, MO (The College School has been independent for many years now and is in a different Webster Groves location). We just happened to be thrown in together for a guitar class with Jim Curran, an art major at the college who was a work-study student teacher, giving guitar music lessons to the students at The College School (it was a very progressive school at the time and we were allowed to create our own schedules and curriculum). I had taken guitar classes from Jim in the previous year (fourth grade/1969-70).

We were at similar levels with guitar musically, and played surprisingly well together. We also sang together beautifully and we both liked the same folk artists: Judy Collins, Peter Paul and Mary, Buffy St. Marie, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, John Denver, James Taylor, etc. Through the music, we quickly became best friends; we were inseparable! We were together all the time, in school, outside of school, weekends, vacations,  so we had every opportunity to play our guitars, singing the music we loved together…and we LOVED our guitars! We were real hams, performing for our parents/family and their friends. We participated in all the school concerts along with Jim’s other guitar students.

From the time we met and played music together in the Fall of 1970, to the time we began writing music together Christmas of 1970, was a total of only four months. In the song “The College School”, our opening line is “It was just two years ago, when we picked up our guitars…”, which was true for both of us, but this was independent of one another, prior to having met. Within five months, from Christmas 1970 to the Spring of 1971, we had written ten songs for the album and recorded ‘Dandelions’. We had enthusiastically decided upon the photograph we’d use for the album cover (one we had developed ourselves in our photography class).

Our friendship was very rich, and mutually inspiring. I feel that it was our unique chemistry that made our magic. Our chemistry as friends, as well as the alchemy of Jim working with us so closely, along with the support of the adults around us; family and school. No one tried to edit our creativity, instead, the focus was on our true unbridled expression. We were very fortunate to have a true creative philosophy surrounding and nurturing us.

EL: What was it like writing all the songs that wound up on the album? Do you remember who wrote which songs, or was it a totally collaborative process?

TW: Christmas was approaching in 1970, and Jim was late for our regularly scheduled guitar class. To pass the time, we started to talk about the Christmas party that Kitsy’s parents were planning. Kitsy wanted to make sure that I would come and spend the weekend of the party at her house. I told her that I’d have to ask my folks for permission, she was insisting that I get permission, so I assured her that I’d even ask my dog Tuffy. She asked me, jokingly, what he’d say, so I began to play my guitar and sing “Arf, arf, arf, arf”. At that moment, Jim came bursting through the door (he was never late). He had witnessed us laughing and singing “Arf, arf, arf, arf”. Jim said “Hey, play that again!” We laughed at his interest in what seemed completely silly to us, but he said “No, you guys are writing music! You just wrote a song!” He dedicated our guitar class that afternoon to our song-writing, encouraging us to develop our first song together, “Tuffy” [MP3] written about my Boston Terrier Bulldog.

I remember it being very easy to write music and lyrics at the time. I had mine, and Kitsy had hers, and we’d bring them to one another and get excited about them and collaborate till we felt they were right. I wrote the song “War” and had bounced it off my carpool friend and schoolmate Crystal Gore, who made a few musical suggestions in the backseat of the taxicab that our parents chartered to bring us to and from school (along with other kids who lived in the city of St. Louis and attended The College School in Webster Groves). I brought “War” to Kitsy and we collaborated further, giving Crystal additional writing credit on the track (her name is on the label itself, listed on the track, not on the album cover, none of the songs are listed on the cover). While Kitsy’s family wintered in Steamboat Springs, CO, she wrote the song “If You Are Lonely”, then brought it back to me in St. Louis and we collaborated further. Every song on the album is original and represents some form of our collaboration together musically/creatively. Our unique alchemy was an inspiration for us both. All that we did, was because we had done it together. Our unique chemistry, our unique bond, seemed to have a life of it’s own, far greater than the sum of our independent creativity.

EL: Where did you record the album?

TW: Kent Kesterson of KBK Records recorded us in a Webster Groves church on Big Bend. It was modern with carpeted floors and a surround pulpit; it was a good acoustic choice. At the time Kent recorded High School choirs on location and did all his mixing in his basement studio in his new home in the newly developed Earth City which had previously been farmland for miles around. Ten years later he had created KBK/Earth City Sound Studios where he recorded albums for Mama’s Pride, voice recordings for John Davidson, and Black Sabbath used his studio for rehearsing. He was interviewed in Billboard Magazine in 1980 regarding his studio expansion which, at that time, was the most state-of-the-art recording facility in the Midwest outside of Nashville. Like many recording studios in the early ’80s, he was forced to sell the entire studio at auction to cover his bills…I think they went bankrupt. Unfortunately, Kent died of a stroke during the ’90s.

John MacEnulty Sr. provided professional musical assistance. Al Schmeez designed the album cover. Wendy Katz played acoustic bass. Mike Keifer was on drum kit. Kitsy’s parents paid for the cost of the record being made. My mom printed our business cards “Tres & Kitsy, The Children of Sunshine, Guitar Entertainment” and included our home numbers. I still have four copies of the business cards!

EL: Do you remember being nervous your first time in a recording studio?

TW: Kent, as were all the adults surrounding our project, was wonderful. At the age of ten, we were allowed complete artistic freedom in all choices regarding our album and our music. Although we had scheduled a week of recording sessions, after two full days we were already tired of the long detail-oriented process and asked to stop recording at the end of day two. There was no day three. Our process was always honored. Kent invited us to his basement home studio to listen to our tracks. We were able to discern which cuts we preferred, as well as the order of the tracks. We were surprised to find two additional tracks added to our ten-song album. While the tape was rolling between official takes, Kent had captured Kitsy and I in conversation discussing the music, the last song we’d played, how we might perfect it or not, silly thoughts and feelings, and our excitement at being done with the recording process. It was a clever documentation of our age and sensibilities at the time in that unique setting. We were just happy to get out of the regular school day!

EL: Were there any songs you recorded during the ‘Dandelions’ sessions that did not make the LP?

TW: We only wrote together what you hear on the album. We were creating music all the time, but this album captures the only co-written material that we ever documented outside of radio and television performances.

EL: What’s your best/favorite memory of the recording sessions?

TW: We were also taking a photography class at our school and used a photo that we had developed of us as the album cover. In this photograph we were surrounded by a field of blooming dandelions. It was this dandelion field that inspired us to use one of the photos on the album cover and to title the album ‘Dandelions’. Only then did we write a song about it (title track 01).

We wrote songs about our school, a dandelion field, a family friend, my dog, divorce (which everyone’s parents around us seemed to be experiencing), heaven, god, war, how to make a record, and how not to be lonely. We never wrote any other songs together that ‘took’. Once we had a total of ten for the album, we figured we were done.

EL: Do you still have any of the pictures you took of the dandelion filed during the outing that inspired the album cover photos?

TW: We both have sets of enlarged photos from our dandelion field session that we mounted on board back in 1970. We made two identical sets for both of us. Each set had a portrait of each of us separately, as well as the one on the album cover of us together…we were squinting in the sun!

EL: Do you remember how many copies of the album were made, or how many were sold? Did you remember to keep copies for yourself?

TW: 300 albums were produced. Most were either sold one at a time to friends, family, and school-mates, or given away, so it’s fair to say that every copy that went out at that time was opened and played at least once. Our mothers kept the bulk of them, though we each had a few. A vinyl collector from LA bought most of what we had left and that was after he searched for us for fifteen years! A collector friend of his had found an old used copy of Dandelions at a yard sale in St. Louis and sold it to him. Apparently the LA collector has been getting the word out. We’re still pretty shocked over it all. Grade school friends write to tell me how they lost the album in their divorce, or how they found their album after their mother passed. It seems to be a personal bond for people.

