Some Interesting Reviews by Matt Howarth

Whilst poking around the corners of t’Internet, I re-discovered some great reviews of Kubusschnitt albums by Matt Howarth. I say “re-discovered” as I had known about them, but that was 18 years ago for the first set and 11 years ago for the second. These are old reviews…!!!

Matt is a well-known American comic book artist who draws a lot of inspiration from electronic music and has even included a number of them in his comics. There is a great example available to view via Klaus Schulze’s website.

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I do remember getting an email from Matt back in about 2001/2002 offering to do a Kubusschnitt comic strip that could be included within an album. Sadly, at the time, I couldn’t really afford what Matt charged for what would have been a superb investment.

Here are Matt’s reviews of a number of the Kubusschnitt albums, with source references to Matt’s site.

KUBUSSCHNITT: The Case (CDR on Neu Harmony)

On this 73 minute CDR from 1999, the band offers a selection of instrumental electronic music with deep space moods and refined modern sensibilities. Starting with Berlin School of synthesizers as a foundation tinged with strong Philip Glass overtones, Kubusschnitt has forged the next stage of electronic evolution, setting their sights far beyond the heart of our sun.

Immediately, the rhythms are persistent. Generated by layered sequencer textures and keyboard rolls, tempos of lush and deep sounds rush through the mix with their emphatic declarations. Peripheral electronics define their presence with authoritative subtlty, filling every apparent sonic niche.

Buried among these duelling synthesizer riffs, soft E-perc lend a subliminal backbeat, but generally the “percussives” are rendered through the rapid interplay of keyboard pulsations.

The participation of guitar is unavoidably conspicuous. Dense strains of fiery space guitar wail with furious cosmic intent, adding emotional magnitude to each tune. These deep tones carry a vibrant majesty that transcends normal guitarwork, triggering psychological responses which traditional rock guitar could never touch.

The charismatic fusion of these lively electronics and dynamic guitar elevates Kubusschnitt’s tuneage beyond most other electronic music.

The music is rich with melody. These compositions attain high degrees of appeal, commanding the listener’s attention with little forceful coersion. Their catchy nature is suitably augmented by the band’s dramatic flair.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: The Cube (CD on Neu Harmony)

On this 72 minute release from 2000, the band produces some startling electronic music of a particularly ominous nature.

Within seconds of its commencement, this music has plunged you far beyond your world. Deep into space, past Pluto and into mysterious interstellar realms. Here, the melodies tease the quantum particles with their surging sequences, agitating the molecules into dark motion.

This tuneage is seething with numerous pulsations and bass tonalities. The harmonics may be keyboard-driven, but they swarm in a nebula of beyond-ambient electronics that are not unlike the gestation of a proto-star. Chords and cycles are drawn into the central melody to orbit with increasing pace. This action produces riffs of a dynamic quality, paying homage to the more deadly elements of the void.

Intimating the promise of an alien threat from outside your world, Kubusschnitt generates electronic music that excites the listener’s thrill factor. Whether plunging into a “Wormhole” or blotting out the sky with a “Hypercube”, these compositions appeal to the audience’s rhythmic sensibilities as well as the listener’s dark side.

This music acts like a subspace wake-up call for the psyche, tickling the brain with its insistent pace and smoldering density.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: The Singularity (CD on Neu Harmony)

With this 74 minute release from 2001, the band’s already-crisp sound grows even more exciting as Kubusschnitt continues its galactic sonic voyage.

From its shrill and drifting opening, this music soars far beyond earthly tides to explore realms of sound foreign to mankind. The electronics contribute to elongated riffs, enhancing the melodies with piercing results. Guided by keyboards, the riffs engage in a frenzy of harmonious vigor, delivering more than the average share of plateau-moments. The patterns swell to momentous proportions, swarming around the tuneage’s central theme like a school of luminous fish. These variations spiral together, forming ever more complex and even more enticing melodies.

Blending with this perfection, the strains of space guitar wail with passion, flavoring the music with passages of vibrant organic substance. These thrilling chords expand, rising to peaks of epic crescendo.

