Fellow humans, Bureau B invite you on an expedition to Silberland, a singular span of spacetime created by Germany’s sonic futurists of the seventies and eighties. Embracing the early electronics and tape experiments of the sixties’ avant-garde, these artists aimed to boldly go, eschewing small steps for giant leaps into a nebulous and novel sound.
Their music depicted the dynamism, energy and movement of the era - celebrating modern technology as both the medium and the message. Brimming with fractal sequences and shimmering textures, gaze fixed firmly beyond the limits of possible,there were aesthetic echoes of the visual arts of the early twentieth century. But where the Italian futurists’ rejection of the past paved the way for fascism, the kosmische generation emerged from the revolutionary student movement of ’67 and ’68, opposing any lingering political ties to Nazism and occupying the cultural vacuum which endured long after the post-war era. Encompassing both better known and more obscure artists, this collection is a trip into the psychedelic and cerebral strain of this amorphous genre, pairing the pulsating and propulsive with moments of cosmic calm.
Opener “Strahlsund” by Die Partei serves as the national anthem for this no-place, its utopian melodies and stately rhythmevoking an optimism which is swiftly skewed by the chrome tones and snapping percussion of Ralf Trostel’s “Two Face”. The delirious drive of Michael Bundt’s “Full Steam Ahead” embraces the uncanny as jarring bursts of laughter drown out a serpentine topline before the fever breaks into the cold sweat of Moebius’ “Etwas”, a sweet synth sonata decorated with detuned keys. “Scharfer Schnitt (No1)” is the first suggestion of Silberland’s full scope, the Populäre Mechanik
A-side fusing postpunk and dubby funk and perfectly paving the way for the ritualistic stomp of Roedelius’ trance-dancing “Regenmacher”. Splitting the difference between Berlin and Düsseldorf schools, Tyndall give us the typically glittering "Großstadtgefühl”, which smoothly segues into the synth scree of Conrad Schnitzler’s beatless and balletic “Bis Die Blaue Blume Blüht”. The zero gravity drift continues with a contribution from Cologne’s Phantom Band, who achieve an effortless groove without the faintest hint of a bassline, while Bernd Kistenmacher takes us to the midpoint with the deep space repetition and Teutonic tessellations of “Quitting Time”. The return journey begins with the beauty and sadness of Heiko Maile’s “Nachtspaziergang” then sidesteps into a punkish pair from Moebius & Plank and Faust, the former fusing tape snippets, desk fx and grunting electronics into a narcotic stagger, while the latter employ breakbeat and distortion on a churning outtake from their Wümme period. If this bristling brace toyed with the terrestrial, Riechmann takes an aerial view of
Earth via “Weltweit” and Asmus Tietchens strays way too close to the sun with a playful take on Venusian exotica. Things take a turn for the psychedelic via the Arabesque piano of Cluster’s transformative “Avanti” and Günter Schickert’s strung out and smouldering “Wanderer”, before the roving sequences of You’s “Live Line” fire up the hyperdrive for a foray into warp speed. Cutting the thrusters almost entirely, the synthesist himself Harald Grosskopf takes the controls for re-entry, gliding through the upper atmosphere on the heartfelt waveforms of “Emphasis”, cushioning the craft into Eno, Moebius and Roedelius’ hypnagogic “Base & Apex”.