Category Archives: music

Iggy’s Idiot & Berlin: An Excerpt from My Forthcoming Memoir

By Nikolas Schreck

40 years ago today, on March 18, 1977, Iggy Pop’s first solo album The Idiot was released. From the moment I gazed upon its stark monochrome cover in the racks of the long-gone Tower Records on Sunset Strip on the day of its release, that recording cast a spell on me that endures to this day, and profoundly influenced my music. To celebrate the anniversary of Mr. Pop’s powerful solo debut, this slightly abridged sneak preview from my forthcoming memoir, a work in progress:

In March of ’77, in the wake of my still ongoing Low high, the long vanished Iggy Pop returned from the realm of the living dead with his bleak comeback solo album, The Idiot.

Even if they were too heavy on electric guitar for me, some of Pop’s weirder and moodier work with the Stooges had a certain undeniable, well, raw power, that spoke to me. But this new slice of jaunty gloom and doom was a beast of a different color altogether.

Essentially a Bowie album with Iggy on vocals, it was drenched in the same sinister electronic sludge and harsh menacing ambiance I so loved in Low, only grittier and meaner. As cold as most of Low‘s music was, it hinted that some human warmth, however damaged, might survive in the bleak tomorrow that was surely coming. The Idiot‘s dehumanized jaded vocals and broken down robotics had much worse news to impart: the mass produced future the 80s would bring wouldn’t work at all.

In 1977, nobody else was singing, as Iggy did, about ”Talkin’ with Dracula and his crew” let alone having ”Visions of swastikas in my head and plans for everyone.” Lyrical themes guaranteed to sink their fangs as firmly into my adolescent influence artery as Low had in January, and as Kraftwerk’s Tran-Europe Express would a little later in that very same memorable March.

The Idiot’s proud advertisement of its spawning in haunted and walled West Berlin’s Hansa Studios only added to its appeal to me. I recognized the name Hansa from another much-played soundscape recorded in Berlin, the previous year’s Tangerine Dream disc Stratosfear.

The 1920s mythos of sexually depraved anything goes doomed and decadent Berlin cast its powerful spell on me since my childhood. Marlene Dietrich’s many bittersweet songs dedicated to the city of her birth were never far from my turntable, along with the Brecht/Weill modernist operas which provided part of the Weimar Republic’s soundtrack. The city’s particular mood of nightmare angst preserved in the UFA films of the 20s and early 30s had long since shaped my sense of aesthetics. Dr. Mabuse, M, and the Blue Angel were central cultural touchstones. Influences incarnated earlier that semester when I played Cabaret’s sinister nightclub Master of Ceremonies in drama class.

That heady backdrop helped me imagine Iggy crooning his disaffected dirges in an artfully monochrome fantasy West Berlin I created in my mind. A desolate war-scorched ruin as grainy gray and cold as the album cover’s color scheme. The grim city I invented appealed to my morbidity as the polar opposite of the sunny and vacuous ”have a nice day” L.A. I detested. I liked to think I could see an echo of the anguished Expressionist spirit of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari‘s Cesare the somnambulist in Iggy’s stylized pose on the cover.

Through some glitch in my unformed adolescent brain, until The Idiot fell into my hands, I conceived of the Berlin whose cultural legacy so bewitched me as being as lost as Atlantis. An urban void erased from time and space in 1945, no more worthy of visiting than a parking lot where once stood a razed palace. In 1977, Germany’s ghostly former capital wasn’t hip or trendy in the least. It was a nearly forgotten backwater, save when it showed up as the uninviting setting for the previous decade’s already dated Cold War thrillers.

I’d already worn out the grooves of Lou Reed’s album Berlin, which certainly made an impression too. But it was the fact that Pop’s music was actually recorded there that got me thinking about Berlin as a tangible locale where innovative art was still being created by the last of the bohemians. The Idiot, which I’ve always seen as the unfairly unacknowledged missing part of what should really be remembered as Bowie’s Berlin Quartet was probably the first consciously noticed catalyst drawing me to the city I’d end up spending more of my life in than any other.