Percussive elements swim immersed in this busy structure, generally sounding their rhythms through rapid cycles of synthesized sounds. There are some almost-traditional E-perc tempos too, but these beats are restrained from propelling the music, reduced to a strength no more dominant than the gyrating electronics. All these aspects coexist in balance, with no single drowning out its sonic compatriots (with the pleasant exception of some fiery guitar solos).

Among the profusion of bands pursuing this enthusiastic electronic sound, Kubusschnitt’s excellence shines like a siren beacon, audible for light years and undaunted by the laws of quantum physics.

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wEirD: A Different Kind of Normal (CD on Neu Harmony)

wEirD is actually two members from Kubusschnitt: Jens Peschke and Andy Bloyce.

Rhythmic synthesizers share the sonic stage with space guitar during this 72 minute journey into alternate normality. The electronics are heavily sequenced and rich with sinuous E-perc, producing catchy astral tuneage that pierces dimensional barriers and spills the listener into strange alien realms.

The track “Klaus to the Edge” pays tribute to Klaus Schulze’s dynamic synthesizer wizardry, with driving synthetic rhythms forming an entertaining Berlin School foundation for the sky-blaze guitar.

Meanwhile, “Manuel Gearchange” is an enjoyable homage to Ash Ra Tempel/Ash Ra’s guitarist, Manuel Gottsching. wEirD’s use of Gottschingesque guitar in this piece is endearing and all too brief.

It is in this CD’s 26 minute title track, however, that wEirD’s own style attempts to mature beyond these influences. Centralized around more traditional space guitar, the melody immerses itself in aerial electronics and pulsing background tones. What begins with a modicum of energy slowly erodes into dreamy passages—only to re-emerge with gentle power and non-percussive tempos. Ping-ponging electronics carry the listener back aloft to view the stately weirdness of new riffs. Traversing several individual compositions, this epic touches upon a series of strange moods in its duration, each section drifting into the next with deceptive ease.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: Kubient (DL available from Musiczeit)

This release from 2006 offers 55 minutes of serene electronic music.

Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce, Tom Coppens, and Ruud Heij.

Here, we have an epic-yet-serene composition that runs for 55 minutes.

It begins with soft textures generating a heavenly firmament that is lightly augmented by electronic gurglings rising into prominence. The harmonics pass through a cosmic section which studiously evokes interstellar regions, complete with rogue emissions and astral ambience.

Gradually, the music’s airy character ebbs as a mechanical presence enters the mix. The tones adopt a grinding disposition as they spiral toward more substantial expressions. Sedate layers grow darker, as if passing ominously close to a planetary mass. Tension is kept to a minimum, though, leaving the tonalities to crest and recede with terse definition.

Keyboard chords are generated and sustained, mimicking atmospheric flows. Creeping about in the distance are equally sustained guitar notes that lend a remote edginess to the cosmic ambience.

The extended finale maintains this cosmic ambience, flavoring the dreaminess with a hint of drama that swiftly turns into gentle melodics with softly twinkling keys and lazily structured guitar moans.

Lacking any rhythmic presence or strident riffs, this music luxuriates in a realm of gaseous quality, invoking a somnambulant predilection. Variation is constant, but drastically understated, mired in the type of slow-burning growth that eludes active perception and reacts primarily on the subconscious.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: Nightshade (DL available from Musiczeit)

This release from 2006 offers 65 minutes of captivating electronic music recorded live at National Space Centre in Leicester, England (no date is given).

Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce and Tom Coppens.

Airy textures establish a sedate opening. Space guitar takes advantage of this lull, diving in with smoldering notes. The guitar, endearing and soulful, explores a gentle melody for a while, paving the way for a rise of twinkling auxiliary effects and moody ambience.

Eventually, more demonstrative electronics enter the mix, bolstering the music’s verve and velocity. Deep down keyboard loops surge into dominance, tempered by additional cycles of more lighthearted disposition. Gradually, these sonic threads intertwine to form a denser melody, one salted with livelier riffs. The guitar adopts more traditional expressions, belting out a pleasant undercurrent. Meanwhile, crystalline keyboard loops have conquered the mix with their sparkling definition.

