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Friday, 19 February 2021

Günter Schickert “Samtvogel”1973 Germany Private Electronic Rock, Krautrock,Minimal,Experimental (Top 100 Kraut Rock Albums by Audion Magazine's)

 

Günter Schickert “Samtvogel”1973 Germany Private Electronic Rock, Krautrock,Minimal,Experimental (Top 100 Kraut Rock Albums by Audion Magazine's)

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Günter Schickert is a German musician born on the 25th of April, 1949. He learned to play trumpet in 1962 but taught himself guitar in 1967 and made that his main instrument. In 1971 he started playing free jazz and in 1973 made his first solo echo-guitar sessions. In 1976 he formed the group GAM with Axel Struk and Michael Leske.

There are records that come from the soul. No matter how primitive the recording techniques the musician has access to may be, the soul gets its way to the heart and mind of the listener. Samtvogel is one of those records. Günter Schickert recorded that amazing piece of human greatness in 1974, using the media he had at the time, putting his brain at work to find the best way of taping everything he had to say.

Thanks to these three months of work, between June and September of 1974, Samtvogel was privately issued that same year. It would later be reissued on the Brain label, with a small change in the artwork - titles added to the front cover, which weren't on the original private pressing. Brain also reissued it on the label's Rock On Brain LP series, this time with a completely different sleeve. The album contained two tracks on side A and just one on side B, and its sound has often been compared to the most exploratory works of Syd Barret. However, it must be pointed out that Schickert did not need any mind spreading substances to allow his sounds to float out of his mind & soul; they just came out in the most natural way. It will also appeal to fans of the echoed atmospheric guitar work of other Krautrock innovators such as Ash Ra Temple, Manuel Götsching or A.R. & The Machines, and some may find on the vocal passages certain resemblances to Damo Suzuki on Can's Tago Mago era.

'When I was recording Samtvogel in 1974 I had only 2 tape recorders. I played one track and while listening I added the second one. And so on. Four times. When I mixed all together I borrowed a 3rd tape recorder. And still added the last track to the master. I had a small mixer with 2 stereo and 1 mono but it was possible to pan tracks. No equalization. It all came out of my still living G2000 Dynacord guitar amplifier, of course valve, with no master, even the voice recorded through it. If I made a mistake in 1 track I had to repeat it from the beginning. And if while mixing I was not fast enough in changing the tape I had to start again. So it took me more than 3 months to get ready." ~ Günter Schickert....~



Though his name barely registers among most of the Krautrock intelligentsia, Gunter Schickert was both prolific in the background and an important artist. Along with the better-known Achim Reichel, Schickert pioneered the echo guitar, where the repeated guitar tones create unique, multi-layered textures that take the instrument quite beyond the ordinary.

SamtvogelSchickert was active through much of the '60s in the Berlin free jazz scene, though it wasn't until 1974 that his first album, Samtvogel, came out, self-released by Schickert in a small batch. The album was unique enough that it was quickly snatched up by the legendary Brain label, and they reissued the record the next year. Samtvogel is quite similar to Manuel Göttsching's solo-guitar album, Inventions for Electric Guitar, where guitar sounds are layered and layered on top of each other to create new hypnotic textures.

In 1973, Schickert founded the trio GAM, with guitarist Axel Struck and percussionist Michael Aleska, and with Schickert on guitar, vocals, and trumpet, this group created a unique sort of freaked-out space rock. GAM recorded some jam sessions in 1976, which were finally released on cassette in 1986 and titled Gam 1976, and an unreleased album called Eiszeit in 1978.

ÜberfälligAt this time Schickert was also creating music for a theater company, and even performing live on-stage in some of the productions. He also served as a roadie for electronic music pioneer Klaus Schulze, and sometimes played live with Schulze as well. Schickert's second solo album, Uberfallig, came out in 1979 on Sky Records, this time with Charles Heuer on drums to augment Schickert's echoed guitar textures.

