Samstag, 15. November 2014

Atelier Heinrichs und Bachmann

The covers for Heyne's Horror anthologies from 1974 (German translations of texts compiled by Kurt Singer) are so good, I couldn't resist buying the four volumes I recently found. The design is credited to Atelier Heinrichs, Munich. I didn't find much information online, but more covers for another Heyne series of the late 60s and early 70s, Science Fiction, credited to Atelier Heinrichs und Bachmann or Atelier Heinrichs (found on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database).

Mittwoch, 29. Oktober 2014

Toys by Kurt Naef and Wilhelm Kienzle for Naef

Four variations of building blocks by Kurt Naef. The first is the famous Naef Spiel (1958) still in production today. The two bottom images show the Trigon toy by Wilhelm Kienzle who is known here in Switzerland for his product and furniture design, especially his metal boxes for tools and shoe cleaning sets that used to be part of the inventory of many Swiss households (still are in my house).
Images from a relatively early article about Naef in Werk 1/1964. 

Previously, partly from the same issue of Werk: Asta Berling's toys and kindergarten furniture

Freitag, 17. Oktober 2014

Mix: Soothing Sounds for J.

My first child J. was born this spring. To celebrate his 5 months birthday, here's a little mix to soothe the young and old folks.

With some Brazil bliss, Kraut Kitsch, Back-to-the-land romance, a Library Lullaby, greetings from the New Age, falsettos from the beach (J. loves when I sing along) and a healthy dose of sweet Morr Music from around the Millenium.

Listen on Mixcloud or download here.

F.S. Blumm - Schneeglocke
Raymond Scott - Music Box
B. Fleischmann - Drops
The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl
Michael Rother - KM3
João Gilberto - Undiú
Vashti Bunyan - Window Over the Bay
Jim Lawless - Vibes Lullaby
Laurie Spiegel - Appalachian Grove
Laraji - Essence (excerpt)
Isan - Clipper

Mort Garson - Rhapsody in Green

Freitag, 10. Oktober 2014

Asta Berling toys and kindergarten furniture

Toys and kindergarten furniture designed by Asta Berling, German architect (a former student and employee of Hans Poelzig) who emigrated to Switzerland in the 1930s. Toys produced by Profuond, Samedan and Brusio, Switzerland. Images from Werk 1/1964 (toys), 2/1963 (dollhouse), 8/1966 (kindergarten furniture)

Donnerstag, 2. Oktober 2014


It's a bit quiet here. Let's light a candle and listen to some Folk pop from Yugoslavia.

Mittwoch, 20. August 2014

BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Dr Who Sound Effects (from Doctor Who Weekly, 1980)

 The information value of this article is rather limited. But this Doctor Who magazine somehow found its way to a charity shop in Switzerland and into my hands and probably some of you like both the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and Doctor Who (about the latter I know very little I must confess) so I thought I share it with you.

Sonntag, 3. August 2014

Bruno Spoerri studio visit

Bruno Spoerri (*1935) began experimenting with electronic devices 50 years ago (he mentions seeing Rolf Liebermann's piece "Les Echanges" at Expo 64 as an important moment of inspiration). First with simple, homemade effect machines, an Ondes Martenot and manipulated magnetic tapes, and later as one of the first musicians in Switzerland to own a big synthesizer system (an EMS Synthi-100) and use a computer. With a background in jazz - he has played and composed with successful jazz bands since the age of 17 - improvisation has always played a major role in his mu­sic, and as of the 1980s he began to speak of 'computer­assisted jazz'­. A trained psychologist, he was virtually self­taught as a musician and scholar of music technology. In the course of his career, Spoerri has not only given countless concerts and re­corded dozens of albums, but also forged a groundbreaking career in advertising, TV and film. Among other things, he was the inhouse composer and sound designer (before the term existed) of one of the first agencies for TV ads in Switzerland and composed the soundtracks for approx. 500 ads. Check this previous post for some of his TV ident soundtracks.

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I'm a big fan of Bruno Spoerri's work. I had the pleasure to work with him on several occasions, especially at the 2010 Shift Festival in Basel, where Bruno gave a concert and a talk and we showed a programme with film- and videoclips with his soundtracks. Here's some pictures from a recent visit at his Studio in Zurich.

After the Ondes Martenot (he had since 1965) came the EMS VCS-3 in 1970, and he still has it. He modified it: "I used a Pitch to Voltage Converter to control the VCS-3 with my Saxophone. I needed my hands to play the saxophone, so I added some sort of "presets". There are switches that gave me the approximate functionality of a Minimoog without the need to use the patch panel. I also added trimmers to the oscillators and filters with a 4-way switch, so I could change transpositions easily. I could e.g. play in a 3 voice polyphony and even reverse the voltage to play mirrored voices. But I had to control and re-tune the trimmers before each concert. Most of the time it worked, but sometimes it got horribly out of tune in the middle of a show."

The thing above the pitch to voltage converter and random generator is a home made unit to switch between the controllers saxophone, random generator and keyboard.

Bruno has a very well organised archive and has digitized most of his tapes. This is a page from the index of his archive of sounds and noises, showing recordings he made in factories for two of his great promotional records commissioned by the machine industry: Oederlin (iron foundry) and Lansing-Bagnall (fork lifts). The Lansing-Bagnall 7" was the first of Bruno's tracks popular among rare groove collectors.

Bruno is still experimenting with new technology, ever improving his unique "computer-assisted Jazz" setup. He creates/composes machines with software and hardware that leave room for improvisation (and chance). Here he showed me a composition that involves among other things Max/Msp (he's been an early adopter) a Buchla controller (not in the picture) an iPad - and a home made controller-ball inspired by Michel Waisvisz' "Hands" and Laetitia Sonami, as he told me.

Talking about Waisvisz brought us to the Crackle Box. Of course Bruno has one:

Some of Bruno Spoerri's electronic and experimental music is available through excellent compilations on Finders Keepers records. Some of his jazz band records were beautifully reissued by Sonorama.

Bruno is currently in a legal battle against Jay-Z and Timbaland because they used one of his compositions for the Lilith soundtrack from 1978 (with minimal modifications) for a track on Jay-Z's recent album without asking (he would have said yes and his phone number is on his website, would have been an easy thing). Read the story here. So, if you happen to know Jay-Z or Timbaland, please tell them to be so kind and give Bruno and Finders Keepers credits (and some decent money) for his work they re-used.

Previous Spoerri-related posts:
Irmin Schmidt (Can) and Bruno Spoerri about their collaboration
Exclusive Spoerri TV idents
Bruno's collaboration with artist Betha Sarasin
And in most of my mixes...