EL: How did you feel about playing your songs in a live setting at such a young age?

TW: We were never nervous about performing. It came very naturally to us. We’d perform every chance we’d get, and we created a few of our own opportunities. We performed twice on the Children’s television show Corkey’s Colorama, a weekend children’s program hosted by Corkey the Clown, otherwise known as Cliff St. James, the NBC channel 5 weatherman. Once on his show we performed our song “Tuffy”, written about my dog, and Mr. St. James found a sponsor in Tuffy dog food which he pitched on the heels of our song. We performed live on KMOX radio (another NBC affiliate) and KDNA, an independent college station. We managed to score a feature entertainment story for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that included large photographs of each of us. We had a few small gigs in St. Louis. We were always performing at our school and we loved to get out of school to perform for others!

EL: What happened after the album was released? Did you consider making a second album? Did you keep playing music

TW: The album was released in the 71/72 school year. We were both eleven years old and in the sixth grade. We sold our albums for $5 each. I had set that price based upon the fact that the double album “Jesus Christ Superstar” was currently selling for $10 (a big price in those days).

Kitsy and I were best friends in the fifth and sixth grades. While preparing to graduate the sixth grade, we knew we’d be leaving The College School, which was a sad prospect, so a handful of students and their parents decided to create our own junior high school. Kitsy and I attended this new school which our parents had helped to create and which we had all named “The Satellite School” (I had even designed the school’s logo). Although we started the seventh grade as best friends, much had changed between us during that school year. We moved in different circles and followed different drummers, but we’ve always kept in touch over the years. We were in each others’ weddings. We never played music together again, but often made fun of ourselves having recorded Dandelions at ten when we were on the verge of discovering rock, which made our music seem pretty silly and babyish. We were ashamed of our music for many years. We took a lot of hard-core teasing from Kitsy’s older brother and the boys at school. Some of the boys pulled off a great prank by getting hold of the school’s speaker system and mocked us by singing “Barf, barf, barf, barf…that’s what you would do…after you see the room that Tuffy got to…”. I’m still in touch with some of those guys today and they still laugh at their coup of 1971!

I was always close to Kitsy’s mom, Jo. I’d spent a lot of time in their home, and felt a strong heart connection with her then as I do today. Their family gave me my own pony, Dusty. I was also inspired by her father, Ted, who was one of the top architects in St. Louis. When I went to college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, it was their pre-architecture program that drew me…that and wanting to leave St. Louis to be on my own. I remember how it felt to be in Ted’s office during the years Kitsy and I were close. Everyone at his firm was drawing blueprints and painting presentations and building models and it was all a beautiful candy store to me. I never completed the architecture program but excelled in all of my art classes. I should have changed my major to Fine Arts, I couldn’t grasp the physics required for architecture; I was great with calculus, but physics did me in. I also had an extreme fear of test-taking. A couple of family tragedies kept me from returning to school.

KC: While Therese became close with my family I too spent a wealth of time with her and her mother, Carol. She became like a second mother. She has a heart of gold, loved me, cared for me…She encouraged us to do anything that came to mind that was creative, never putting limits on us, making sure that we knew that we could do anything, be anything. She was a single mom, worked countless hours but always had time for us. She did not have any extra cash ever but I remember there always being enough for us to do something special, get an ice cream, or go to a movie.

EL: What are you doing with your lives currently?

KC: I am working in Residential Real Estate Sales in St. Louis. I am very happily married and have three beautiful children ages 22, 20 and 17. My free time is spent enjoying my family and in the outdoors.

TW: Today, I’m working in the field of permaculture. I’ve been working administratively over the past eight years in the executive office of the twenty-three year old 501c3 non-profit PAL-Permacultura America Latina. As PAL’s Administrative Director I handled all administration and financials from the executive office including all registrations, wires, scholarships, etc. Prince Charles wrote of his first permaculture tour to our center in Manaus, Brazil in his new book “Harmony”, where he’s photographed with PAL’s founder, President and International Program Coordinator Ali Sharif, and PAL’s Vice-President Carlos Miller. PAL…is serving communities and families in need of water and food security, as well as natural sanitation. This is a region that has survived civil war.

I fell into permaculture by accident. I am staying in the field because I strongly believe that sustainable design for living is the most viable solution for our current ecological, economic, and ethical condition of deterioration in our world. Through PAL, I was able to attend the IPC9 in Africa in 2009, where I received my 72hr International PDC-Permaculture Design Certificate Course at the Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre. The course was associated with the IPC9, which was held in Malawi. After the Malawi Convergence and Conference, I stayed for an additional week to receive a teaching certificate (TOT) in Permaculture Design from Rosemary Morrow of the Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute of Australia. I’m currently a member of the International PDC Support Group (the IPC selects a different continent and host for the IPCs every two years).

I recently started my own non-profit, Food and Permaculture for Communities, which is just getting off the ground. Working with numerous permaculturalists across Africa, my passion is to support and understand how permaculture empowers the women of Africa, and how the women of Africa empower their communities, though my interest isn’t in the women alone. Men and women are doing amazing work on their own. I want to support their work and network them with one another. I’m also interested in teaching people locally how to compost, harvest water, grow food, build with earth, and integrate systems for sustainable living. I spent weekends over the course of five months learning hands-on earth-building at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center in NM. I spent last summer as an Executive Assistant for the Carbon Economy Series of lectures and workshops in Santa Fe. I’ve taught composting to fourth-graders. I work at a local organic farm. I grow food and raise chickens in my spare time.

EL: Did either of you continue to play music?

TW: For the past 12 years I’ve played agogo bell with Samba Fe in Santa Fe and am learning to play an 18? surdo drum. I’m a guest agogo bell player for St. Louis’ Joya samba band when I’m in town. I’ve played agogo/cowbell for Mala Mana and also Batacutanga, of Albuquerque. I’ve been in the Albuquerque samba band The Lost Tribes of Mardi Gras for the past year (though I’ve played with them for the past ten years as a guest agogo and percussion player). They’ve got me singing again and I love it!

I’ve studied Zimbabwe Shona music over the years and have been in two local marimba bands and love singing vocals. I sang on stage with Michelle Shocked in Taos, New Mexico (we harmonized like angels – she is without a doubt a most generous soul). I’ve performed vocals with a few local musicians and poets in Santa Fe. I have a beautiful passion for Afro-Hatian dance and African Dun Dun drumming. I’ve been blessed with instruction from some of the best teachers in African dance and music. I continue to write songs, always have, always will.

I love music. I love creating it, singing it, witnessing it, dancing and making love to it. It’s in my blood. I still write music and lyrics, though I rarely play guitar. I still have my Yamaha steel string guitar, made in a Japanese factory, that I bought for myself for my tenth birthday in 1970. I had earned $30 doing odd jobs in my neighborhood and my mom matched it for a dealer price of $60 (the music store’s owners were friends of my parents). I had it cleaned up a few years ago and bought a new case. I’m now wanting a small-necked acoustic with pick-up (my hands are small). In the meantime, I’ve been blessed with a baritone ukelele with a pick-up. It’s very kind to my out-of-practice hands and is so much fun to play!

EL: Do you maintain a good friendship with each other? Has the recent interest in your music affected that?