I say ”conscious”, because deeper psychic deposits would later be stirred suggesting that this music and its associations only reawakened some pre-existing karmic connection between my mindstream and Berlin.

Some years later, I learned that Pop and Bowie had only briefly visited Berlin when they recorded The Idiot in 1976. So my fantasy of a ”real Berlin” which the album triggered in me was itself only based on the shaky ground of their fantasies of a mythic metropolis they barely knew. But that’s okay. I’d discover that Berlin doesn’t really exist anyway.

Much of The Idiot, like Low before it, was actually recorded in the Chateau d’Herouville near Paris. But we’re dealing here with the potent effect of myth to move the adolescent imagination, not anything so prosaic and ambiguous as fact. Worth noting but rarely mentioned: parts of the haunting Low and The Idiot were recorded in a studio famously rumored to be literally haunted.

 

RIP MASTER DRUMMER JAKI LIEBEZEIT, CAN’s MOTORIK BEAT

One of the greatest drummers ever, the percussion engineer who invented the Motorik beat with Can and broke the Anglo-American music monopoly, light years ahead of his time. OM AMI DEWA HRI! NS

Jaki Liebezeit of Can, London March '97 *** HIGHER RATES APPLY *** |

Jaki Liebezeit of Can

“This is the first time you hear some music which does not come from the United States.’ It was more European-based, I think. … It was not a typical American music anymore. I was very much interested in another way to play music and then I started to give up the traditional jazz and rock drumkit. I changed it to something else in a new configuration and also with a different drum technique. – Jaki Liebezeit”

Radio Werewolf’s Zürich Experiment 25 Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago today, Radio Werewolf ceremonially concluded the public performance aspect of its sonic-magic cycle with The Zürich Experiment, held at the historic Kaufleuten concert hall, Zurich, Switzerland at Midnight, December 30, 1991. Pictured below, the poster for the event, and a still from the Zurich Experiment video showing Nikolas, Zeena & RW percussionist Christoph D on stageradiowerewolf-zurich-poster rw-zurich-91

Watch Nikolas Schreck’s 28 May 2016 Berlin Concert Film Now Online

Nikolas Schreck, percussionist Heathen Rae and keyboardist FTDrop perform in Berlin on 28 May 2016

The official concert film of Nikolas Schreck’s 28 May 2016 concert at Berlin’s Epicurean Escapism Festival, photographed and edited by Thorium Heavy Industries is now playing on The Nikolas Schreck Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5dXZsbtBmk

NIKOLAS SCHRECK IN CONCERT: 28 MAY 2016, BERLIN

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Tickets available in advance  http://www.transformed.de/shop.html  or at the door on the night of the concert.

From The Epicurean Website:

NIKOLAS SCHRECK
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Nikolas Schreck is a musician, author, film-maker and religious teacher. His initiatory application of the arts formally began in 1984 when he returned to the West from a life-changing spiritual pilgrimage in Egypt to found the shapeshifting musical ensemble RADIO WEREWOLF, a nine-year sonic magic operation which concluded in 1993. His recent musical activities include the 2015 release of the Kingdom of Heaven album XXIII and a 2014 sonic magic ritual performed at the Tower Transmissions IV Festival in Dresden.

His Berlin performance at the Epicurean Escapism Festival 2016 will feature new solo work and reinterpretations of Radio Werewolf classics. Schreck has previously collaborated musically with Zeena, John Murphy, Death in June, NON and Sir Christopher Lee, whose first solo album he produced.

(photo: Zeena Schreck) 

website website Facebook 

NEW NIKOLAS SCHRECK SONG ON COMPILATION CD

ee 3 lord sutekh

Here’s how the Epicurean record label’s press release announced today’s appearance of Nikolas’ new composition “Lord Sutekh’s Dream” on the Epicurean Escapism III compilation CD: 
“NIKOLAS SCHRECK, the prominent voice of Radio Werewolf appears as a vaudevillian, with a perverse neo-psychedelic composition conveying allusions to the deity Lord Sutekh, merging European neoclassical with ethnic Indian music and poetry with an unmistakable Radio Werewolf accent.”