In the '80s, Schickert's work in theater production continued, and he also took part in a couple of bands, No Zen Orchestra and Ziguri Ego Zoo. A third album under his own name, this one a completely solo effort with him on guitar, tapes, vocals, percussion, and trumpet, 1993's Kinder der Wildnes only came out on cassette, though it showed that Schickert was expanding into a wider range of musical styles. Another collection, Somnabal, was released in 1995 on CD with music from throughout the decade-and-a-half before that. Though his recordings are few and hard to track down, especially the debut Samtvogel, Schickert is an innovative music creator who deserves more notice.... by Rolf Semprebon......~



"Günther Schickert was Klaus Schulze's roadie during the Itallian/Swiss concerts in November 1975 and also assisted in the production of the second Far East Family Band LP. Occasionally he jammed with KlausSchulze just for fun.

In 1973 Schikert founded the trio GAM (named after the first letter in the forenames of the members) with Axel Struck and Michael Aleska. This group never made any records, but a cassette release, GAM 1976 (released 1986), contained demo tapes for a possible album. Schickert recorded his first solo album 'Samtvogel' and released it privately in 1974 (Brain re-released it in 1975). Here he presented his personal ideas, which were surprisingly similar to Manuel Gottsching's Inventions For Electric Guitar - a 'cosmic' electronic music created exclusively by an electric guitar. Schickert and Gottsching didn't know about each other's projects until years later. Later he released 'Uberfallig' (1979), 'Kinder der Wildnis' (1983) and 'Somnambul' (1994...Head Heritage.....~




In 1974, from June to September, Günter Schickert recorded his first solo album. In the same year "Samtvogel" was first self-published, a year later it was reprinted by Brain. Both times a colorful fantasy bird cover designed by Schickert adorned the album. In the early 80s, Brain's LP was re-released in the series "Rock on Brain", with a different cover (the lower of the two cover pictures shown above). All of these versions have now become rare.

At that time, Schickert worked in the environment of Klaus Schulze , whom he occasionally supported as a sound engineer on record productions (e.g. on the albums of the Far East Family Band produced by Schulze ) or at concerts. In addition, Schickert played in the trio GAM , a spacey-electronic jam band, in which he developed his own guitar style.

Guitar sounds also determine "Velvet Bird". With the exception of Schickert's voice, which now and then gives a few mostly spoken interludes, all the tones heard on the album come from - as noted on the back of the LP cover (quote: "The tones and sounds were made with electric guitar, voice and Echo device generated. Other sound generators were not used. ") - from an electric guitar. Schickert layers their sounds in many layers, sends them through repetitive loops, mixes them up, alienates the sound with various studio effects and adds a lot of reverb. The result are very intense masses of sound that are reminiscent of the guitar album by Manuel Göttsching, which was written practically at the same time (see " Inventions for electric guitar "), especially the numbers "Echo Waves"

However, Schickert is a bit more varied, weird and also more aggressive. In the expansive numbers the guitar (s) staple angularly, now and then cosmically floating, but mostly quite hectic, overlaid by further drawn, pulsating, pinging and howling guitar lines. With this, Schickert creates strange, hypnotic-machine and repetitive effects. Achim Reichel had a similar approach at the beginning of the decade (you can listen to Reichel's album " Echo ", for example - if you can find it anywhere), but his music is much more relaxed and meditative.

"Samtvogel" is one of the most interesting records from the Berlin electronics school and should appeal to every fan of edgy electronic sounds. Unfortunately the LP has not yet been released on CD. I can only hope that this will change in the not too distant future.

Addendum: At the beginning of 2013, "Samtvogel" was finally reissued on CD by Important Records after there had already been an LP reissue (Wah Wah Records). The album comes with Schickert's original cover in an elegant folding digipack. There is no bonus material. Nevertheless, all electronics and krautrock freaks should definitely grab it !......By: Achim Breiling...babyblaueprog.....~










Tracklist

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Kriegsmaschinen, Fahrt Zur Hölle 16:58
Wald 21:35




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