11.12.19 by Ryan Masteller
It’s almost impossible to think that Günter Schlienz still has so much to say. In the copy for one of these tapes, somebody mentions that it’s his “thirtysomethingth” release (or thereabouts), meaning he’s been around and doing it for a while, and doing it (and doing it and doing it) well. I guess you’ll get to “thirtysomethingth” pretty quickly if you release three or four tapes a quarter, among records and other things (mostly records), and also if you have your own label, as Günter Schlienz does with the excellent Cosmic Winnetou. That doesn’t mean you can’t release things on other labels. Günter Schlienz dabbles in that as well. In fact, as we review three of the Stuttgart synth maestro’s opuses from the past few months and consider them in the parlance of our times, we’re treated to no less than one label per tape, and by the rules I’ve just defined, only one is Cosmic Winnetou. That’s three labels giving us Günter Schlienz music! I’m so pumped.
Günter Schlienz – Farbton
I’m gonna dust off my old Google Translate and plug in “Farbton,” and I get “hue.” Fair enough. How about “Tiefes Weiß”? “Deep white.” “Flageolett Gelb”? “Flageolet yellow.” I knew what the colors were in German, but I had no idea that a “flageolet” was a flute-y kind of instrument, but now I do, and my vocabulary is increased. But these things all make sense, the “hue,” the “white,” the “yellow.” The tape itself has a two-tone shell, and I bet you can’t guess the colors on each side, and which track they pertain to. Give up? I’m not falling for it, nor do I have time to entertain silly answers. “Farbton” was recorded using a “DIY synthesizer and cassette tape,” and “Tiefes Weiß” utilizes field recordings and vocal samples and weaving together an utterly haunting excursion through repetitious world-building, each pass through reinforcing and invigorating the last and realizing the remarkable whole. “Flageolett Gelb” unfolds like a lullaby, like someone’s humming the most beautiful tune and it’s just carrying you off into wild unconscious adventures. Except that their mouth is a synthesizer, so it’s even better than you thought at first. Did I mention that each side’s a half hour long? Gosh, there’s so much going on here. Cosmic Winnetou tape available exclusively on the “Galactic Supermarket” tour, which is over now. EVERYTHING ENDS.
Günter Schlienz – The Icelandic Tapes
Not to be outdone by himself, Günter Schlienz took off for Iceland and made this one there (and this is the description that has the “thirtysomethingth” line, so there’s your citation). Still using his DIY synths, he captures the desolate loneliness of the landscape, the simple progressions as filled with space and cold as the island nation. Interspersed with field recordings, the progressions repeat and converse, sinking into your mind and marrying your imagination of what Iceland is (if you haven’t been there – I haven’t) or your recollection of the place to Schlienz’s representations of the living, breathing processes of Icelandic geography and society. Winds sweep across vistas, lava bubbles in volcanic lakes, the northern lights flicker across the night sky. Schlienz captures all of this in sound with a videographer’s eye, and does so over 35 minutes (program repeats on side B). Stay for the quirky ending! “Edition of 60 pro-dubbed cassettes housed in a cardboard box” on Hangover Central Station.
Günter Schlienz – “Island”
Iceland, now “Island,” where are we going next? Not where you’re thinking, sadly, because, yes, you could use a tan. No, this island is the Huxley one, as in Aldous Huxley, and I’ve not read the “psychedelic novel” of the same name. I read “Brave New World” for my high school English class (loved it even then, so much so that I read ahead of our assigned chapters!), and I read “The Doors of Perception” also in high school because of The Doors connection of course. That one baffled me though. Still! “Island” is a miasma of lysergic ambient, with freaky samples and field recordings serving as, ahem, islands of focus throughout the sounds, although those islands of focus are all about LSD and religion and evolution and all manner of strangeness. Günter Schlienz is a willing and patient guide, allowing this trip to unfold and play out as shifts color and shape within your brainpan. Then it becomes tranquil, and pools and lakes and other various bodies of liquids and waters engulf you. This is all just like an LSD trip, just like Aldous Huxley intended. Did Huxley foresee this tape version of “Island”? Probably, on some shamanic spiritual wandering through his own mind. How could he not? Edition of 50 “dubbed in real time on high end decks” available from Feathered Coyote Records.