on life, music etc beyond mainstream


Now this will always stick in memory. Once upon a time, in March 1982, the month of its release, ON LAND found its way to my little house in deep Bavaria, on a hillside, a quite desolate no-man’s land for a townie, but fitting well to the haunting atmospheres of the album. It has been a companion of awe and wonder ever since then, and I really installed this ambient speaker system in my living room. Though it was definitely a tiny, ugly and cheap third speaker, I loved that experience. Now we live in different times, and surround systems are no longer that expensive. Thus a quad or 5:1-mix would be easy going, and, for a record like ON LAND, a perfect option. But here we go, with the half-speed vinyl remaster that in fact sounds beautiful, opening up even more depths. At least that’s what I’m feeling, I’m surely not painstakingly comparing it with old pressings. And everybody who has the 2005 cd remaster can happily live forever with that one. Brian had worked on the album quite a while during his New York years, and I was living literally at the end of a world, in Bergeinöden (the name of the village, no pun intended), with great music (Jazz by Post had been my favourite dealer), hot love, drama, Neil Young in concert, weekend travels to Schwabing, my first Go-Betweens record, Cortazar books, my salad days of volleyball,  and no happy endings. But it was worth the trip, at least that‘s what I keep telling myself. Scary Monsters were all around, but somehow I  managed to remain in light. (m.e.)





I regard this music as environmental: to be experienced from the inside. Accordingly I considered releasing a quadrophonic version of it, an idea I abandoned upon realising that very few people (myself included) own quadrophonic systems.

However, I have for many years been using a three-way speaker system that is both simple to install and inexpensive, and which seems to work very well on any music with a broad stereo image. The effect is subtle but definite – it opens out the music and seems to enlarge the room acoustically.

In addition to a normal stereo hifi system all that is required is one extra loudspeaker and some speaker cable. The usage of this speaker in the three-way system is such that it will not be required to handle very low frequencies: therefore a small or „mini“ speaker will be adequate.

As shown in the diagram, the two terminals of the new speaker are connected to the two positive (red) speaker connectors on the amplifier. This speaker is located somewhere behind the listener – at the apex of a triangle whose base is formed by the original loudspeaker set-up. One of the unexpected benefits of this system is an increase in the usable listening area – almost any point in the room will yield good (although not necessarily „accurate“) stereo sound.

I arrived at this system by accident, and I don’t really know why it works. What seems to happen is that the third speaker reproduces any sound that is not common to both sides of the stereo – i.e., everything that is not located centrally in the stereo image – and I assume that this is because the common information is put out of phase with itself and cancels out.

More technically, the lower the impedance of the added speaker, the louder it will sound. If it is found to be too loud (although this rarely seems to happen), you can either insert a potentiometer (6-12 ohms, at least 10 watts) into the circuit, or move the speaker further away.



Discreet Music: 10/10

Music for Airports: 10/10

Music for Films: 10/10

On Land: 10/10



Discreet Music: 10/10

Music for Airports: 10/10

Music for Films: 10/10

On Land: 10/10




„The fires are everywhere in the state. I live in the forest and these fires are creating terrible problems with the air. Air quality is so bad, it’s just totally toxic, unbreathable really. And bad in LA now. I live high on a hill at the edge of a forested canyon. Trees completely surround my house. I feel so anxious living there, I have to move soon. I have a lot of dread every day. Fire season keeps getting longer and longer. We’ve had only 1/2 inch of rain since last May. There are almost no roads heading out from my place, and they are so narrow they’re almost single lane. I shudder to think of what it would be like getting out of there. It’s a scary time here. Gotta leave CA.“

(e-mail from Brian W.)




“One can define time as ‘the duration of that which changes’. We think of time as something like 1-2-3-4, or a clock that goes ‘ticktock, ticktock.’ But people who lived before clocks, they would look at the sun or the moon, see when the rooster started crowing. That meant ‘time’ for them. So it would change.”