KC: The new interest in our music over the last seven years has really brought us together with our communication. Although we lead very different lives it has been a true joy to get to know each other again and appreciate the different things that each of us has done.

TW: This new and totally unexpected interest in our album ‘Dandelions’ from 40 years ago has brought us closer together now than we’ve been in years. It’s been a riot. We can’t understand what all the fuss is about. Mike Appelstein of the Riverfront Times, in St. Louis, wrote a 2,300-word feature cover story on us April 15, 2011. We were very proud of that issue. I’m designing a website (we have a temporary website). We gather with our mothers for dinner now whenever I visit St. Louis. The album is a business now. We have seven offers to re-release the vinyl, and we will be releasing digital ourselves; pay-to-download, and a collector’s anniversary cd with memorabilia. We will also release a songbook. Someone is interested in doing a documentary film on our story. The eBay sales have not been ours. The internet and YouTube postings have not been ours. ‘Dandelions’ has taken a ride all on its own. It’s beautiful how the music and the message has rung true through the years. Now we’re stepping up to claim what was our creation. The phenomenon of ‘Dandelions’ 40 years after the fact has brought us much closer than we had been in many years. It’s a welcome reunion!

Curly Curve - 1981 - Forgotten Tapes

Curly Curve
1981 
Forgotten Tapes





01. Bunch of people 05:18
02. High flight tonight 04:22
03. Dusty morning 04:21
04. Deception 04:01
05. Lookin' back 05:01
06. My little zoo 04:51
07. Down by the bay 02:36
08. Morning light 04:51
09. Thoughts of a man 03:53
10. I wanna try you again 07:36


Martin Knaden - guitar
Hanno Bruhn - guitar, bass, vocals
Chris Axel Klober - keyboards
Kurt Herkenberg - bass
Hans Wallbaum - drums



This band was from Berlin and regularly appeared at the Zodiac club between 1968 and 1970. Probably their music was more psychedelic in those early days than revealed later on vinyl. The Brain album, recorded at the Dierks studio in July 1973 with Frank Oeser producing, had a nice fold-out cover but sadly wasn't particularly impressive musically. Standard rock songs with a slight heavy blues touch and the key changes and guitar solos you have all heard before. Very American sounding music with the tendency to get trapped in boogie-mode. I would compare it to the Gash album, a contemporary green Brain release.. The album of 'forgotten tapes' was compiled from rehearsal recordings on a TEAC four track tape machine in 1974. For this reason, the sound quality isn't very professional. There were plans for a second album, which never saw the light of day. The music, as revealed on a limited private release in 1981, was more heavier but didn't hint at anything outrageous. Brain apparently lost interest in Curly Curve. Strange to note that Herkenberg was a member of the 1967 Tangerine Dream line-up!


As with other Garden of Delights releases, this reissue of Curly Curve's Forgotten Tapes, a collection of previously unreleased tracks originally released in 1981 on the Okotopia label (the only release on that label), contains the history of the band, photos, and reproductions of the vinyl and previous CD versions. Care has been taken to duplicate, as close as possible, the original packaging of the albums, this one being no exception.

What then can be found inside this well-done package? Curly Curve were a German band that formed in 1968 and split up around 1975. Instead of the krautrock/progressive rock that many of their contemporaries were recording, they mainly played blues-rock. You'll hear more than traces of Allman Brothers Band, Doobie Brothers, a dash of Jimi Hendrix, a little bit of Boston (though they predate the latter as a influential entity by four years), Lynyrd Skynyrd, early Deep Purple, etc. The dual guitar solo in "Bunch Of People" is so reminiscent of "Melissa" (the classic Allman Bros. tune) and yet at the same time, one of the guitars sings like classic Tom Scholtz (mainly of their their self-titled debut). The string slingers are Martin Knaden and Hanno Bruhn, the latter of which also plays bass and sings on this release.

Each of these tracks, there are 10, are reminiscent of the classic tracks by the above mentioned bands - contemporaneous influence. "Dusty Morning" is pure Allman Brothers, but darn if I can't name the song. "Deception" begins like they'll either break into the "I'm A Man," "Long Train Runnin'" or something by James Brown - or maybe James Brown singing a Doobie's tune, as the voice of Bruhn has that funk of Brown to it, yet the guitars have that Doobie Bros' groove. "Lookin' Back" wouldn't have sounded out of place on an early ZZ Top album, somewhat like "La Grange," but it is most like Boston's "Smokin'".

Curly Curve weren't all guitar, though the guitars drove the music. It's all held together by the tight bass work by the late Kurt Herkenberg and the percussion of Hans Wallbaum. The keys take a more prominent role in "My Little Zoo," a track which also throws a little Rolling Stones into the mix here and there, plus a little bit of "My Woman From Tokyo"-esque Deep Purple. Creedence Clearwater Revival get the nod with "Down By The Bay," where the bass is more prominent in the mix. The original compilation ended with the slow, Joe Cocker-like blues ballad "Morning Light," though Bruhn's voice is a little less world weary and whisky soaked than Cocker's.

The first of the bonus tracks, "Thoughts Of A Man," is another slow-burn blues number, but much rockier than the first, and moving more towards psychedelic. Keys are more prominent, guitar provides the accent, the bass and drums regulated to time keeping duties. "I Wanna Try You Again," begins even more "psychedelic" in its styling, the guitar work reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix, but then shifts strongly to a sad blues number. "I Can't Quit You Baby" comes to mind, the soul element turned up a notch here, but it has more to do with arrangement than with pacing.

Okay, so it wasn't really prog, but if you dig that classic 70's US Southern Rock sound, here's some more stuff from an unexpected quarter. Despite its reliance upon a style popular at the time these tracks were recorded, there is nothing negative any one can really say about them. The production is a little muddy, but as the re-release was taken from the actual vinyl, the reproduction is terrific.


Curly Curve - 1973 - Curly Curve

Curly Curve
1973
Curly Curve




01. Hell And Booze
02. I'm Getting Better
03. All Things Clear
04. Bitter Sweet
05. Shitkicker
06. Dream For Today
07. Patricia Reprise
08. Queen Of Spades

Inspired by the instructions for a four-part Indian low ring, singer and harmonica player Heiner Pudelko, and bass player Kurt Herkenberg, both from Berlin, decided to name their new blues band Curly Curve. Herkenberg had just come back from Britain, where he had played in a soul band and had jammed with Graham Bond and Jimmy Page. In 1967, he had also been a member, albeit briefly, of Tangerine Dream. In the Summer of 1969, guitarist Alex Conti joined Curly Curve, but the band broke up a couple of months later since they lacked a real concept and clear goals.
The following Spring saw the birth of the second Curly Curve in the line-up of Herkenberg and Conti plus drummer Hans Wallbaum, who had worked as a professional musician in the Netherlands before he joined the band. Together with Pudelko and a trumpet player, the band worked out a repertoire consisting mainly or songs they wrote themselves. They also produced a thirty-minute TV show. However, public never really warmed up to Curly Curve so the band fell apart again.
The third Curly Curve tried their hands at jazz-rock and consisted of Herkenberg, Wallbaum, guitarist Sandy Pikker, Axel Klober on keyboards, and a changing assembly of singers. But internal quarrels over what direction their music was to take led to another break-up in late 1971. The fourth Curly Curve came together in Spring 1972 and finally the band had the success they had been striving for. Apart from Herkenberg and Wallbaum, the two heads of the band, the line-up consisted of Pudelko, Conti, Axel Klober and guitarist Paul Fuhrmann. When Heiner Pudelko and Alex Conti left the band in May (Conti went to join Atlantis, the band fronted by Hamburg-based singer Inga Rumpf), they were replaced by Martin Knaden (guitar) and Hanno Bruhn (vocals, guitar). Hanno Bruhn had been singing in various bands with the likes of Tony Sheridan and Don Adams and had won a singing contest initiated by the infamous "Star Club". This was to become the longest-lasting Curly Curve line-up.

