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Once upon a time in the 70’s, a woman (photographer) I was on the edge of falling in love with (but never did) asked me to write poems inspired by her pictures, for an exhibition. It took place in the „Cafe Peter“ in Würzburg, in the basement. Bright walls, the photographer’s spacious landscape motifs – „Discreet Music“ and „The Plateaux of Mirror“ were the  only albums played there. Permanently. Quietly. Gentle does it. The woman who owned the café came to me days after the opening, and told me the music would be creating a little dizziness in her head, she felt a strange pull. And, frankly, in the long run she would probably lose her mind. We reduced the times of playing the background. Everything forced is lost anyway in the sounds of „Discreet Music“ – something came around the corner and disappeared behind the next one. It came back again. And again. And then disappeared. And came again. And disappeared. Dizziness may happen, of course. Soft confusion. Everlasting love to sensations on the verge of falling apart. Sarah for example, the photographer, a shadow from the past. I would have loved to sleep with her, but instead she taught me ten tricks for taking out an aggressor at a moment’s notice (in emergencies). Beautiful music, she said, and gave me that short kiss, three, four secs of timelessness, the type of „this happens only once“-kiss. I never forgot its taste.


(in dear memory of my teacher Dr. Egon Werlich)

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.

Gestern war ein trüber Tag. Nach meinem Spaziergang „über den Berg“ (ich wohne nicht am Alpenrand oder im Mittelgebirge, also war die Angelegenheit in einer knappen Stunde erledigt) machte ich mir eine grosse Tasse Assamtee, verdunkelte mein Musikzimmer, und hörte in der Folge zwei Platten, die jeweils von einem Künstler allein eingespielt wurden. Eine Kerze vertrieb das Restgrau, das durch Vorhangsspalten huschte. Das eine Album heisst „REFLECTION“, das andere „MY FOOLISH HEART“. Zuerst Ralph Towner, dann Brian Eno. In der Pause bereitete ich mir eine weitere Tasse Tee zu, diesmal grünen. Obwohl Towners Sologitarrenmusik die Aufmerksamkeit des Hörers unmittelbarer einfordert als „Reflection“, kann man sich dabei auch, mit geschärftem Bewusstsein, tief entspannen. Und es gäbe einiges zu sagen zum siebten puren Soloalbum des amerikanischen Musikers. Man merkt gar nicht, wie konzentriert die Kompositionen sind, es erscheint behändiger, schwebender, als das auf enorme Reduktion bedachte Solowerk „Timeline“, das Peter Ruedi einst, und völlig zurecht, zu einer seiner sachlichen Lobeshymnen animierte. Gedanken(splitter) zum „närrischen Herzen“ kamen kurz zu Bewusstsein, tauchten ab – in der stillen Freude unkommentierten Hörens. Später, bei Enos neuer CD, huschten alte Gedanken vorbei, solcher Art, und etwas abgerundeter (achten Sie auf die Abweichungen von Bekanntem, alte Hüte sitzen besser schräg): die Rezeption der Ambient Music von DISCREET MUSIC bis REFLECTION folgt einem Muster; des einen Langeweile ist des andern Erfüllung. Selten wird wahrgenommen, wie weit all diese „doors of perception“ von einander entfernt sind, der Handschrift des Komponisten oder „Algorithmikers“ zum Trotz. Eine Welt liegt zwischen dem lo-fi von DISCREET MUSIC und dem high-end von REFLECTION. Das eine Zufallsentdeckung, das andere Resultat langen Hörens und Verwandelns. Ich habe mich in diesen Räumen noch nie gelangweilt, aber das Wort Erfüllung trifft es auch nicht. Zu edel. Transzendenz kommt näher heran, ist für mich aber nichts Spirituelles, es ist das, was hinter den Türen auftaucht, wenn man Gewohnheiten, Kreisläufe durchbricht. A dark room. The silence of a candle. Stop making sense. „Do you realize?“. Was ist mein Lieblingssong – ever? „Sunny Afternoon“, von den Kinks. Hier könnte es spannend werden, bei den, nicht auf Aphorismen bedachten, Randnotizen. Was da so von ferne alles hereinschneit, beim Hören zweier wundervoller Platten, bis das eine und andere, stets fragmentierte, Sammelsurium, nach kurzem Quer- und Rumtreiben, entgleitet und forttrudelt!

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