Conrad Schnitzler: Endtime – A final farewell
On the fourth of August 2011 the world lost a little piece of greatness.
Conrad Schnitzler died and those of us with a passion for electronic music – among whom I happily count myself – lost one of the great masters of cybernetic sound. Of course the wonderful man died while working on another project, and we are all incredibly fortunate, in our sadness, to have one last mighty work from this great composer.
Here is a taste of the legend in times past:
The good folk at m-minimalism (featuring strongly on my blog this week, but that’s what happens when you produce two class acts back to back) are releasing the last work of Conrad Schnitzler April 9. Here are the notes off their site:
It’s a great honour for us to be able to present Conrad Schnitzler’s last work. Endtime will be released as DLP, CD and download. Only a few days before he passed away last August, he created this unique, almost 70 minutes long work. 36 parts mixed into each other create a walk through his entire work. This record is not only for fans of Conrad Schnitzler. It’s like a trip through 40 years of electronic music. Conrad Schnitzler once more shows how strong his influence has marked young artists like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never. Wihtout his solo works and his projects Kluster, Tangerine Dream and Eruption electronic music wouldn’t be the same. The tracks on the vinyl edition are in the order sides A,C,B,D. This allows you to make your own mix of this big work.
Taking music advice to heart is a bit of a passion of mine, and so I did as suggested and moved my tracks around within the boundary of the 36 available on this download. The music, as you can tell by 36 parts in 70 minutes is all small vignettes of electronic sound collage rolling and folding back upon itself. Although the treasure here is the vinyl, my little MP3 experience allowed me to chop and change the order, play with the numerically titled tracks. 3 + 6 = 9 and 3×4 = 12. In this way I felt dissociated from my desire to colonise the music, which was an issue for me when I started to listen to this final collection of Conrad Schnitzler sounds.
When I first began to play Endtime I was swept away immediately. Now, granted… being swept away by music is something that happens to me regularly (what can I say, I’m surrounded by great music) but this experience for me was so strong that I sought another opinion. There is an intense melodic feel to the pieces in Endtime, some stronger than others, but definitely in the tracks under ten. These tracks are so classically beautiful that I feared my response was due to the comfort of the familiar. Once assured by another that I was not attempting to colonize the music, I was willing to let it wash over me and just sit with all the feelings as they jumbled in along the tide. But that is the potency of being willing to relinquish nostalgia in all arts, but particularly with music because it so rarely happens. Once the listener is weened from the presumptions of intimacy and possession, s(h)e is left with the flux and flotsam of an energized creative experience that allows us to let go of the time continuum. I don’t seek the familiar in Conrad Schnitzler, I alow him to take control in the same way I allow Kandinsky, Kafka or Joyce to take control and wait in the music for the inevitable moments of realisation.
I trust Conrad Schnitzler, and I think there is no higher praise with which to weigh an artist down.
Endtime is a journey through all the phases of Conrad Schnitzler’s career. This is a career that opened up the possibilities for so many other musicians who would take this work, and torque it in slightly different directions. It combines the most sublime of melody with the cybernetic stack of complex music more difficult to track. Along every sound on this journey, however and in every sound between the sounds is a highly indirect progression, the underlying dynamics of musical notes and tones laid themselves bare in a way that is carried with philosophical authenticity. This artist so well understood the complex wiring of his instrument. Just as I trust him with my precious hearing, I expect great things from his immersion into self, and I am not disappointed. I am not disappointed over and over and over in this album.
Everything I review on this blog comes highly recommended from me, but in this case, everyone really should own a copy of this. It’s really special.