The instruments enter a dreamy passage, with the guitar strumming chords of twilight demeanor, while synthesizers gurgle and froth in a closing periphery. The guitar slides into a harpesque sound, evoking a delicately romantic edge amid the rising tide of liquid electronics. Pensive keyboards lend a forlorn touch, as if yearning for the promise of dawn.

Shrill keyboards take the rudder now, generating an eloquent starscape that sweeps across the sky, flavoring the darkness with shimmering sparks. An elevation of darker chords reminds the music of its crepuscular mien. Without warning, the guitar returns like a fiery blazon, spawning molten astral chords that grip the soul and squeeze passion from the seething dusk.

Nostalgic riffs coalesce with futuristic harmonics, producing an urgency that saturates the night with portentous moods. Space guitar lends a searing punctuation that fulfills the highest expectations with a resounding crescendo of nimble-fingered expertise.

These compositions blend tasty doses of dreamy passages with escalations of pace and melody, resulting in a thrilling sonic rollercoaster ride that is guaranteed to mesmerize and titillate EM aficionados.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: Phoenix (DL available from Musiczeit)

This release from 2006 offers 67 minutes of incredible electronic music.

Kubusschnitt is: Andy Bloyce, Tom Coppens, and Ruud Heij.

A waterfall of glittering electronics establishes an anticipatory opening which eventually leads to denser, more expansive harmonies. Roiling textures sweep in, establishing a solemn overcast. Keyboards enter the flow, first expressing elongated chords that pretend to be additional atmospherics but inevitably evolving into substantial riffs. Regal keyboards introduce urgency to the mix, goading the tuneage into advanced stamina with their cyclic presence.

A bevy of these keyboards cluster to form an appealing bulk. Nimble-fingered riffs belt out with assertive resolve, generating a lavish vitality with their insistent delivery. As things progress, these cycles merge to acquire breathtaking scope.

Cosmic guitar contributes bewitching pinnacles that persist in striving for frontier heights. Gripping chords, subjected to searing sustains, caress heaven’s ceiling with their ecstatic outcries. Brilliant chords instill the music with a rapturous flair.

Percussion is utilized in only one track, injecting tasty propulsion to the dazzling union of celestial guitar and twinkling electronics.

These compositions are marvelous and captivating. A suitable level of verve is achieved and then augmented by passion. The tunes mesmerize as they invigorate, inducing a thrilling state of bliss. Listeners are guaranteed a stunning and alluring excursion to realms of interstellar wonder.

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KUBUSSCHNITT: Journey through a Burning Cube (DL available from Musiczeit)

This release from 2006 offers 54 minutes of electronic music.

The majority of this release features selections from other Kubusschnitt albums (specifically “Kubient,” “Nightshade,” and “Phoenix”), exhibiting a cross-section of the band’s electronic stylings, from astral ambience to stellar sequencing in which nimble-fingered keyboards unleash urgent riffs laced with tasty space guitar.

There is one 7-minute previously unreleased track (“Strontium”) which revels in galactic ambience with wafting textures and bubbling tonalities, producing a serene mood that serves to transport the audience back to an earthbound vantage.

An excellent introduction to the band’s music.

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Output from that interesting find – three albums (with more to come…?)

After a couple of marathon listening sessions, and much note taking, three albums emerged from the large find of old CDRs. These were:

Here’s a little bit more about each of them in turn.

First up is the Utrecht Sessions

Utrecht Sessions

This album is over two hours long and is a distillation of over five hours of rehearsals for the Kubusschnitt gig in Bussum, just outside Amsterdam, in March 2002. Tom, Ruud and I spent a couple of days just throwing ideas around, mainly based on Ruud’s superb sequences. From memory, he had also not long had his Roger Arrick-designed Synthesizers.Com modular – here he is proudly standing in front of it for their artists section. You can read the full entry on the Synthesizers.Com website.

ruud and modular

I’ve written previously about the fun we three had, playing music, drinking beer and eating out – this includes creating what became the Kubient piece. There was a LOT of playing, a few parts of which were tryouts for what we would play, but there was also hours of pure improvisation – some of which worked quite well (and is in the album), some of which had great moments (these excerpts are in the album) and, of course, some of which didn’t really go anywhere or went to the wrong place (these are still on my hard drive). I could have issued the whole five hours, but then the listener would have to separate out the various categories I’ve mentioned. I like to think that I’ve done the work for you.