Curly Curve signed on to the Brain label and, produced by Frank Oeser, recorded their self-titled debut album (Brain 1040) in July 1973. The record shows the band playing a powerful, technically perfect blues rock with definite American influences. Even the usually most critical of all critics, the reviewers of Sounds music magazine, took a liking to the straightforward boogie rock of the Berlin band. Journalist Hermann Haring, who later on became chief editor of the magazine called Musik Express, wrote in his review: "A return to rock without any political ambitions. Curly Curve kick down the accelerator and speed off in a straightforward manner. They play a splendid kind of blues rock that for the future only needs a healthy dose of blackness for the soul." What he meant was such vital rock songs as "Queen Of Spades", "Shitkicker" with its psychedelic elements, and the impressive opener "Hell And Booze". Also worth a listen is the bluesy ballad "I'm Getting Better", which highlights Hanno Bruhn's smoky voice very well. The extremely colourful cover artwork caused a lot of curiosity as well - thanks to a shining high polish packaging, it definitely was an eyecatcher.

Crem Soda - 1975 - Tricky Zingers

Creme Soda 
1975 
Tricky Zingers




01. Give It Up (Man) - 4:06
02. Tonight - 2:58
03. Numero Uno - 4:53
04. (I'm) Chewin' Gum - 2:41
05. Deep In A Dream - 4:28
06. The Nazz Are Blue - 3:07
07. Keep It Heavy - 2:46
08. Roses All Around - 2:11
09. And That Is That - 2:02
10. The Beat Song - 3:43
11. When It Sun Shines - 5:41
12. Daydreamin' - 2:23

Jim Wilson - Bass, Piano, Percussion, Vocals
Bill Tanon - Guitar, Bass, Harp, Mandolin, Bowed Guitar, Vocals
Ron Juntunen - Electric, Acoustic, Slide Guitar, Bass
Art Hicks - Drums, Bongos



Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Creme Soda generated a fanatical following based on their legendary single '(I'm) Chewin' Gum/Roses All Around' which appeared on the Trinity label in 1975. Creme Soda are not an easy band to categorize as they were able to play virtually any musical genre with consummate ease.

Their only full-length album, Tricky Zingers (which also includes their 'hit' singles), also made its appearance on Trinity (Trinity CST11) in 1975 and despite the considerable interest the record generated, the band, perhaps mindful of the adage 'quit while you're ahead,' did exactly that, never to be heard of again. Tricky Zingers is an impressive and relatively overlooked recording, which, despite being recorded in 1975, has a decidedly mid-'60s feel about it.

The eleven self-penned songs range from very good to brilliant, particularly 'Tonight,' 'Keep It Heavy' and 'Roses All Around.' The album's style ranges from folkrock to wasted psychedelia, with two experimental tracks featuring drone effects and backwards guitar thrown in for good measure, as well as a couple of rootsy rock'n' roll numbers."

As one critic was moved to write: this is a major album worthy of a high quality reissue. This is another band that lends credence to the theory that the very best psychedelia was made in the `70s


Creative Rock - 1974 - Lady Pig

Creative Rock 
1974 
Lady Pig




01. Lady Pig
02. Autumn And Winds
03. I Use To Use
04. Palm Beach Medium Finger
05. Evening Adventure
06. Black Woman
07. It’s Alright
08. Strullsinfonie

Michael Maas - Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Heiko Steinsiek - Drums, Percussion
Apostolos Papanikolaou - Guitar
Rudiger Stremmel - Saxophone , Flute, Vocals
Hubertus Kreutner - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Vocals
Rainer Erbel (Steve Haggerty) - Vocals


 Lady Pig is the title of the  second and final album, by Creative Rock, released in 1974. Hailing from Bielefeld in Germany, they  were formed in the late sixties as "The Bourbon Street Paraders and took their inspirations by Anglo/Americans jazzy  brass rock outfits.

They signed to Metronome - Brain Records and released their debut album, "Gorilla", in 1972. second and final album saw guitarist Apostolos Papanikolaou (Greek born musician) replace both Schmeide and Weber, and this album was actually heavier than the debut, but with a bit more experimentation. In 1975, Creative Rock were touring with an adventurous rock ballet production called "Die Creative Rock - Dekadenz Show.



Creative Rock - 1972 - Gorilla

Creative Rock
1972 
Gorilla




01. Natron
02. A Horseman's Morningsong
03. Tapeworm
04. Hear What I'm Talking
05. Blind People
06. This World Between 6 And 8 A.m.
07. Wunderbar
08. Preussens Gorilla



Rainer Erbel - Vocals
Hubertus Kreutner - Trumpet, Vocals
M.M. Maas - Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Gunter Schmeide - Bass, Guitar
Heiko Steinsiek - Drums, Percussion
Rudiger Stremmel - Saxophone, Vocals
Klaus Weber - Guitar, Percussion


 With a good deal more invention and a powerful lead singer, their debut Gorilla was barely recognisable as German rock, yet despite this it was still rather good, full of complex brass arrangements and a most energetic rhythm section. LADY PIG followed in a similar, but heavier vein, with a bit more experimentation.

The last we know of Creative Rock was that in 1975 they were touring with an adventurous rock ballet production called “Die Creative Rock-Dekadenz-Show”. After that they transformed into Flight. Rainer Erbel is still active (2006) with the project “Steve Haggerty”.


Crash Coffin - 1970 - Crash Coffin

Crash Coffin 
1970 
Crash Coffin




01. Masochist Blues 3:59
02. Lilly 4:32
03. Amazon Women 2:47
04. God Loves the Loser 4:30
05. Mama 2:32
06. Alone Together 4:44
07. Freedom Cake 3:03
08. The Swing 3:23
09. The Looney Polka 3:00
10. Blue Kazoo 4:47


The self-titled debut album by this Ohio based songwriter was released privately on the Mus-i-Col label in 1970 backed by a full band.

All copies that exist have unique sleeves made by Crash himself. The actual finished sleeves he claimed were destroyed by fire, but he likes a tale to tell!

Truth is, the cost of producing finished sleeves proved to be too expensive! Reviews claim the music to be rural acid psychedelia.

Well maybe… really, he's a living history of American popular music!

It's easy to hear how much he admires Elvis. Several of the songs, particularly the tender ballad 'Lilly,' show the King is an influence, but there's also Dylan too, with his humorous take on the issues of the time.

Women's Liberation, space travel, and religion all get the 'Crash' treatment, with the confident support of rock 'n'roll, blues, country and jug band styles.

Each of the ten tracks exhibit a fine grasp of song craft, are very musical, and certainly entertaining listening. The man himself remains an enigma."

Crash Coffin is a fellow from Ohio who put together a band and recorded ten of his songs on a local label back in 1970.

Crash had a good grasp on singing, storytelling and songwriting as well as a working knowledge of various musical genres.

This CD contains "Masochist Blues" and "the Looney Polka" as well as eight others that are not as readily pegged as belonging to a particular musical style.

One song, "Freedom Cake," could have given the Lovin' Spoonful some serious competition in the jug band pop field.

