Thomas Fehlmann is a musician whose career encompasses the Neue Deutsche Welle innovations of Palais Schaumberg and the ambient house of The Orb. In this monologue, taken from our Spring 2013 issue of Electronic Beats Magazine, he recommends Voigt & Voigt‘s Die zauberhafte Welt der Anderen. You can read an interview with Voigt & Voigt, which discusses the record in their own words, here. Thomas Fehlmann’s latest 12-inch, “Eye”/”Tree” is released via Kompakt this week.
I’ve known the Voigt brothers for a long time and although I’ve never collaborated with them, I’ve paid close attention to their output over the years. If you look into their back catalog, particularly Reinhard Voigt’s, he’s been making some pretty extreme ambient records for a one-time progressive rock label called Harvest under the moniker Kron, amongst others. Die zauberhafte Welt der Anderen [The Magical World of Others] feels related to those records, as if Reinhard’s break from ambient music has since led to a renewed enthusiasm for reapproaching these alien textures. Of course, this isn’t explicitly ambient music and Wolfgang also had a very profound say in this, soundwise. Voigt & Voigt aren’t treading old ground. Rather, their beat-driven sonics gain traction, even power, by functioning atmospherically—paradoxically enough. These sound worlds are singularly strange constructions: the looping in “Die Glocke (Endstation Wiener Platz)” is embellished with shards of obfuscated, unplaceable found sound, while the psychedelic drone of “Akira” is spun out on the unlisted eleventh track “Akira Mantra” for a whopping twenty-six minutes. Other tracks, such as “Tja Mama, Sandra Maischberger”, have an almost Roxy Music feel to them. They have spent time finding inspiring, unexpected solutions to making their grooves disarming, There’s a similar attention to detail in the album’s title, too; Die zauberhafte Welt der Anderen seems to reference to two well-known films, Amélie, known in German as Die fabelhafte Welt der Amélie and Das Leben der Anderen [The Lives of Others]. Though I read the title more as a social observation than cinematic reverence.
It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Kompakt label. Beyond the variety of the music it releases, the imprint occupies an almost patron-like position, harboring an artistic conviction in what’s good over what might sell as its foundation. And most importantly there’s a distinct sense of humor at play throughout pretty much their entire catalog. Die zauberhafte Welt der Anderen certainly continues to maintain that special reputation. ~
Voigt & Voigt’s Die zauberhafte Welt der Anderen and Thomas Fehlmann’s “Eye”/”Tree” are both out now on Kompakt. This text first appeared first in Electronic Beats Magazine N°33 (Spring, 2013). Read the full issue on issuu.com or in the embed below.