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22 Apr 2017

Rolf Trostel "Inselmusik"1981 Germany Electronic Experimental Berlin School






Rolf Trostel  "Inselmusik" 1981 Germany Electronic Experimental Berlin School

Limited to 1000 copies.
full
Rolf Trostel is a protagonist of the so-called Berliner Schule / Berlin School (Tangerine 
Dream, Klaus Schulze). On his first album “Inselmusik” (1981) he explores the sonic 
possibilities of the recently introduced PPG wavetable synthesizer. The music is based on 
live performances from the late 1970s by Trostel and Krautrock guitarist Günter Schickert. 
Bureau B reissue Rolf Trostel’s Inselmusik (1981). Rolf Trostel is a protagonist of the so-called Berliner Schule, or Berlin School (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze). On his first album Inselmusik, he explores the sonic possibilities of the recently introduced PPG wavetable synthesizer. The music is based on live performances from the late 1970s by Trostel and Krautrock guitarist Günter Schickert. Formally speaking, Inselmusik is a demonstration of the PPG Wave Computer 360, a synthesizer. Rolf Trostel had worked briefly as a distributor for the manufacturer, affording him ample opportunity to play the instrument for presentation purposes. In terms of content, Inselmusik is minimalist, meditative and contemplative music, enriched with remarkable choral sounds, flutes and effects. Overlapping sequencer lines and dominant expanses with feel-good harmonies are carried along on calm, soothing beats. Trostel described his music at the time as “Klangfarbenkompositionen” - tonal, textural compositions. Wavetable synthesis is commonplace now - in considerably advanced form - and integrated in many soundcards or digital synthesizers. The version which featured in the PPG Wave Computer 360 was purist, to say the least. The clanging tones it created could be harsh or brittle at times. This highly distinctive sound, particularly in combination with the charming Roland CR-78 CompuRhythm drum machine amounted to a real surprise package back then. The latter’s mighty kick has stood the test of time, sounding no less powerful today. Our ears have long since grown used to digital sounds and patterns crafted with wavetable technology. But the filterless, purist methodology deployed here serves to emphasize the work’s unique sonic qualities. Inselmusik thus allows us to grasp just how astonishing these often raucous sounds must have seemed when first unleashed. Trostel’s early releases have legitimately assumed the status of valuable contemporary documents, rarities amongst the few albums which illustrate how the sonic pioneer of wavetable synthesis played such a fundamental role in sonic development; Rolf Trostel recorded Inselmusik exclusively with this very synthesizer, a corresponding sequencer and CR-78 drum computer in his own home studio. The original pressing of 1000 LPs sold out in no time, encouraging Trostel to continue……. 

Formally speaking, “Inselmusik” is a demonstration of the PPG Wave Computer 360 A synthesizer. 
Rolf Trostel had worked briefly as a distributor for the manufacturer, affording him ample opportunity 
to play the instrument for presentation purposes. In terms of content, “Inselmusik” is minimalist, 
meditative and contemplative music, enriched with remarkable choral sounds, flutes and effects. 
Overlapping sequencer lines and dominant expanses with feel-good harmonies are carried along 
on calm, soothing beats. Trostel described his music at the time as “Klangfarbenkompositionen” - 
tonal, textural compositions. 
Wavetable synthesis is commonplace now—in considerably advanced form—and integrated in 
many a soundcard or digital synthesizer. The version which featured in the PPG Wave Computer 
360 was puristic, to say the least. The clanging tones it created could be harsh or brittle at times. 
This highly distinctive sound, particularly in combination with the charming Roland CR-78 
CompuRhythm drum machine amounted to a real surprise package back then. The latter’s mighty 
kick has stood the test of time, sounding no less powerful today,. 
Our ears have long since grown used to digital sounds and patterns crafted with wavetable 
technology. But the filterless, puristical methodology deployed here serves to emphasize the work’s 
unique sonic qualities. “Inselmusik“ thus allows us to grasp just how astonishing these often 
raucous sounds must have seemed when first unleashed. 
Trostel’s early releases have legitimately assumed the status of valuable contemporary documents, 
rarities amongst the few albums which illustrate how the sonic pioneer of wavetable synthesis 
played such a fundamental role in sonic development; Rolf Trostel recorded “Inselmusik“ exclusively 
with this very synthesizer, a corresponding sequencer and CR-78 drum computer in his own 
home studio. The initial pressing of 1000 LPs sold out in no time, encouraging Trostel to continue…… 
Anonymous said… 
I had been waiting for this great album to appear, though I expected it on the krautrock blog. Thanks! Do you have more by Mr Trostel? And what about early Jeff & Jane Hudson - the stuff that is not downloadable from their homepage (I could send you “The Girl From Ipanema”)? Any early Richard Bone? Neutron: The First 15 Minutes? The “Hicks From The Sticks” compilation? The first Hybrid Kids album? The Sleepers’ “Mirror/Theory” (and more)? The unremixed vinyl versions of Trisomie 21’s “Chapter IV” and “Wait & Dance”? Throbbing Gristle’s “Mission Is Terminated” and especially the wonderful “Nice Tracks”? This is all not too rare, but I lost it – and I am sure it would please many folks …… 
“ROLF TROSTEL brought, relatively, fresh wind with his albums, "Inselmusik”, “Two Faces”, as well as “The Prophet”, at the beginning of the 80s, into the electronics scene run, when it was coming into a Punk, new Wave and/or new German wave. With the brand of new digital PPG Wavecomputer 360, he produced sounds, at the time hinted by the near-handed (already) atmospheres of today’s Tech-tone, for the prototype of the Drumcomputers. The first two albums, published in a self direction, as well as the “Prophet” work, for which the Norwegian Uniton Label won the copyright, came restored, about twenty years later, not only in a compilation, but in an accesible format. Berlin label Manikin took care of ROLF TROSTEL’s cultural inheritance and published his three early eighties albums into a double CD, since the Vinyls are hardly a future generation’s remaint. The rough entire of the works ROLF TROSTEL achieved reminds of ASHRA (“Correlations”-like);even with the guitars missing, the rhythms and the aesthetics are a plus (since the Electronic Wave was, back then, arising.“ 