I played guitar on a lot of the tracks, although I did double up on keyboards when the guitar wasn’t needed, usually playing some Mellotron samples. I do play the whole ‘tron flute solo on the track Return of the Strontium Flute Player, which was meant purely as a fun tribute to the heavy ‘tron soloing that tended to happen within Berlin School. I couldn’t resist breaking out of the pentatonic right at the very end.

Aside from Kubient (which isn’t duplicated here, although some of the earlier part of the track has been used) and Return of the Strontium Flute Player (which appeared as a bonus on one of the MusicZeit downloads) nothing from this session has been previously issued. All of the track titles were title adaptations of what the piece reminded me of when I was listening to it. Some are really obvious, some a bit harder.

I may return to the other few hours of music at some point, perhaps as part of a second rarities compilation.

Next we have Sessions for The Cube

Cube Sessions

Exactly as it says, this is music that formed the basis of the album The Cube, which was issued in 2000 – the sessions took place in Utrecht in 1999. What you can hear is the distillation of many hours down to just over an hour. Removed were any takes/versions that sound exactly the same as the issued versions and everything here is before any re-working/over-dubbing that took place subsequently. All tracks here are exactly as they were played live, although I’ve been careful not to include the parts that got too experimental, mainly because they don’t make for great listening.

There is no guitar at all on these tracks (many will cheer, I know), that went on afterwards, as did some of the synth solos. The version of Wormhole here (Formation of a Wormhole) is vastly different as it was subject to a lot of extra studio work to produce the final version on The Cube.

The naming convention refers to the final issued tracks and is reasonably easy to decode, the tracks Niet Gebruikt 01-04 simply weren’t used for the final album. Hopefully, Google Translate helped me well enough with my Dutch to get that right.

As I noted, these sessions were all recorded live so you do get to enjoy Dutch mains hum in the quieter moments and the odd dodgy note. Having said that, the complexity achieved as a live session is very good and the sequencing is really first-class in my opinion. Playing with that pounding behind you really does inspire.

There is an alternative cover (by Tom) hidden away in the extras if you download the album, here it is.

sessions for the cube

Finally, we have Ex Cathedra

ex cathedra

This album is made up of different live sessions that I found with very little information. I’m pretty certain that the second track, Exit via the Gift Shop, is from the Utrecht sessions before the Alfa Centauri gig, mainly because there is live guitar on it. I don’t think this track has been formally issued, although it may have been circulating with friends, so it’s likely turned up on a non-official version of one of the downloads. The guitar is really in rhythm mode on this track, locking in with the sequencer, rather than acting a lead instrument.

The first track, Enter through the Nave, comprises an excellent first section that echoes back to some classic ‘tron-based work in the early 1970’s from Tangerine Dream – in particular, the Reims live set from 1974. The actual track was a lot longer and had a few attempts at bringing in the sequencer section, none of which ever came to fruition. As the best sequencer section I found started so quietly, I elected to do a gentle cross-fade of the two parts, removing the earlier attempts. I believe this makes for a better musical experience, although it’s not quite true to the live session.

There is a theme to the track, the title and, to a degree, the cover. Currently (March 2019), there is a lot of interest in the forthcoming Tangerine Dream boxset (In Search of Hades) and the likely inclusion of the real Coventry Cathedral set from 1975. The title and the stained glass panel (turned sideways) pays homage to what I hope will be an interesting and excellent box set.

The track titles refer to those days of visiting various cathedrals – I was going to do a cover in the style of a guidebook, but I decided that might be pushing it too far.

New Cover for Kubient

Tom also sent me a new cover for Kubient, so I’ve updated this and included the old Trouvelot astronomical drawing of Mars as an extra. Here’s the new cover.

kubient.jpg

Tom, as you can tell by his covers is far more artistic than me.

