Einschornsteinsiedlung – new project and album limited to 50 CDs

Welcome to Einschornsteinsiedlung. This little village within the City of Duisburg was designed in 1927, and the architects were strongly inspired by a certain art school founded by Walter Gropius. The spirit is still here. Tangible. I have been fascinated with it since I moved here in April 2012, and what I have learned is this: Architecture can save lives – and it has surely been saving mine. I have often tried to imagine what the working-class people who moved here in the late 1920s must have thought about this unfamiliar, minimalist, uncompromising architecture. Did they think it was silly, modernist nonsense? Or were they proud to live in a place that seemed to herald a new, brighter era for mankind? When I recently learned that large parts of the village were bombarded in 1942 and that it was then deemed important enough to be built up again exactly as it was, unlike so many other buildings in this city, I felt that I had received an answer to my many questions. Yes, people thought it was important. They needed it to be intact again. Two weeks ago, I wrote, recorded and mixed this album in only two days. It was suddenly there. It is not about Einschornsteinsiedlung, in the strict sense, but it came out of it. I thank the Denkmalbehörde and the Stadtarchiv of Duisburg for their kind support, Juan Almarza Anwandter for providing me with the historical pictures and Dominique Fabien Conscience for helping me with the artwork.

The album is exclusively available on CD through Opus Abscondi and strictly limited to 50 copies. The audio master of the 11-track album has been sent to the pressing plant today. The album will be shipped in early July.

Time Trip Tapes vol. 1 – fully analogue music production on tape

Tellbach on a time trip: analogue pocket synthies, vintage tape echo from the 70s, a 4-track cassette recorder from the 80s and minimal music compositions. These are the main ingredients used to produce the Time Trip Tapes – fully analogue recordings on hand-numbered music cassettes housed in a hand-crafted artwork. Volume 1 is the first episode of a trip that has only just begun.

The sound of each finished cassette is a unique work of art. I record each Time Trip Tape using a JVC tape recorder purchased in 1988. For the actual music production, I used my beloved Fostex X-28 4-track tape recorder that also dates from the 1980s. I opted for an original TDK SA90 cassette for the 4-track recording and the mixing and have used three analogue pocket synthesizers to play the music and a vintage tape echo unit from the 70s to treat the vocals.

The gear is old. It is quirky. It often does unexpected things. Sometimes, the tape echo will have a strange glitch for no apparent reason. Sometimes, after recording for a couple of hours, all tape heads clearly need cleaning and demagnetising. So sometimes, the music will sound fresher than at other times. Sometimes, the speed will fluctuate. Sometimes, the motor of the 4-tracker runs hot and the music will slightly start to wobble – a very pleasant phasing effect that would not be possible using digital means.

All those seeming imperfections are wanted and welcome. I wanted the music to sound exactly the way it does. The fully analogue tape sound, including its quirkiness, constitutes an essential part of the work of art itself. It is a time trip after all. This is the way music used to sound back in the days. And it was good. I wrote the songs on this release explicitly for this purpose, and I enjoyed every minute of this trip. I think you will enjoy it your way. Each copy is absolutely unique. Every tiny imperfection is a feature of its character and a clear statement against the soullessness of modern digital music production. I wish you all an enjoyable time trip.

Tracklist: Hier und jetzt / Gleichgewicht / Der komische Freund / Der Zug hat heut Verspätung / Geheimnisvoller Garten / Die freundlichen Vampire / Verboten und gefährlich / Nach dem Happy End

Who am I?

I have no idea who I am. At this very moment, I am writing and listening to music by a local singer I like, Tom Liwa. I have memories of a past and a future, but I am mainly in the present. Right now, for example, I am in the present. And presently I am writing. I have various names. One of them is Tellbach, another is Art Abscon, and yet another is Mika Chrome. Tellbach can only be seen from behind, Art Abscon wears a mask, and Mika Chrome is the guitarist of Norma Loy, one of the most influential French coldwave bands from the 80s. Mika Chrome wears no mask and does not turn his back on the audience, but there are not many pictures or videos of him on the internet. My first name is Michael. Michael is a technical translator when he works at the office. I like translating. You learn a lot from the texts you translate. I live in a Bauhaus building in a place called Einschornsteinsiedlung in an industrial city called Duisburg. The front cover of Tellbach’s debut album actually shows the house I live in. I like the colour green. And beer. My birthday is the 3rd of April, which makes me an Aries. My ascendant is Virgo. Aries gives me all those funny ideas and the energy to pursue them vigorously despite all obstacles while Virgo makes sure that I bring those ideas to perfection, which is necessary because Aries can be a bit sloppy and too easily satisfied at times. On my last birthday, I released the very first album on my own label, Opus Abscondi. It is the debut of my most recent project, Tellbach, and it is only available on CD for the time being. I will probably also make it available for downloading and streaming at a later date because that is what people seem to do nowadays. However, I will wait with that. To me it is a lot more satisfying to own an album you can touch, and I think other people should feel the same. I guess I can be a bit headstrong at times. Aries again. I am also a little proud of my first self-made physical release. Anyone can upload music files on the internet. I will release another CD soon on Opus Abscondi, in May. The artist is called Misty Bywater. Her album “Lullaby Waterfall” was my first attempt at being a music producer. I am very proud of this one. You will see why. I have played in other bands, too, but that was before the age of the internet, and today most of my old music only exists on music cassettes I keep somewhere in a drawer or in my memory. Maybe I will release some of it in the future to make it available to the public again. Oh, I am also writing a book. Its title is “The Book of Abscon”. It is about me and the Grandmaster, of course. I am not a great writer, but I have a lot of funny stories to tell. I also have some other plans for this year. Concerts, for example. Art Abscon will play a few more or less private unplugged solo gigs this summer and looks forward to it, and Tellbach will start playing his first concerts in autumn. He is currently preparing a live set using three pocket synthesizers while Mika will probably be on stage with Norma Loy again. I am also recording more music. The “Time Trip Tapes”, for example, a series of minimal electronic music albums recorded and released on music cassette. There will also be a second Tellbach album that I will record on an 8-track reel-to-reel tape recorder. Art Abscon is planning a full length album featuring psychedelic chamber music arrangements of German folk songs. I guess I am what I do and create. This is why I do and create as much as I can. I might cease to exist if I stopped doing and creating things. This is why I am rather one or two persons too many than none.

So, this is me, in short, for now, and at the moment.