Crash had a strong and smooth voice with plenty of Elvis that crept in around the edges.

This is actually a pretty good record that I've gone back to more than once.

I especially like the closing track, a rambling folk pop ditty about Jesus stealing his "Blue Kazoo."

Mr. Coffin did individual artwork for the covers of the few copies of the LP that actually made it into the hands of the public because he couldn't afford to have the covers printed.

It's a shame because this could have been a popular record with a little support from a label.

Cosmic Circus Music - 1973 - Wiesbaden

Cosmic Circus Music 
1973
Wiesbaden




01. Sternenmaskerade (45:33)


- Ulrich Masshöfer / drumm
- Bernd Diesner / guitar
- Karl-Heinz Keffer / bass


Furiously tripped out jamming sequences with a solid rockin' instrumentation. Astral rockin voyage and occult early 70s trio whose music is at the level of the best improvised krautrock acts. With members of Xhol (Karl-Heinz Keffer) and Catharsis (Ulrich Masshöfer, Bernd Diesner).

 Luckily this Cosmic Circus Music cassette has been brought to daylight from the shadows of obscurity, revealing rustic but very sacral moment of contemplative musical devotion. The long gaze into the atavistic corridors has been conducted with serene piety, not straying to paths of insanity but focusing on yearning of unconscious divinity. This process reminds certainly the hallucinogenic masterpieces of Ash Ra Tempel, The Cosmic Jokers and Yatha Sihdra; I would associate the sound texture of the recording with the two first mentioned, but I felt the third group of comparison describing further the compact characteristics of the jam, along with the spiritual content I felt shining from this forty years old artifact. From contemporary retro groups I think My Brother The Wind have continued carrying forward this heritage of spiritual vintage psychedelic rock astral travelling.

The long opening sequence vibrates freely in rhythmless open space, string instruments searching beautiful harmonies with Tim Belbe's flute, and scarce atonal effect layers strengthen the presence of surreal aura. Bernd Diesner's guitar playing is very focused, deploying acid rock sound's effect portfolio with fine sense of style, and reaching via to moderation the latency of quiet moments' aether. Ulrich Masshöfer introduces his percussion presence after ten minutes of warming up of the melodic instruments, initiating the magic cauldron spout a powerful whirl mystic haze, elevating through the spirals circling around a constant basic key note towards infinity. Karl-Heinz Keffer's firm bass lines keeps this progression solid, and brings extra value to both rhythmic nuances and melodic charms for the epic sonic prayer. The twenty five minutes long groovy twist in krautrock dynamics return later to electrically charged void of slowly moving aural shapes, eventually rising for a final thrust of motioning sequences before disappearing past the horizon. I felt the semi-circular arrangement of this "sea of birth" holding simple but powerful universal characteristics of life and universe we humans observe trough senses, science and religious offsets; The forms of larger complexity arise from the void and chaos, mature to functional entities, and dissolve to the tranquility where they have appeared. Whatever should the position of consideration be, spiritual or logical, I find this configuration peaceful, serene and blessed.

I personally did not associate this psychedelic suite with the word "freak out" so much, but more with seriousness of searching deeper truths from spontaneous unconscious activity. The alluring developments in melodic rhythm-space really bend time, making the forty-five minutes pass in ecstatic rejoicing in spheres of imagination and reality-shadowing themes. Though the recording quality is not optimal, I personally have grown to like raw analogue bootleg sounds from my earlier King Crimson live conquest decade. Certainly from my own yet maturing and limited perspective I consider "Sternenmaskerade" as larger than life statement of spiritual musical expressionism.


Code III - 1974 - Planet Of Man

Code III
1974 
Planet Of Man




01. Formations / The genesis (17:48)
02. Dawn of an era (6:35)
03. Countdown / Phoenix rising (25:28)


- Manfred Schunke / instruments, electronic effects, sounds, vocals
- Ed Key / vocals, instruments
- Mary Key / vocals
- Apama Chakravarti / vocals, tamboura, harmonium
- Klaus Schulze / drums



An exceptional project from Manfred Schunke (vocals, electronic effects) and Klaus Schulze (drums) with Apama Chakravarti (on harmonium, tamboura, vocals), Ed Key (vocals, instruments). The concept is about Man creation and human, technological evolution throw ages. Musically the music alternates vibrant dronescapings, cosmic, electro-acoustic noises, esoteric doom like choirs and weird dreamy folk evocations. Their interlocking sound can be compared in some aspects to Organisation's embryonic electronic approach, Klaus Schulze first efforts in agitated drones and Popol Vuh / Deuter mystical sense of composition. Hermetic but monumental and now cult.

Interesting are the stories and the truthful examples of great music into tiny and obscure bits of creation, promotion, lived performance or succinct sound revolution and evolution. Code III made only one album, but it impresses up to the point that great fans of the cluster music (generally speaking) can't control out of the freak excitement in it, specialists appreciate it comfortably as a high standard and a wrapping special case; but the rest stays hidden, both in the private pleasure of listening such a music and in the adapting taste of it being rare, hidden, trashed etc. Code III have one album, and it is, more or less approvingly, better than some entire music recordings, made by more intuitive (or simply not that spontaneous) artists. Code III strikes as an independent gathering of musicianship and musicality, yet a small label, Delta Acoustic (keen on artificial music or stereo equipment progressivism), picked up their creation and produced the album into a more broadened and fully accomplished attention; not to last long, yet to signal the entire stress of an album that's special. Code III is the ensemble of five talented (or beyond) artists, but it all reflects, almost, the craft and class of Manfred Schunke, who must have had, through this creation, a bit of intention to master all the ultimate language of the German acid prolific act. Finally, Planet Of Man is referenced as a great, different, deviant and out-striking album - and I tend to agree with every recognition this hard work, transformed and bashed through all imagination, sound effect and drastic measures, receives, being brain-exploding, partially, or lavishly artistic, amazingly.

On a different account, this is one of the most important and almost unpredictable artistic points on which Klaus Schulze worked and collaborated, outside his own striking classic expression (but together with it, since entire moments out of Planet Of Man make you think of Schulze, the drone artist or the virulently stickler of the analogy music, the experimentalist or the conceptualist). Schulze's participation in Planet Of Man's suggestive art equals the best (but also most critical) slides of the Cosmic Jokers, the really interesting Wegmuller tapes or, though nothing but superficial, a strange reminiscence of Electronic Meditation, where chimeras and noises ruled every fiber. Strangely, it is exactly the album that's not recognized, officially, in Schulze's discography, though the un-official (or fan-based) ones agree on the weird album being something slightly despondent of Schulze, if not actually exaggerating on Schulze's role. A role, true, not only based on drumming, but head stereo mixing too.

Planet Of Man is finally a complex, obscure, shredded in sound and design album, full of creation and contradiction, excessive in all the acid forms. It can portray all the summed specific progressive affections, from the electronic stereo primitive but refreshing call to the already easy to imagine electro-drones crashes, from krautrock's "rock" accent (it happens that a lot of moments do intend a schizoid remark towards pure rock and sound beat, rather than the very good psychedelics, giving an aura of moving harmony and "cantability", even to the points of boiling abstraction and weirdness) to acid rock's "acid" accent (when it gets on heavy and demonic trends, it's quite seminal and chaotic, reality-ruptured or form-farcical), finally from the experiment's bare huge size to some very special and delicate ornaments of music, sound, narration or avant-nuance. It's an attractive album for the very closed-in touches and modes, for the deep and devilish fantasy or for the problem of communicating an entire art, through an explosion of forms and a radicalness of rough explosions and groaning curiosities.