Hear the song  here http://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/track/lord-sutekhs-dream

The CD including this  piece, which is illustrated by Nikolas with  art he drew exclusively for this release, is in a luxurious 6 panel 21 x 15 cm folder, 24-page catalogue, p on matt image paper with dispersion varnish and packaged in a transparent, sealable bag. Limited edition 350 copies. Includes unlimited streaming of Epicurean Escapism III via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Available now from The Epicurean Websitehttp://epicureanescapism.bandcamp.com/track/lord-sutekhs-dream. See below….

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CD/DVD/cataloguelinie


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Release date:
6th June 2016


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Various/Artists 
“EPICUREAN ESCAPISM III” 
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Epicurean Escapism III Compilation CD + Dave Phillips “Proceed With Inquiry“ DVD + 24-page catalogue

A manifesto of escapist longing, of taking things to a more extreme level, a quest for a complex contextual message: The third and final edition of the Epicurean Escapism compilation series again unites music, film and visual arts contributed by the most interesting acts in the field of experimental industrial music; exploring the viewpoint of escapism, sharing the vision of uncompromising utopian transgression, diving into this subjective counter-world. Enjoy and endure!

The CD starts with British veteran providers of the extreme, SUTCLIFFE JÜGEND, who present a straight forward power noise track with a pulsating electronic hook. Swedish units ALFARMANIA and SKIN AREA dig deep into the depraved consciousness, each of them with of their unique version of morbid industrial resonating with decay, while BUDRUS seduce the listener with beautifully melancholic Lithuanian poetry; German act GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA clank and rattle with their brand of organic industrial. NIKOLAS SCHRECK, the prominent voice of Radio Werewolf appears as a vaudevillian, with a perverse neo-psychedelic composition conveying allusions to the deity Lord Sutekh, merging European neoclassical with ethnic Indian music and poetry with an unmistakable Radio Werewolf accent. A very special treat also comes from LAST DOMINION LOST – one of the last recordings of John Murphy on drums can be heard on their ritual piece “To The Master, A Long Goodnight” dedicated to the master himself.

The contained DVD comprises video works, live performances and collaborations by radical Swiss sound artist DAVE PHILLIPS, sonically active since 1987, part of the notorious SCHIMPFLUCH GRUPPE (with Rudolf Eb.er, Joke Lanz) since 1991, having left his signature in numerous bands, projects and collaborations.

DAVE PHILLIPS uses sound as a means to activate primordial emotions otherwise hidden underneath the debris of civilization. His concept is called “Humanimalism” accordingly, meaning a state of mind that overcomes religious, material und supremacist charges of evolution, acknowledges itself as part of a whole and has grown into an empathic, conscious and connected creature allowing emotion and instinct their equal part in decision-making.

This collection presents his multifaceted work in composition, performance, psycho-acoustics, sonic rituals, voice, video, field recordings, objects and electronics, etc. in a yet unknown complexity and coherence of motion pictures. His performance work is revealed in all its undiluted brutality, the urgency and topicality of his work and his message is clearly evident, captivating and intensely documented.

Along with DAVE PHILLIPS’ video works created between 2014 and 2016, the DVD is a document of unique solo live actions and the notorious Paris 1996 performance of SCHIMPFLUCH-GRUPPE, as well as recent collaborations with G.X. JUPITTER LARSEN, and video artists PAKISE AKIN, JAN VAN HASSELT and REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM, who in turn created their visual interpretations of PHILLIPS’ audio works. It all amounts to a mind-expanding experience, playing with altered perception and throwing back the viewer onto his own vision.

The compilation package is topped off with a 24-page catalogue with a text about the work of DAVE PHILLIPS, as well as a double page each with collages, pictures, drawings and lyrics representing the audio work of every artist featured on the CD. 

