Home Taping Is Killing Music
Home Taping Is Killing Music is the first and only LP by Pyrolator (Ata Tak label operative and member of Der Plan) and tape loop tinkerer Arnd Kai Klosowski. The result: whimsical, raw sound experiments from the early days of sampling technology. Originally released in 1985 on Ata Tak/WR 30. It was in the mid-1980s when the unsuccessful blues guitarist Arnd Kai Klosowski realized that the DJ was the star of the show in the discotheque: not the music and not the musicians. He then asked himself: "What if it were possible to create something new, a mix of recorded and live music which could be switched on and off intermittently?" Klosowski built himself a mixing desk with eight inputs, plugged-in microphones, called up a few people and they improvised their hearts out. "I don't know what they played, exactly. But I do know that it simply didn't work," Klosowski recollects. And then he remembered the tape loop experiments he had worked on as a teenager. So he got back to inventing, tinkering, and soldering. The first recordings made with this new, homemade tape loop device found their way to ZickZack label boss Alfred Hilsberg, who decided to release an album. All he needed was a producer. At this point, Pyrolator finally enters the scene, a musician (as a member of Der Plan, for example), producer, and Ata Tak label operative. Similarities in the working practices and musical leanings of Pyrolator and Klosowski are there for all to see, or rather to hear. Both were interested in collage, obscure music, and technical innovation. They went into the studio together and recorded Home Taping Is Killing Music. The original plan was to issue the album on Hilsberg's ZickZack label, but it actually came out through Ata Tak. Why was that? Pyrolator: "We felt that the album was far better suited to Ata Tak, and so we came to an agreement with Alfred that we could release the record." Klosowski adds another significant detail to this explanation: "Pyrolator had to invest more time and work than anticipated. He had imagined it all to be somewhat easier. I lacked experience in studio technology, so Pyrolator had to bear the brunt of that. Two worlds collided, that of a trained musician and my own. We overshot the studio budget by some distance." The Klosowski album produced by Pyrolator thus became a joint Klosowski/Pyrolator album, with Ata Tak the logical label choice. Home Taping Is Killing Music is a rough diamond from the pioneering era of sampling technology. True, the Emulator 1 already existed and was used extensively, but the tape machine which Klosowski designed and constructed could play considerably longer loops and samples than the E-MU Systems product. And so it was that salsa trumpets and Gregorian chants were heard side-by-side, railway noises aligned with Cambodian music and gospel met Bavarian yodeling. At no time did technology become an end in itself: it always served the melody, the beat, the element of surprise. In short, it was in the service of listening pleasure.