Private in its difficult, arid or unleashing orientation, the Planet Of Man experience, for krautrock and electronic, noise and concept scrupulosity. It's definitely independent and clouted, since all the ingredients can't define the entire spectrum. It's definitely a recommended album, since the art joy of such a music orientation must, more than usually, rhyme with an impressive and unique context.

Kluster - 2009 - Kluster and Friends - 1969-1973

Kluster
2009
Kluster and Friends - 1969-1973




A [untitled]
B [untitled]
C [untitled]
D [untitled]
E [untitled]
F [untitled]
G [untitled]
H [untitled]
I [untitled]
J [untitled]
K [untitled]
L [untitled]


6xLP Boxset
Qbico Records (Italy 2009)
12 sides of vintage German echo-laden experimental atmosphere from the latter-day Kluster (Conrad Schnitzler, Wolfgang Seidel, Klaus Freudigmann and "friends"). Not as electronic as one might expect given the people involved, this fits in quite nicely with the Important Records releases from Schnitzler and company. Apart from a transparent insert of photos and a list of participants, the information given on these recordings is nil. Black labels void of track titles, dates, etc. leave the listener in alien territory without a map as to when or where it was recorded (studio? live?). The listener is left only with the music, which is exceptional.

Wow, a seriously amazing unearthed holy grail of early germany experimental proto-industrial/noise...

6 Lps of early Kluster shows pre and post Rodelius and Mobius. Conrad Schnitzler unearthed all these live recordings as a gift to Qbico Records for their supposed final release by the label. And what a gift it is!

All the Lp's in the box are in Black Sleeves with no information on the Black Labels. The titles the Lp's are the unique name on the hub of each Lp. (ASA, Beta, CVS, DAV, EX, & Fungi!)

The audio fidelity of these live recordings is really incredible. Especially when you consider what time period these shows where recorded!

Qbico Label Notes: Here is a big one for you Qbico is going out with a BIG!!! BIG!!! BANG!!! When i mailed the news about the closure of qbico in 2010, some friends and musicians wrote me back... one was Conrad Schnitzler wondering if i wanna close with THE BOMB ! i said "yes, why not !?". so Con sent me 6 CD-R of UNRELEASED Kluster music, rec. in 1969-73 (along with Klaus Freudigmann and Wolfgang Seidel) ! he said to choose yr favourite 40 (+/-) from the 1 hour lenght of each CD-R, so to adjust to vinyl format... well, that's was one of the most joyful experience of my life ! this 6LP box collect that music which it's simply some of the most outstanding and revolutionary music that i ever heard !!! One of the most legendary release on Qbico ?! YES (screaming)!

Conrad Schnitzlerl about Kluster:
"Kluster was never over. There is KLUSTER until today. If we friends met, we didn't think about, under which name we met. It is the style of the music which comes out. No other group made such music. This is Kluster-music,it is a style. It is an invention of Konrad Schnitzler 1969 Schnitzler / Freudigmann / Seidel & Friends, was before Achim Roedelius came to the band and after.

I founded the music group Kluster after my exit 1969 from the group GERÄUSCHE (Zodiak with A.Roedelius and Boris Schak). Between 1969 to 1972 I worked with different friends, with Tangerine Dreams among others. With them I tried to perform the music of my imagination. Finally Klaus Freudigmann and Wolfgang Seidel remained at the work continuously over the years. In addition there were several actions with A.Roedelius and D.Möbius where the LPs KLUSTER Klopfzeichen,Osterei and Eruption were made. Instruments, amplifier and effects I gave D. Moebius because he had had no own equipment. I didn't want the music to remind of the normal. My criterias were not folk music, not rock music, not pop songs and not dance music. The idea for "Cluster" later "Kluster"(I wanted to avoid Americanisms) is not only a name for a group but a form of music. I had amplifier, instruments, contact mikes and effects, that could used by the others, too. Klaus had tape machines and microphones. In addition he constructed instruments and electronical sound generators, which made the most undescribable sounds. Wolfgang had everything connected with drum and base and in addition amplifier and effects.


Klaus had rooms where we could work out our music performances. The tapes "Electric Meditation" with TD were made in one of those spaces. Most of the performances happened with friends who took part in the actions; therefore Conrad, Klaus,Wolfgang and friends. For special activities we used the name ERUPTION. The idea was to make sounds without melodies, sounds comparing to industrial noises. I had different friends with me to play. No money was to be earned with this music. No fame, to attain with it. By the way I'm not a musician; I'm an intermedial artist and composer. With the different Kluster groups we did some live concerts. 'Eruption' (Ausbruch) is the title of the LP. Of that I had produced an edition of 100 LPs. Later the Gallery Block had made another edition of 100 LPS of it for the 'Block Box' with a label without Moebius' and Roedelius' names though. Later in 1996 Joe (Marginal Talent) produced a CD of it. I The group `Kluster- was a conglomerate of total different players and artists over several years. But all those years Klaus Freudigmann was involved sometimes as player, or as sound engineer or even as inventor of instruments. It was him, who taped the last Kluster Concert. Therefore he was named equally to the others on the label. After and previously off the splitting from R+M. I still did a lot of activities with the group Kluster there was Kluster befor and after Achim Roedelius+Dieter Moebius It was not popular music Kluster did. Not many people were interested. Therefore, No photos of Kluster, or posters, or tickets, or newspaper cuttings, or anything related left. It is about 35 years ago."

Wolfgang Seidel about Kluster: "Summer of Love? Kluster was formed in West-Berlin - much closer to Siberia than to San Francisco, Haight Ashbury and Golden Gate Park. What came to Berlin with a two years delay were only the outer fringes of the "Summer of Love". Its blossom would have died soon in the Cold War breeze. And 1970 a lot of the optimism of the mid 60ies had already ceased. It became obvious that creating a better world needs more than flowers in your hair. But the political movements of the late sixties were a child of the same optimism that fuelled the rapid developments changing not only the material side of life but also arts, music and the way people interacted. The new left and the hippie movement where all these ideas concentrated wasn't the result of poverty but build on the belief that with modern technology there is enough for everybody. It's only a question of a fair distribution.

That optimism had a soundtrack that was based on the same technology. From the electric guitar, reverb and echo units to the first synthesizers, everything was welcome that sounded as if it came from the future. Future meant space travel - so it's quite natural that the first effects wildly used where those who send you to a space you've never been before: artificial reverb and echo. A lot of people had their first encounter with this new music at the movies - watching scifi-film like Forbidden Planet with the electronic tonalities of Louis and Bebe Barron (1956 - and their work wasn't called music to avoid paying royalties and having to quarrel with the conservative musicians trade unions). For a few years rock music was the most popular of new sounds and for a lot of people the door opener. It was one of the rare moments when you could be at the same time avant-garde and mainstream. But this did not last long. Pop music quickly became old music with new instruments when it turned into highly standardized entertainment. And the use of the electric guitar developed rules like any other traditional instrument.

Amongst that people that met to form Kluster were Klaus Freudigmann and Wolfgang Seidel, who both grew disenchanted with pop music and Conrad Schnitzler who came from a complete different direction as sculptor. While the others discovered the new territories of sound via psychedelic music Schnitzler was a fan of Stockhausen, Cage etc. but was distracted by the highbrowed elite attitude with which this music surrounded itself in Germany. What met was the self empowerment of early rock music with the search for new sounds and structures of 20th century avant-garde music.

