Many consider Conrad Schnitzler to be the Grandfather of European Electronic Music. In the late Sixties/early Seventies, it was Schnitzler who convinced Tangerine Dream and Kluster (who would later become "Cluster") to "go electronic", embracing the then-unexplored realm of synthesized sound. Having set those individuals on a new sonic course, Schnitzler went off to pursue a solo career that has lasted over three decades.
During the Eighties, Schnitzler (who has a personal aversion to travel) devised a means for his music to tour without the presence of the musician. Breaking his compositions into individual tracks, he recorded these pieces on separate media (at the time, choosing cassette tapes). When these separate tapes were played in tandem, his music reformed in a manner that would be different each time, depending on start times and the manipulation of the individual components. Through this deconstructive procedure, Schnitzler introduced a freshness to pre-programmed electronic performances.
After innumerable releases (many of which are considered classics of the electronic genre), Schnitzler abandoned conventional and independent record labels during the Nineties, and began to produce limited edition CDRs of his music. These releases are not available in stores, and can only be obtained from the man himself.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00024 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Recorded in mid 1991, this CDR offers 65 minutes of "Piano Solos".
Do not expect pleasant sonatas or stuffy recitals from this release. The tracks are somewhat melodic, but generally display a tendency for structured chaos that evolves its own sense of cohesion. Schnitzler's nimble fingers dance across the ivory, transforming harmonic rolls and intricate chords into dense, often dazzling compositions that defy classification. These pieces achieve astounding coherence by mixing avant garde intentions with modern classical sensibilities.
Thick with drama and unconventional structure, this music can be more jarring than soothing.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00117 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Produced in late 1997, this 59 minute release is a mix of solos sourced from CDRs 112 through 115 with exciting results.
From its cacophonic beginning, this music captures the attention with a blur of frenzied electronics, tortured noise, and playful E-perc. Melodic qualities abound, often manifesting in contrasting methodology that elevates this concrete experiment to dizzying proportions.
A versatile array of sounds are utilized here, ranging from pulsating bass tones to shrill bleeps and whirling squeals. There are even passages of quasi-harpsichord lurking in this dense mix. The true appeal lies not in the individual components but in the manner in which these separate compositions interact with each other, producing a maelstrom of insect hordes assaulting the listener.
Passion runs high as these unique solos converge to form a seething morass of aggressive electronics.
Although there are 27 tracks on this release, the music is presented as a seamless unit.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00/153 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Recorded in early 2000, this 62 minute CDR offers a thrilling blend of electronic styles (electronic, melodic, rhythmic, and percussive).
Blending raw electronics and synthetic rhythms, this music is highly engaging. But classifying this release under a single description is awfully difficult. While thrilling and definitely appealing, the tuneage is all over the place, mixing melodic passion with atonal structure, coercing percussive chaos to cooperate with rhythmic patterns, injecting piano threads with quirky electronics. Sometimes the pace is languid, almost hesitant; and in other tracks, the music soars with expressive power, evoking a maelstrom of compelling sounds harnessed with dynamic intent.
Insectoid noises abound, chittering with fervent devotion and filling the ears with reverberating bliss. Ricocheting pulsations bounce from numerous corners, baffling the audience with their multi-directional definitions. Electronic percussions shudder and shimmer, sometimes providing guiding tempos, other times lending snickering punctuations to the harmonic flow. Gurgling electronics churn the air, bubbling like a celestial waterfall, crackling like a sonic fire blazing with clever guidance.
Vocal elements are present in a few pieces, lurking deep in the mix and so thoroughly processed as to become mutated into alien language that sends chills along the listener's spine.
No matter what the style, however, Schnitzler achieves satisfying tuneage that is unpredictably rewarding.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00159 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Recorded in mid 2000, this 62 minute CDR contains "Solo Electrics".
The first track on this CDR features a sonic attack comprised of synthesized horns mixed with idiosyncratic electronics, setting the eccentric tone for this release. Subsequent tracks explore a variety of instruments and moods, each successfully determined to push the envelope of modern electronic music.
These 21 brief tracks stand unconnected, creating a selection of strange compositions, which alternate between outright bizarre and hauntingly eerie. The bizarre pieces employ electronics in rapid delivery, often generating intense rhythms from synthesized non-percussive sounds. While the eerie pieces might be considered ambient soundscapes if they did not exude Schnitzler's quirky predilection to startle the audience with the unexpected. Some of the compositions establish loops that run with relentless frenzy, but most of the tracks pursue overt configurations without the use of cyclic repetition. There is a preponderance of metallic impacts (klangs and booming bulkheads) which resound with deceptive tempos. Schnitzler has a habit of hiding structure in chaos, and only when the track has finished does the listener realize the subliminal pattern.
This releases exhibits a decidedly Stockhausen quality.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00/172 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Recorded in early 2001, this CDR features 59 minutes of "Dramatic Electronic Music".
"Drama" runs high in this music. The electronics flow with bizarre organization, aligning characteristically contrary riffs and cycles to achieve eccentric coherency. The result is cinematic and tension-building. Grinding whirrings mesh with twitching diodes to generate passages of taut anticipation. Electronics are handled like percussives, with crisp snaps repeating at whirlwind velocity until a fluid tempo is reached--then that idiosyncratic rhythm is applied in staccato sequences that inject unsettling pauses in the midst of the rolling frenzy. Meanwhile, the blooping background surges, commanding brief dominance before being forced back into subservience by the rising beats.
While Schnitzler's choice of sonic preference are sounds that echo with otherworldly disposition, this music features appearances by bassoons and other orchestral instruments, generated electronically and therefore displaying only vague semblance to their classical origins. This mutation of traditional sounds lends more than his normal degree of intriguing futurism to the tuneage. The outcome produces a sonic environment that immersed ancestral instruments in an ocean of digital constituency, where it becomes impossible to separate natural sound from artificial duplication.
CONRAD SCHNITZLER: 00/205 (privately produced CDR) Contact Schnitzler.
Recorded in late 2002, this CDR offers 59 minutes of "Electric Pieces".
Quivering electronics ring out amid twitchy percussions that invariably resonate with a metallic timbre. Strange cycles emerge to spin with crystalline determination, generating passages that invigorate more than sedate the audience. Electronic drones tumble from the sky, undulating like luminous sheets of plastic in the night. Tappings function as quirky rhythms, flavoring the flow with their robotic bongo fury. Pulsations of majestic quality swim in the distance, attributing an unearthly foundation to the frolicsome tuneage.
This versatile array of sounds conspires to create delicate compositions that utilize atonal configurations to produce melodic results. And those results are highly entertaining.
A majority of these tracks exhibit remarkably intriguing tempos that are as stimulating as they are soothing. While these attractive rhythms patter away, varying in clever methods, electronic melodies unfurl with gurgling demeanor behind these beat layers, spawning lavish environments of pulsating sound past that rhythmic mask. The intricacy of some of those synthetic rhythms is quite stunning, a bevy of head-spinning tempos capable of spurring even a multi-amputee into dance mode.
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