What next…?

After quite a mammoth listening and mastering session, I’ve been relaxing by creating some more music via The Soviet Space Dog Project.

I’ll get back to the vast number of Kubusschnitt CDRs again soon and who knows what will appear…?

 

 

 

An Interesting Find…

In the last update I said that the number of Kubusschnitt albums on Bandcamp was likely to stay at twelve unless one of us had an interesting find. Well, I have had an interesting find – I uncovered a large case of CDRs, the majority of which were Kubusschnitt sessions, early mixes, alternative versions and unissued material. It’s quite a large amount of material, not all of it deserves to heard again I’m sure, but some it is likely to be worth remastering.

I’m just starting my listening extravaganza with over five hours of rehearsal material from Utrecht for the Alfa Centauri gig. Whilst I use the term rehearsal, it really was just improvising and much of this never made to that gig or the Exeter gig. The recording quality is very good, aside from the odd bit of distortion, which is acceptable as we were mixing live down to stereo and hoovering it up onto DAT. It’s just the sound of three people having fun with some great equipment and aided by the odd beer now and then.

This is all going to take quite a while to get to something for issue, even the listening is going to take days and I’ll need to take notes as I go.

One thing that I do have to put straight is that the Alfa Centauri gig was actually in the Theatre ‘t Spant, in Bussum – not Huizen as I thought, and as I named the album. I found full details of the festival by using the Internet Archive as, sadly, the Alfa Centauri web presence has long since gone. Here is the best I can do for the flyer for the festival, not great but gives the details:

Live in Bussum

So, we were in very exulted company. I do remember that Kayanis brought with him a large number of young women dressed in what can only be described as diaphanous costumes. They caused quite the stir with the mainly middle-aged male audience.

I also remember that Spyra was really good and super cool as ever – right up until the point where he dropped his cigarette into his lap and had to leap up to beat it away. OK, he didn’t miss a beat, so he’s still officially super cool.

So, I can’t really be bothered to change the album name and artwork, and it’s not that far from Huizen (which is where the 8th Alfa Centauri Festival was held), and both are to the south-east of Amsterdam. I could just change the name of the album to “Spant!”, of course.

Spant

I’ll get back to listening to this mountain of material and I shall see what emerges. Olga, you will get your wish after all.

An Even Dozen

There are now twelve albums up on the Kubusschnitt Bandcamp site, and until one of us has an interesting find this is likely to stay the number of releases. It’s not a bad array of issued “studio” albums, unissued/rare “studio” material, issued live albums and unissued rehearsals. In fact, I’m surprised at how much there is, and how much of it stands the test of time – some of it is approaching 20 years old.

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The last album to go up was the Jodrell Bank Rehearsals, this was an interesting find and had been given away to friends as “The Bromley Sessions”. This version was put together in an uncoordinated fashion, so I ensured that all tracks were named appropriately using the track names from the actual live release, then I sequenced the tracks to provide a virtual concert. I also removed a few sections that didn’t add anything to the World and made some careful fades. Then it was time to lift the sound for everything to pull out some of the detail hiding in there.

Without wishing to repeat what I’ve written in the description on the Bandcamp page, these are very clean versions of what we played live at Jodrell Bank, all recorded directly to DAT and with only a hint of guitar distortion here and there. We just left the DAT recording straight off the mixing desk and tried out various ideas and ways of playing the material. We could then retire to the living room and listen back in more comfort and with some form of liquid refreshment. As a result of all of this, we programmed/loaded up the relevant sounds, named presets and generally got everything ready so that our first gig wouldn’t be too stressful.

I still remember being given a hand-written A4 sheet of paper with times down the left-hand side and instructions against the various timing points. My favourite instruction was one to “… go wild for 3 minutes and 30 seconds…”. I had already played quite a few gigs as part of a London-based Blues Band and improvising didn’t really present any anxiety. In fact, the opposite is true for me – I become more anxious when I know that I’ve got to do specific things at pre-determined times. Once I know the BPM and the key, I can set effects and get my fingers in the approximately correct area and just go for it.

