Coil und Stockhausen

Bekanntlich verehre ich das Werk von Sleazy, insbesondere Coil und verstehe Stockahsuen nicht wirklich.

Sleazy schon:


It’s really a long time since I heard this, but is this Stockhausen’s Gesang Der Jünglinge?

That’s right.

I originally bought Stimmung. I hadn’t listened to that for a long time, but by accident I found it in the iTunes store. I was lucky that more or less at the last minute before I was sent to the same public school that Prince Charles went to, I didn’t go, because I showed some indication of being a bit weird and deviant to my parents. So they sent me to a Quaker co-educational boarding school in Yorkshire called Ackworth. It was the greatest thing they could have ever done because the school had a very liberal arts policy.

I helped run the school radio, which wasn’t broadcast but was close circuit with speakers to all the common rooms and I think that the third formers were a bit perplexed to be greeted by Stockhausen’s Gesang Der Jünglinge (laughs). They were expecting Mud’s “Tiger Feet” or something. This was one of the first electronic records I ever bought.

How did you get to hear it?

I guess the school music department was sufficiently open to have a few electronic records like Messiaen. And from there I was sufficiently interested to go into W H Smith’s in Pontefract, into the record section and stop for a moment looking at Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, and wander over to the electronic music section. As you start leafing through the covers, some catch your eye just as my eye was caught by a copy of a book called The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs at the age of 14. I stood in the back of the shop for two hours unable to stop reading. It’s just fantastic when people by chance come across some book or work that suddenly opens doors in their perception and quite possibly this [music] and books like that changed my life. If I hadn’t got the bus or been able to go to Smith’s that day, who knows what might have happened.

I think the fact that you could get Stockhausen in W H Smith proves that it was a different age.


This is over 50 years old and was seen as a groundbreaking piece of work. How do you think it stands up now?

I think it sounds out of time in a good way: it doesn’t feel dated to me. To be honest with you I don’t really know much about contemporary electronic music in a classical sense, but to me a lot of these electronic sounds still sound fresh in the same way as the Clockwork Orange soundtrack still sounds as fresh as the day it was made.

This feels very much a precursor to some of the Radiophonic Workshop and White Noise music.

The old Delia Derbyshire set-up, if you’ve got loads and loads of money, loads of time and a lot of patch cords, you can actually make those sounds the same way that she did, but more or less nobody ever does. I confess that when you first put the record on the very first few trills, my first reaction was wondering whether it was something from the Coil Worship The Glitch period (c.1995), because some of those sounds are a bit similar.

We thought that Stockhausen’s approach of using voices and electronics on this piece had parallels to Coil’s use of instrumental sounds and voices, where it’s not always easy to identify the sound source.

That’s been a key point of lots of the stuff that I’ve done. Even now with the new incarnation of TG shows, four or five times in every show we get to a point where the four of us actually don’t know who made some particularly good sound that just came out. Even though we are all using completely different technology, Genesis plays her bass in more or less the same way she did when she was a he. And Cosey has some new effects and also plays laptop as well, but it’s sometimes very difficult to tell what the source of the sound is. And to me that’s exciting. For example, that very high scrapey sound we’re just listening to is a voice, but you wouldn’t necessarily know.

I think the technology of voice manipulation is reaching the point that with my other projects, SoiSong and the Threshold HouseBoys Choir, I use a lot of vocal manipulation from scratch. For example, on the new SoiSong album, the vocalist is as much of an important part of the palette of sounds as the instruments, but there is no human vocalist on the record. It’s all from elsewhere.

You say from elsewhere. What do you mean exactly?

Well, we’re having quite a lot of fun right now with a teaser campaign, which purports to show that the vocalist is an alien child that we have abducted (laughs). But between you and me — obviously — the vocals are all made in the computer; I made everything artificially.

The advances in technology up to now – I mean, before you could retune, but now you can make Bill into Ben into Barbara and their bastard offspring as well. Which is great fun and fantastic because I think the human voice is such an emotive instrument. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of listening to Bulgarian singers or Irish folk singers or Goran Bregovic pieces, where you hear a voice and immediately chills run up your spine just because there is something about the frequency, the range, the emotion that’s built into that one would never really get from any amount of bleeps and boosters. I’m pleased you played this to me; I probably will download it again.

Das ganze Interview gibt es hier:
Um einen Einstieg zu bekommen, empfehle ich die ersten vier Bände von "Karlheinz Stockhausen - Texte zur Musik", die man über beziehen kann, die wohl aber jede gut sortierte Bücherei (Uni Bibliothek Bonn) kostengünstig ausleiht. Bei Tonträgern helfe ich gerne unkonventionell aus. Ob eine inhaltliche Verbindung zur Industrial Music, hier insbesondere die Kapelle COIL besteht, und ob diese sich kompositorisch, musikalisch oder nur technisch auf Stockhausen vermag ich nicht zu sagen, aber vielleich ist dadurch das Interesse an Neuer Musik geweckt worden. Dümmer wird man nimmer.
Markus Berzborn
Bis zu Stockhausens Tod sind insgesamt 10 Bände erschienen.
Es ist noch Material (d.h. Texte von Stockhausen) für weitere Bände da, aber das müsste halt mal jemand in die Hand nehmen, die ganzen Unterlagen zu ordnen, zu redigieren und zu Büchern zusammenzufassen.
Ich denke aber, dass der Stockhausen-Verlag das sicher irgendwann mal machen wird.
Die Bände gingen ja immer in Sieben-Jahres-Zyklen: 1 und 2 bis 1963, 3 1963-1970, 4 1970-1977, 5 und 6 1977-1984, 7 bis 10 1984 bis 1991. Da Stockhausen noch weitere 16 Jahre gelebt hat und in diesen letzten Jahren keinesfalls inaktiver als vorher war, eher im Gegenteil, kann man sich ja in etwa ausrechnen, wieviele Bücher da noch kommen könnten.

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