Monday, 5 September 2016

Konrad Boehmer - Aspekt/Cry of This Earth/Apocalipsis cum Figuris (1990 compi of works 1968-84)

Been a while since I've posted a nice juicy chunk of electroacoustic craziness, so say hello to German-born, Netherlands-based Konrad Boehmer (1941-2014).  Boehmer moved in all the right circles, studying with Boulez and Stockhausen, and assisting Bruno Maderna and Luigi Nono.  So here's a neat summary of his work in the genre.

Aspekt (1968) is a dizzying stream of pure electronics and sped up tapes, and Cry Of This Earth (1978) sounds like percussive Stockhausen (eg Zyklus) colliding with electroacoustic Nono, as vocal fragments declaim snatches of revolutionary poetry over the clanging, crashing backdrop.  Both a perfectly servicable 15 minutes apiece.  This disc saves the most complex work for the end though - 38 minutes of a wonderfully unhinged but tightly planned apocalypse.

Inspired by a fictional work mentioned in a novel by Thomas Mann, Apocalipsis Cum Figuris (1984) stacks together four layers of sound.  'Bodily sounds' (don't worry, not quite Scott Walker Corps De Blah territory) sit on top of a layer of vocal fragments, quoting a variety of sources (De Sade, Marx, the Biblical apocalypse, and many more).  RIO (Rock In Opposition) aficionados will be interested by Dagmar Krause's distinctive contributions here.  The instrumental sounds are the third layer, and the fourth, representing the devil himself, are, of course, a trio of highly stylized pop singers.  Well played, Konrad.

Aspekt/Cry of This Earth/Apocalipsis cum Figuris 


  1. Holy shit, what madness! I'd heard "Aspekt" on the first volume of Sub Rosa's Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music comps, but the rest of this is new to me. Can you imagine the work that went into something like the 3rd track in 1984? I'm guessing it wasn't easy to drag-and-click samples at that point. Delirious and mesmerizing.

    1. yep, tape machines - lots, and lots, and lots, of tape machines, splicing blocks, loops everywhere - a lost art! (well, hopefully not, I'm sure there's still some artists working with tape.)

      at best, Boehmer in 1984 might have had access to an Emulator or Fairlight (still lumbering beasts compared to today) but I believe he's all analogue on this work.

  2. there was NO clicking and dragging at this point...just razoring