Anyway, we had a good gig and people seemed to like it. I even kept the applause and me asking if “…anyone wanted more…” on the issued recording. The rehearsal time meant that we were well-drilled and I do play quite similar guitar lines in the concert as I did in the rehearsals. It also made me quite determined that any future concerts would have different preparation, allowing for more improvisation.

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The issued album “Kubient” is an example of this as it is a completely improvised piece, played as a rehearsal before the Alfa Centauri concert. None of this was used in the concert, it was simply a way of getting used to each other and having fun. It was definitely job done on both counts. For the concert itself we were joined by Marcel Engels and we hadn’t played together at all, although he had played with Ruud. So, that really stepped up the improvised live feel.

There’s some more detail on the rehearsals, Kubient and the concert in an entry in the blog for The Soviet Space Dog Project. This colours in some of the detail and saves me repeating myself.

The Beat Continues… An Update

As of right now, there are eleven albums on the Kubusschnitt Bandcamp page, with a twelfth imminent as I listen through the Jodrell Bank Rehearsal tracks, whilst I’m typing this – and there is a lot of material there.

The most interesting thing (for me) has been looking at what’s been popular, and whether it is just about price. Well, price obviously plays a big part as the wEirD album had 450 downloads really quickly when I offered it at “Name Your Price”, as I hadn’t remastered it. I have subsequently put the price up to a token £1. Rarity is the other factor – the biggest selling album is “Rarities Vol. 1”, which collects up material that was never issued formally.

I could go on to undertake a full analysis, however I think it’s fair to say that the obvious combination of low price and/or rarity is what swings it. Of course, some people buy it all straight away, and I thank them most heartily, it is really appreciated. I think the next issue (“The Jodrell Bank Rehearsals”) will hit both of those, so I’ve got the luxury yacht on order right now.

It’s been a pleasure listening back to all of this material. I thought it would be more of a chore, but no there is some great music and wonderful times buried in those albums. I am surprised that we did quite so much. I have also been amazed at how much detail I have been able to pull out of the masters. I have tried to balance keeping the vintage sound with allowing the listener to hear more of what’s in there.

The biggest find so far has been the NSC Rehearsals. I had totally forgotten that as part of the fun for that gig, Tom and I burned one copy of our rehearsal from the night before as a prize. We had burned 50 copies of the “Exeter” CDR, each numbered, and then drew a number – the person with that number CDR won the rehearsal CDR. Simple, really. I had forgotten, but Geoff Mason (who had attended with his daughter that evening) reminded me and asked if there was any chance of releasing it. Fortunately, Tom found a copy, transferred across the files and now there it is. I edited it slightly (too many bum notes, Herr Mozart) and then improved the sound. It’s been a popular release.

Tom and I always worked well together as we both had (and likely still do have) the same outlook on music and life in general. We have agreed to work on some new material (which may, or may not be called Kubusschnitt), its speed of delivery is currently entirely down to me working with some excellent files that Tom sent to me, and finding some appropriate ones to send back to him.

I shall return to the Jodrell Bank Rehearsals and hopefully that will appear on the Bandcamp page very soon.

UPDATE:

The Jodrell Bank Rehearsals are up. There is over two hours of the various run-throughs that we did in the days leading up to the concert. It was a bit more regimented than some of our later concerts, so whilst the instrumentation and improvisiation is fresh in each “take”, the basic setup is quite similar.

Still, it’s all unique music and available at a decent price (IMO, of course). Enjoy it.

Concerts, Rarities and Albums now available…

After some careful listening and a bit of time spent doing my best  to improve the sound where I could, there is now a wealth of Kubusschnitt material available on Bandcamp.

Kubusschnitt Bandcamp Page (16-10-18)

There are four live albums, three studio albums and a rarities collection. I listened carefully to everything and did my best to lift the sound where I could (and priced low, where I couldn’t). Everything is priced quite low, mainly to encourage the purchase of these versions rather than the various CDRs that are out there. The advantage with Bandcamp is that I can carefully log all of the purchases and remove all deductions (Bandcamp and PayPal) to know exactly how much money there is in the pot – as I said, I am pricing these really low, as it’s not about the money.