(Andrew Cyrille)




Willkommen zu Neuem von der improvisierten Musik, mit Michael Engelbrecht. Von zwei Festivals in Tampere und Berlin wird zu berichten sein, sowie von fünf aktuellen CD-Produktionen aus den Häusern ECM und INTAKT, welche bereits eine aufregende Ewigkeit lang für eine widerständige, verzweigte Ästhetik stehen. Schlägt man das Booklet der neuen Arbeit WHERE THE RIVER GOES des österreichischen Gitarristen Wolfgang Muthspiel auf, meint man, allein dem Mienenspiel der Beiteiligten das Gelingen der Unternehmung anzusehen – die Bilder ringsums Studio La Buissonne im Süden Frankreichs vertiefen den Eindruck wohltuender Abgeschiedenheit. Im Februar 2018 kamen dort zusammen, neben Wolfgang Muthspiel, der etliche Neukompositionen beisteuerte, der Pianist Brad Mehldau, der Trompeter Ambrose Akinmusire, der Bassist Larry Grenadier und der Schlagzeuger Eric Harland. Bei aller Vielstimmigkeit bleibt das Geschehen transparent, gekonnt wird Ereignisdichte ausbalanciert von Phasen des Innehaltens – ein Stück für Sologitarre macht klar, wie spannend ein reines Soloalbum von Muthspiel sein dürfte – und Ambrose Akinmusiere besorgt manch unangepasst querschlagenden Ton. Zur  Grundidee und einer Komposition des Werkes erzählte mir der Mann mit dem trefflichen Namen folgendes:





Darren Hayman is well-known among this blog‘s readers, but he is still well kept secret in his homeland. With the last edition of of his „Thankful Villages“-series, it is time to look back on this unique travel project. The Quietus has done the interview. Now here another opportunity to warm up for travels through the British countryside.


2018 4 Nov

„New White Stereo“

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„What Giles Martin has done will inevitably prompt controversy, as it‘s disrupting decades of accrued historical resonance. But if the 1987 CD of  the „White Album“ parked us in the corridor, and the 2009 stereo remaster let us into the control room with the volumes cranked, Martin‘s remix feels like the closest anyone can get to sharing the headspace of the people who made the music. The detail is staggering.“

(Uncut, December)


„Giles Martin‘s new stereo mix succeeds, principally through lightness of touch. As with his take on „Pepper“, this is a rather subtle revision rather than a bold remake. Come to it unawares and you might not notice any difference. But listen closely on headphones and the magic of the new mix becomes clear.“

(Mojo, December)



Tabakblätter, Dahlien

Wo seid ihr denn alle… ewig die Stimmen
vom Tonband. Gestern Regen, der unterste Tabellenplatz,
Regen heute, das wären die Neuigkeiten von hier, falls
einer in Saloniki Bescheid wissen will.
Die Dahlien
dämmern weg hinterm Zaun; vor langer Zeit las ich, daß es
die Dahlien des Aufruhrs sind. Damals
zögerten wir; die Tage fingen triste an, und wer
weg wollte, fuhr mit der Vorortbahn
in den Vorort.
Fast alle Fehler
haben sich wiederholt, ganz gleich, ob Methoden, Klamotten,
Textsorten und Trainer wechselten. Abends ein Cognac,
ein Unentschieden vielleicht, im Nachtprogramm
der Rückruf aus dem Damals –
Die Dahlien
haben Zeit bis zum Frost, dann wandern in den Keller
die Knollen. Alles überlebt. Die Tabakblätter hingen
im Speicher, und wachliegend hörten wir Rascheln, wenn
der Wind durch die offene Dachluke ging.

(Jürgen Becker)


Damit es dieses Mal kein Gedränge gibt, wenn wir das Jahr musikalisch Revue passieren lassen, und unsere ganz persönlichen Bestenlisten veröffentlichen, kann nun jeder „Mana“ den 6. Dezember wieder dem Nikolaus und seinen Stiefeln überlassen, und, nach Lust und Laune seine / ihre  Top 10, Favourite 20, oder Beloved 50 ins Feld führen, zwischen dem grauen Tag heute, dem Feiertag morgen, und Sylvester.


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