That Kluster made simple music on DIY instruments, droning and banging on one note for half an hour, did not mean we were into any kind of primitivism. We hated the bongo playing hippie and his backward dreams of tribal 'healthy' societies (forgetting that hunger, war and oppression were not invented this year). To us the longing for sweet melodies was a regressive refuge from a world that isn't sweet. We did not want to go back. If the future was inevitable, we wanted to shape it - at least sonically. That we preferred slow tempos sometimes gets mistaken as 'dark'. We just gave every sound enough time to be listened to. And we wanted to draw a line between us and the 'look I am the fastest' guitar heroes that began to rule the stages. What we did was getting rid of the schemes of pop and popular classic and find out, what else we can do with our tools, polishing and lubricating them for a future music.

But no matter how far your mind is in the future - your stomach is still on earth and demands feeding. When things got tougher in the 70ies, the people that met under the labels Kluster and Eruption had to look for ways to earn their living. Conrad Schnitzler started his long solo voyage, Klaus Freudigmann took part in the squatter’s movement, and others took ordinary jobs and surfaced now and then with some new piece of music. What's left are some tapes and a few minutes of film documenting an installation Conrad Schnitzler sat up at Galerie Block (1970) reflecting the ideas behind Kluster. Violins that had bought cheap from the flea market were equipped with contact microphones and plugged into radios that had been mounted to the wall as amplifiers. The visitors (hopefully no musicians) experimented collective with the sounds from the violins hearing themselves in the radio."

VINYL FORMAT. Limited supply of this box, which has been made in an edition of only a couple hundred. Unreleased music from Schnitzler, Freudigmann, Seidel abd Friends. Six LP (black vinyls/black labels/black inner sleeves) box, spray painted (stencil/lettering by Troglosound) in gold or silver or bronze (three versions) and with clear plastic insert (rare photos). Unreleased music!

"Kluster was never over. There is Kluster until today. If we friends met, we didn't think about, under which name we met. It is the style of the music which comes out. No other group made such music. This is Kluster-music, it is a style.." - Conrad Schnitzler





Kluster - 2008 - Vulcano

Kluster 
2008
Vulcano





01 (2:57)
02 (2:58)
03 (3:15)
04 (2:03)
05 (1:46)
06 (1:54)
07 (1:08)
08 (1:39)
09 (2:33)
10 (3:50)
11 (3:02)
12 (3:28)
13 (1:33)
14 (5:55)
15 (1:56)
16 (3:42)
17 (4:10)
18 (4:21)
19 (2:40)
20 (1:47)
21 (2:42)
22 (1:49)
23 (1:55)

- Conrad Schnitzler
- Klaus Freudigmann
- Wolfgang Seidel





Kluster - 2008 - Admira

Kluster 
2008 
Admira




01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12


Conrad Schnitzler
Klaus Freudigmann
Wolfgang Seidel

recorded 1971

Apparently a live album of the Kluster group from the same year that the K became a C, when Moebius and Roedelius decided to keep the group's name (albeit slightly changed), once Schnitzler left the band in May 71. Sooooo what to do with this posthumous release, claiming to be live from that very same year, but having Schnitzler, but not Moebius and Roedelius, unless the last two are included in the "And Friends"? According to Asbjornssen, Kluster's last concert was in May 71 in Gottingen,, but I don't explain the line-up that doesn't mention Dieter and Hans. All I can say it that sonically speaking, this is certainly a real "K"luster album, going as far, if not even further than even Faust dared to. 12 tracks (ranging from 1 to 8 minutes) without names, with only one or two that have a structure or some kind of repeating pattern that can be either seen as rhythm or thread, Admira is certainly a weird disc, but by no means stranger than the Kluster preceding it or the Cluster following it. Often nightmarish, sometimes hypnotic, never melodic, always surprising, these tracks lead you from total insanity to complete madness without you even realizing it in just over one hour, but somehow the album manages to stand on its own and completes its quest for its grail without even battling it out, since its implacable logic leaves no room for discussion. Definitely a mus

Kluster - 1996 - Eruption

Kluster 
1996 
Eruption





01. Part One (31:04)
02. Part Two (25:30)

Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Conrad Schnitzler

Note: The name of this album is Eruption; it was incorrectly titled Kluster und Eruption on its initial 1971 private issue and later corrected for CD release (as confirmed by Schnitzler in a 1980 interview with David Elliott of Eurock Magazine

Being already, by two grand and more than hypothetically connected albums, a band of pure revelation and clear industrial marooning, Kluster, by the craft and chaos trio of Conrad Schnitzler , Dieter Moebius and Hans Roedelius, does another mind-dazzling, style-culminating and imperiously deprived composition, in the same year of the 1971 and in the same motive of creation and destruction. In fact, it is a fundamentally thicker and more unimaginable experiment, in contrast with the other two classics, and it is almost a parable to the fact that, after enough innovation and "absurdification" in the realms and inconvenienced tastes of krautrock, acid rock, electronic waste, sound-feast, noise and independent wave special signs and treats, an even more dark, conceptual, sardonic, cold-blooded and mechanical exploitation is close to unreal and paradigmatic. Add the avant-garde, for sure, because nothing is of simple logic, blatant technicality or fantasy of an enjoyable convention. Instead, this excelled program is nightmarish, haunting, neurotically and industrial, fractal and micro-tonal, insensitive and without color, harsh and without gravity, colossal and without sensibility. It's a freakin' masterpiece.

Titled as Kluster & Eruption, this album also wants to be a sort of Kluster and Eruption collaboration, though the Trio plays the music and the entire sense, and only the mix, the arrangement and the producing effort gets a tenacious help from Klaus Freudigmann. In a listened way, there's no possible chance you can differentiate the music's brand from the band's geniality - so that it is a clear-clean Kluster. Only musically it is so different, strong and deep-imploded that it seems the bigger and more audacious artistic work of the band with a special influence - the Eruption on. Anyway you take it, this creation is droopingly unbelievable in force, gluttony and sensation.

From scratching the living aesthetic out of you to studying the microcosms of a sound's second, this work has nothing to do with normal metrics and patient forms. First of all, hardly there is allowed a melody, a calibrated rhythm, ambiance or self-simple vibrations - which can make the beautiful music lovers have a grunge against this entire avant-garde; also it can point how interesting it is that this postmodern, narcissistic, derisory and malformed album is recommended among the most essential works. At least without doubt it is worthy its independent subtlety. The German krautrock lies under transfigurations and transformations, and the acid of it is touchingly depressive and aggressive. The electronic fiber is impossible to pronounce as absurd or rather accomplished, but it sure lies on edges, mechanics and supporting breaks - though a lot of "traditional" electronics and components do the massive thing. By experimentalism this is big, studying brutal minimalism, clenching great lengths of tone and sound rictus, reaching nerve collapses and valorous techniques of undetermined raw sort. Noise, the last ingredient, is ultimate, exploiting almost every heavy, dystrophic, tech-macabre resource imaginable.

This is a violent art and a heartless creation, but it also resembles a suffering of improvisation towards perfection. I personally regard this a masterpiece and Kluster's best because the detail of their initial protological and scientific experiment has reached a crass and overwhelming idea: electronic/krautrock mechanical and psychotic satisfaction on the extremest verge of a restless noise and minimal improvisation. An essential, visceral and hardly accessible rage craft album in the genre or the big movement.

