Acht Gesange der schwarzen Hunde (Experimenteller Elektronik-Underground DDR 1980-1990)

BB 387CD BB 387CD

Jörg Thomasius, otherwise known as Tomato, born in East Berlin in 1955, discovered progressive sounds in the early 1970s. He was increasingly drawn towards the electronic signals emanating from West Berlin, so close and yet so far away, carried on radio waves through the Iron Curtain and surfacing sporadically in eager record collector circles on the eastern side of the wall. A Venn diagram of interests brought Tomato into the same space as Andreas Grosser, renowned today for his legendary microphone repair skills. Grosser's Dutch father had lost no time establishing contact with the West Berlin scene, sourcing equipment for congenial zeitgeist trips in his Berlin-Biesdorf garden arbor. On seeing this wired-up chamber of wonders in late 1977, Thomasius was catapulted into the world of electronics. It was here that he would meet Terry Riley, handing out LSD on his eastern expedition. Grosser became a kind of mentor to Thomasius, who had started to explore the tape format. Thomasius also struck up a rapport with Conrad Schnitzler and the pair spoke regularly on the telephone until they were finally able to meet in person in 1985. Thomasius had been working on a GDR radio show called Trend since 1981, albeit outside of any legal structures, and in 1982 he began writing "Innovation under adverse conditions" copy for the English Eurock fanzine Neumusik alongside the GDR mainstream producer Wolfgang Fuchs from Pond. He was also a member of Das Freie Orchester (until 1989). Kröten Kassetten was founded to cater to DFO and any solo or duo jaunts. Thomasius worked as a boilerman and exhibition technician for the Centre for Art Exhibitions of the GDR. Ken Montgomery, who ran the American label Generations Unlimited, organized an illegal Schnitzler performance in East Berlin's Church of the Redeemer in 1986 which was also made available via Kröten channels, whilst the Thomasius LP Tomato was released on Generations Unlimited in 1989. The material collected on Acht Gesänge der schwarzen Hunde comes from three places: the Schwarze Hände cassette with productions from 1980-1985, released on Werner Piepner's Transmitter label, the 1989 Kröten cassette Gesänge der Komparsen and After Eight from the year 1990, issued on the Tomato label after Thomasius had left the DFO. Spanning a full decade, the selection presents Thomasius as the multifaceted artist he is, even if he sees himself as more of an experimental DIY sonic creator: spherical, elegiac sounds float around whimsical jewels of extreme playfulness, weaving obscure vocal fragments into strange minimal constructs.