source: a german article, signed Carsten Agthe (translated, plus modifyied in very few places) 

In aditional notes to the article, a bit more music style or reference connection can be made. Rolf TROSTEL also released "The Narrow Gate To Life”, in 1983, this fourth expression being the most obscure of all. To the gentle idea that that TROSTEL’s electronic fixations is equal to ASHRA’s late motivations (or even to some JARRE digital attitude, by other reviewer’s random call), there can be appreciate, perhaps, a late Berlin School contact, one clearly addictive to the electronic render. TROSTEL’s music paraphrases a lot of maelstrom into sequencing, sound foreboding or atmospheric uptempos, bringing a space of artificial music in touch with vivant leads. Sequences seem always made having in mind a combination of high register splashes and much deeper bass rumblings; plus, since the 80s, however early or quick-phasing, put the sequencing in a synch, TROSTEL’s efforts are talented and interesting. Whether it is particularly impressive, very strident or of sonic confidence, the new generation, promoted around these times, gets congratulated by the presence of this artist…………. 
As always in Rolf Trostel’s musical production, “two faces” is a vast collection of “relaxing”, “introspective” electronic pieces, written in a rather accessible genre with subtle prog-ish moments. Musically speaking it features a lot of keyboards epic sequences and building arpeggiations in the genre of Tangerine Dream(“stratosfear”, late Virgin years). The introductive composition is a sweet, charming and accessible electronic essay lead by “fragile” meditative minimal melodies. “It was war in Europe” features melodic pop synth lines, including a distinctive but discreet electronic beat, always composed within a certain “nostalgic” theme. After 3 minutes the composition turns to something very “cheesy” and almost grotesque, with “vulgar” synth melodies and horrible sounds covered by electronic arpeggios. It finishes with a pseudo-romantic synth theme with little piano imitation notes and massive synth chords. A certain “aura” of mystery is floating upon the composition. “Boa” looks like modern Klaus Schulze (“mediterranean pads”), boring and floating with electronic percussions and linear synth sounds. Well made but nothing transcendent concerning innovation and musical sensations. This one can ravish fans of Tangerine Dream at their more mainstream moments…. 
by philippe …….. 

One of the most missed Progressive Electronic artist, which is doing time in another PA sub-genre, not this one, is Jean Michel Jarre. Like it or not he was an impressive turning point in this electronic world. His 1976 “OXYGENE” alone, changed the focus of 1000’s of electronic prog musicians, which found no way to escape the consolidated GODS of this style, in those days.(Well, even those Gods themselves listened!) 

Rolf Trostel, as many others, found shelter in the more accesible, easy to the ear music, Jarre proposed. Artistic but “catchy” (,but not simplistic). Problem being, that by 1980, INSELMUSIK’s year of release, J.M. Jarre had also turned out to be another consolidated, but mainly mainstream, electronic “God”. His musical idiom became a world wide known language, like it or not, that is the way things turned out! 

INSELMUSIK, is attractive but overly sweet. Even a good melodic line can be spoiled if you abuse it. Composition wise, if not entirely original, is as told, more or less enjoyable. The best parts had the fortune of escaping the obstructive, up your throat and outdated drum box “drumming”, which affects, half of this work charms. 

Electronic music, a bit to close to the 1000s of after 1976, JM Jarre’s “mainstream” copy-kats. 