For remastering, I considered how best to lift out some of the wonderful sequencing and to give it a bit more life in the mix. A lot of what Kubusschnit was about was playing with interweaving sequences. As I listened back, it was interesting to hear the marked differences between the tracks and to consider whose sequences were driving them.

My tools of choice were quite simple: EQ, compression and limiting. I’m sure there are some fancy tools that would do it all for me, but I preferred to deploy different tools, in different ways, for different albums. When distortion appeared, it was quite often back in the original recording – a lot of the tracks were based on live improvisations, with “colour” being added later. I have been worried about changing the listening experience (these albums are up to 19 years old), so I have been as careful as I can be. I am still toying with the idea of just uploading the original masters as bonus tracks, then the listener gets to decide which one they prefer.

I’ve dithered over the wEirD album as it’s not strictly a Kubusschnitt release, although it is very much in the same spirit and even has some of Ruud’s work on there – taking it to three members of Kubusschnitt. I even completed a remaster, although it’s the first one where I think I might just use the original. I was quite happy with the remaster of “Manuel Gearchange”, so that could just be a bonus. Funnily enough, whilst poking around a huge pile of DATs I found over 60 minutes’ worth of various mixes of “Manuel Gearchange”, including the long ones with lots of Star Trek samples. It was difficult to release that at that time, so it was shortened. It was really just me working out how my Akai S2000 sampler operated and having some fun.

At that time, as a guitarist experimenting with new equipment, I only had one keyboard and the whole thing was recorded on a reel-to-reel 8-track with a mixing desk so big you could see it bending light. It was noisy as hell as well – these days it’s popular to add on that “analogue” noise using a plug-in. Back then, I was doing everything I could with noise gates to minimise it. How things change. If only I could have bottled it then and sold it now.

I will write in detail about thoughts, memories etc. on the various releases, just to add some context for those who are coming to these albums for the first time. Makes me feel old, though.

Kubusschnitt, are they back…?

Well, yes. In a way.

cropped-k-slash-v1

Starting with the live material, I hope to be able to put all of the old Kubusschnitt albums up onto Bandcamp with the thought that if these are being sold (and they are), the very limited money may as well go the artists. Bandcamp allows that to happen quite easily.

I noticed a few places selling downloads and CDRs of various Kubusschnitt albums and whilst adding some comments to the wonderful YouTube uploads by Richard W, there was a swift discussion about putting the difficult-to-find material up on Bandcamp. None of Kubusschnitt were ever interested in the money (which was really lucky); however, this does at least provide the opportunity to make the albums available to anyone who wants them, safe in the knowledge that the artists are actually getting the money.

My intention was to start with the live material, not least because I am in touch with Tom at the moment and the National Space Centre gig (issued on SynthMusicDirect as (“Nightshade”) was just the two of us, which makes starting somewhat easier.

Listening to the Exeter Krautrock Karnival gig, I have found two different versions, one of which was limited to only 50 signed copies (“Exeter”) and the other was issued through SynthMusicDirect (“Phoenix”). I would like to put the whole concert out and then consider how I treat the various bonus tracks that were added to the different editions. I did notice that there is a cheeky version of “Exeter” that has been badged-up to look like the SynthMusicDirect set. I might steal that artwork myself.

I also listened to the Jodrell Bank gig and I think that one, together with “The Case” are  definite hard-to-find albums; the Jodrell Bank one only being released as part of a six-CDR set. Admittedly, the complete set is a corker overall and well worth finding, we supported AirSculpture and that gig is one of the CDRs.

Finally, there is the gig at the Alfa Centauri Festival, that does also get billed as Kubusschnitt with Free System Projekt, as Marcel Engels played with us. This was never released, although I did post it quietly on Soundcloud (it’s gone now) and it’s easy to spot as the artwork is an piece of art from London’s South Bank (below)

Alfa Centauri

Watch this space (or, more precisely, blog), or just watch the New Arrivals section of Berlin School on Bandcamp. As soon as time permits, I will do my best to improve the sound and start uploading.