Kluster - 1971 - Zwei Osterei

Kluster 
1971 
Zwei Osterei




01. Part one (22:36)
02. Part two (22:16)

Bonus Track Cluster & Farnbauer
03. Live at the Wiener Festwochen Alternativ 1980 (15:10)

- Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Conrad Schnitzler
- Manfred Paethe / voice (Part one)

Out of the two authentic Kluster albums (because Eruption, though not obligatory so, is more complex under the circumstance of a collaboration and a total avant-garde strange unleash), Zwei-Osterei is a more splendid, characteristic and memorable creation. Yet the 'two-easter eggs" of Kluster are both albums, motivated under the same precision, year of music and combination of explosion and surprises. And both complement the pivotal trio of Schnitzler, Moebius and Roedelius (the first a grand soloist of electronic, kraut and German rock himself, the other two artists with a more hard excellency down the future Cluster albums or general electronic manipulations).

What makes Zwei-Osterei ticks and twist is in fact the ultimate and prolific minimal sound manual or the greatly evolved set of special effects, most progressively distinguished between the bad dreams and the hectic noises of krautrock, the independent and reactive sound forms, the electronic birth and mirth of significantly achieved expressions, the noise clutch and the acid ubiquitous involvement, and, more personally, the act of art and avant-garde. The better parts contain more angry and saturated moment, more depth and carnal experimentation, more strange focuses, more sensitive over-blows of something that, for sure, seems both exaggerate, has the incoherence of a grand sound festive and also, gently, aspires to be unique, tough, klutzed. Still having in mind that Klopfzeichen was slightly weaker, the ambient and melody-stretch over there is hardly tested in here as well. For aficionados, this Kluster material is both the extended art that sends doubtful qualities and similar traces into any other contemporary genius of the kraut, cosmic, electronic or electro-dementia field, but also relaxes of referentiality itself, having in mind a rahing individual manipulation.

Part One privileges again a powerful narration - religious, metaphysically and philosophically based - this time with a more gripping, side-dark and hollow reverberation, unlike the most mystic and confounding similar message that Christia Runge practiced in Klopfzeichen. The amazing thing is the sobriety, yet the foolish affection for hard words, in memorable echoes and brand-acid colors; the lines evoke riot, life, demise, war, methodical insatiety and indistinction. The instrumental involvement is a bit forgotten, likewise, but the interest in a narrative experimental piece is remarkably conducted.

Part two of the medical progressive album is fascinating and difficult, experimenting in all the mentioned marks and values (noise, kraut, electronic technicality, sound-licks) a piece of heavy rhtyhms and groaning breaths, tough artificial chemistry and over-worked electronic production (out of mentioned instruments and related experiments, that, themselves, are between facile and up-stirring). The indescribable essence only means that the acid piece is something for a listener's great and deeming adventure. Numerous generally influences, such as those of palpitating atonal beats, sequencing atypical reactions, high decibels of drone melt emphisis, numbness and cosmic avidity, technical and surrounding suspense or dark fluency, cracking or bursting emotions of loneliness, sense-demise or psychedelic atrophy. Outside this symbolical, powerfully induced or predisposed experimented values, Zwei-Osterei becomes a music of total avant-garde and senile fantastic artistry.

The album, upon being a re-release, includes a second piece from a Cluster & Fernbach concert, one not fundamentally fantastic, but not purely electronic either.


Kluster - 1970 - Klopfzeichen

Kluster 
1970 
Klopfzeichen




01. Part one (23.31)
02. Part two (21.34)
Bonus Track:
03. Live at the Werner Festwochen Alternativ 1980 (15.56)

Conrad Schnitzler
Dieter Moebius
Hans Joachim Roedelius
voice (track 1) / Christia Runge

The formation of Kluster can be referred to the activities of Conrad Schnitzler, one of Joseph Beuy's students at the Düsseldorf's Fine Arts Academy. Schnitzler was a key figure in the underground art scene in Berlin in the late 60's. He participated in the formation of the Zodiak Free Arts in 1968, with amongst others Hans Joachim Roedelius. Schnitzler soon met Dieter Moebius, an other student of Beuy's and asked him to become the third member of the ensemble Kluster in 1969. The trio's music directly reflected the free form aesthetic of the Art Lab in lengthy improvisational performances. The two first Kluster albums "Klopfzeichen" and "Osterei" came about when Schnitzler noticed a newspaper item regarding a church organist interested in their music. The album was produced and released by arrangement with the church, hence the religious content of the text. The third and final Kluster album, "Kluster und Eruption" was released in collaboration with members of Eruption and released in a private pressing by the Block Gallery.

Without hesitation, one of the most important, hard and astounding electronic class band is Kluster, made entirely out of an express desire to challenge the art and the movement of its kind (a kind to be discovered, entirely by one's own listening and recommendation). Revealed a lot as magisterial under the progressive electronic school of thoughts, dynamics and experiments (German-style, naturally, despite some influences that seem totally private, and others that numb out no particular music at all), the band's musical concept is yet far from such an easy definition (or even a ragged-drone one), mixing the hysteria or the silent respect of the krautrock/acid movement, deepening the experiment towards intricacy, desperation, no-logic, mechanical motion and abstractionism, or creating noise or independent electronic movements.

Conrad Schnitzler's vast past-60s experience is a good point of reflection leading to these early 70s years, when, not just in Kluster, but also in Tangerine Dream or in solo measures, his visions strode deep into challenging music, touch and artificiality in incomparably hard, technical, edasic and veracious ways. Moebius and Roedelius are a compact important duo joining Kluster, in a way that will continue into the good to great Cluster later albums, but not that much as to say that the Kluster moment of music, electronic, kraut-noise and experimentalism-dependency, was something far from retched, quasi-original, tonic, influential or drastic.

The Kluster sessions strike, dramatically, only three albums and only one year of work. But mixing a lot of progressive electronic, Berlin School music dynamics and elementary art-strain evolutions into your perspective leads always to the impression that the trio of Kluster have made some radical and brand astonishing moves, while other artists slept on a bit more easy or atmospheric, transitory or sound-reflexive tastes (not that many, for sure, since the classic years remain devoted to electronic excellencies, yet almost sensible, in the link between progressive and experimental, cosmic or mechanic, etc.).

Specifically in the Kluster dynamic of appreciation, Klopfzeichen is keen on being the most pointed out. It has a lot of the "elementary" power and details that the trio uses, in order for their gumble-art, organic-note or experimental-cause music to get the special shine. It's more introverted and ambient-shaded, in order for the orientation of electronic with noise and kraut to seem very clear and very impressive. But, down the artistic measure, the other two albums made by Kluster are entirely better, more rough, more skeptical regarding the electronic or sonic impulse.

Interesting, captivating or so-to-say full of exultation in Klopfzeichen are fragments of music, expression and expiration. The first part has a large side of low-mono sound and deep-physical voice narration, this last thing leading to imagining something from Floh de Cologne or Cosmic Jokers, but resembling actually neither. The topic is vast, acid or superficial, respectively, whether we're still talking about the word play, or of the actual effects of music, ambiance and primary sounds. The second part is more cold and ravishing, mixing an ambient "krust" of music, but also focusing the positive, artistic and magical moments of the noise-shrud, the experimental-surround or the typical abstract feel.

Klopfzeichen, with minimal, experimental, ambiental or collage elements of the electronic, kraut-docile, noise-sound or "kluster" blend of genres and illusions, is a sophisticated new brand and progressive effect; yet the most peaceful, intuitive, large-echoed experience too.