Accordingly, average good!……..by admireArt …………… 

Zu Rolf Trostels debut album “Inselmusik” from the year 1981 can be written practically the same as the one two weeks ago discussed successor “Two Faces”: The background of the genesis lie in the dark of history, the vinyl was completely produced in self-government, and today On Ebay high prices are demanded for it. Musically, however, “island music” seems to have turned out to be a bit more minimalistic than “Two Faces”: the opening “test dance” marches forward with a simple drumcomputer rhythm, resulting in rather sparse synthesizer surfaces or melodies. The overall result is a discreet sound image, which in turn has very little to do with contemporary electronics individualists from the Klaus Schulze / Innovative Communications fundus, but is much more modern and at the same time gloriously melancholic. 

On the other hand, the following “Art Meta” with gyro sequencers (compare Hawkwind - “Virgin Of The World”) and synthesizer fanfares is much more classical. After about three minutes, however, a parallel development to the style of “Dig It” or “Hyperborea” seems to open up here: a rather dribbling rhythm, a metallic sound and a slightly whispering melody. It may be that something like this is introspectively thought, but tensions are removed from it rather than generated. Since the end of the piece has been more successful despite a simple two-tone sequence and partial melody tuned to nirvana. 

“Urteil” (is really written as such) consists essentially of chords and melodies on the synthesizer, which are performed up to half without a strong rhythm accompaniment. This is quite appealing, but sounds somewhat psychedelic, as the sounds seem to pulsate (this could be a hover, but it is also simply because the record leaks). The music sounds a bit more banal as soon as the sequencer starts. For the final “sketch”, Trostel takes the time to do so again: it starts with surfaces that are diffusely superimposed on one another, which is very interesting with the contrast between dissonances and harmonies. After a few minutes, a rhythm drills out of the Roland sequencer, which makes then only times pressure. After just ten minutes, the drum computer disappears, and the music becomes more minimalistic again, before the ending again (to psychedelic fanfares) is marched. 

Bottom line is “island music” thus an interesting album, which stands out above all by its quite individual handling of the rhythm of other electronic albums of the time. Rolf Trostel, if available, seems to prefer straightforward to pounding rhythms, which often makes music much more direct and modern than other contemporary electronic albums. Conversely, something like this can be interpreted as a finger pointing towards the disco, which on the other hand, of course, a little bit of the Zeitgeist had come. Apart from these rhythms, there are at least some Freiform experiments and some somewhat less successful passages, but “island music” is already quite a strong statement….by….. Gunnar Claußen……… 
At the beginning of August, Inselmusik is released as a CD, LP and download in a new edition (together with The Prophet of 1982, Trostel’s third album) at the Hamburg label bureau b. Finally, you no longer have to resort to expensive, inexpensive second-hand goods on eBay to get to know this gem of electronic music. 

As my predecessor has already noted, it is not far with biographical information about Rofl Trostel. In the liner notes on the new edition, he is told that he worked as a sales assistant at Palm Products GmbH, the manufacturer of the PPG Wave Computer 360 A. With this device Island music was almost exclusively imported, supplemented by a sequencer and a drum computer. 

Island music is clearly in the tradition of the Berlin school of electronic music. Trostel’s description of the music as “sound color compositions” fits in wonderfully. In the Berlin style, he combines all sorts of sound arches and surfaces in a variety of different sound colors, which are often reminiscent of wind instruments and whose melodic structure always arouses memories of Tangerine Dream in the time of Peter Baumann. While the first two pieces are bubbly and cheerful, the Urteil [sic] and Skizo are powerful and sublime, especially in the first minutes, where a rhythmic element is completely dispensed with. 

Unlike the Berlin colleagues, however, Rolf Trostel does not use the sequencer pattern typical of this type of electronic music as a rhythmic element. Instead, he uses a drum computer instead. A charming idea, it not only gives the music an independent character, but also strikes a bridge to another school of electronic music in Germany, namely the sounds from the Weserbergland. If Trostel then makes use of the sequencer, as towards the end of Art Meta, the music is hardly distinguishable from the Tangerine Dream and the consortium. Which is not to say that she liked me less; Just the very much after TD or Schulze sounding Urteil is with its powerful sound arcs my favorite on this album. 

With island music, the label once again brought to light a genuine sweetheart of electronic music, which was strongly recommended to every lover of music at the Berlin school. Also the sound is very good (whereby I have no comparison to the old CD output). A new edition of the successor Two Faces is planned for October 2016!…by….Jochen Rindfrey…….. 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Rolf Trostel / composer, synths, electronics, producer 

Tracklist 
A1 Test Tanz 8:18 
A2 Art Meta 11:41 
A3 Urteil 8:33 
B Skizo 19:00 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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