Conception and compilation by The Epicurean 2015/16
Package and catalogue design by The Epicurean 2016
“Proceed with Inquiry” DVD by Dave Phillips 2014–2016
“Our Progress is One-sided – The Cosmos of Dave Phillips” essay by Uwe Schneider, African Paper 2016
CD mastering: Peter Andersson 2016
DVD Format: Region free PAL

Label: The Epicurean (D), Silken Tofu (BE)
Release date: 6th of June 2016
Limited edition of 350 copies 
Packaging: luxurious 6 panel 21 x 15 cm folder + 20-page catalogue, printed on matt image paper with dispersion varnish and packaged in a transparent, sealable bag

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EPICUREAN ESCAPISM III CD 
Playtime: 49 minutes 

1. SUTCLIFFE JÜGEND – Amuse-Bouche 6:04 
2. ALFARMANIA – I Blodets Glöd 11:46 
3. LAST DOMINION LOST – To the Master, a Long Goodnight 5:35 
4. NIKOLAS SCHRECK – Lord Sutekh’s Dream 6:44 
5. BUDRUS – Duobe˙ 4:53 
6. GERECHTIGKEITS LIGA – 23/7 3:53 
7. SKIN AREA – Sighs of Warning 10:14 

DAVE PHILLIPS “PROCEED WITH INQUIRY” DVD 
Playtime: ca. 180 minutes 

VIDEO WORKS: video action / scutigera / truth is invented by liars / threnody / rattus / daniel / iv ea pe 

PERFORMANCES: schimpfluch-gruppe paris / abolishing religion / 130731 / hole/holy / screamscape / extreme rituals 

COLLABORATIONS: as long as the victims may be quietly buried (with REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM) / samstags nie (with PAKISE AKIN, JAN VAN HASSELT) /i curse you and all your kind (with REMOTE-CONTROL RECTUM) / ?10 (with G.X. JUPITTER LARSEN) / untitled #3 (with MOJU)

“the most evil man in the world?”

“What was it like to during the Cold War and the Satanic Panic in the US to knowingly wear the stigma of “the most evil man in the world”? asks SANCTUARY webzine’s article about NIKOLAS. Partially a translation from Christopher Bickel’s excellent interview with NS in Dangerous Visions, even if you can’t read Czech or use Google Translate, you can enjoy the photos and music links. http://www.sanctuary.cz/12773-chuze-po-ostri-nikolase-schrecka 

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CONCERT FILM OF NIKOLAS SCHRECK & JOHN MURPHY’S PERFORMANCE OF “IN HER THRALL: EVOKATION DES EWIG-WEIBLICHEN” NOW ONLINE

FULL CONCERT FILM OF NIKOLAS SCHRECK & JOHN MURPHY’S PERFORMANCE OF “IN HER THRALL: EVOKATION DES EWIG-WEIBLICHEN” FROM 27.09.14 NOW ONLINE:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHKft53rJzI

Nikolas Schreck & John Murphy performed this sonic ritual concert at the Tower Transmissions Festival in Dresden, Germany on 27 September 2014. Filmed by Thorium Heavy Industries. Dedicated to worship of the feminine principle via paying tribute to some of the female singers who most influenced Nikolas musically, the songs featured in the concert are: 
“Chorus Mystica” by J.W Goethe
“Tower Transmissions: A Vajra Song” by Nikolas Schreck
“O, A Weird Flower!” by Nikolas Schreck
“Jonny, wenn du Geburtstag hast” by Friedrich Hoellander
“Sixty Forty” by Nico
“Cruel When Complete” by Dome/A.C Marias 
“Final Day” by Young Marble Giants
“Fade Away and Radiate” by Blondie
“Mater Dolores” by Screamers
“Pariah” by Danielle Dax
“Trinity” by Radio Werewolf
“White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane 
Copyright Nikolas Schreck/World Operations, 2015

Screenshot below of Nikolas Schreck & John Murphy in concert from “In Her Thrall: Evokation des Ewig-Weiblichen” photographed by Thorium Heavy Industries.

NS In her thrall screenshot