I like mysteries and secrets. I love finding an obscure record and then finding out as much as I can about it. The Eleven Pond / Pond / Red Violet trifecta (with their shared members and similar sounds) is a perfect example of a mysterious puzzle unfolding and being solved through research, tips, phone calls, and emails. Finding the frontman of Short Wave Mystery five years ago with only the first names on the back of the record cover was another high achievement in my hobby as a musical gumshoe. I would apply to become a record detective, but I don't think that job exists.
Sometimes, though, I'll discover a record that piuques my curiosity... and which completely frustrates me with its utter lack of information. Here is one such record, forwarded to me by Josh from Dark Entries (whose friend found it in a thrift store). I don't often share records I don't own, but I'm making an exception here.
This is a self-released LP, ostensibly from a German band in 1986. Ahhh, if only it was that easy. Josh's friend is German, and pointed out all the misspellings (most noticeably where it says "side swei" (even I know it's "zwei"!). OK, that's... interesting. So what? Well, there is also no GEMA copyright on the record or sleeve (although since it is DIY with silkscreened sleeves, who knows if one would have been necessary). After a bit of sleuthing myself, I located this record on an archive of US copyrights. So, perhaps this is a US-based band masquerading as a Germans? Moreover, this was found in a bin full of San Francisco new wave records - perhaps this record was released in my very own backyard, under my nose and the collective noses of the entire Bay Area?
Or are we just completely deluded in our suspicions about this release - after all, there are plenty of Americans who can't spell, so why can't there be poor-spelling Krauts? It's questions like these that drive me to find out more, more, MORE! Of course, there are no inserts. There are no personnel credits (not even on the sleeves). So, I'm sharing this record because A) it is an excellent album that's a cross between synthpop, experimental electronics, industrial, and darkwave, and B) perhaps somebody, somewhere can shed some light on this obscure, unknown release.
It's been solved already, by the very person who found this in the thrift store!
He looked further into the US copyright site at http://cocatalog.loc.gov.
He found a tape release from the band, which credits "Hans Schiller".
"I looked for Hans Schiller on Discogs - he's behind all the Kode IV stuff (industrial music).
Now check out the artwork of their first self released cassette: You see the exact same lines and airplanes, and the black & white font. The lines that I thought resembled a swastika are actually the number "4". Duhhhhh. Well, the bad news is that Hans Schiller died in 1994 according to the Discogs website. His partner's name is "Peter Ziegelmeier" (another German name). It looks like he runs "Ceiba Records" on Haight Street, which I am not familar with. I guess he'd be the one to talk to... Definitely Bay Area!!!"
So, I tip my hat to a record detective who is better than I. Great work, and maybe next time I pass Cieba Records on the way up to Amoeba, I'll bug Peter Ziegelmeier!
Kozmonaut: Fleig LP
1986, Vier Productions
A1 The Mann (English Version)
A3 Tidal Meditation
B1 Die Stimme Aus Dem Universum
B2 Arabisch Nacht
B3 Einer Kleiner Walzer
B4 Lieben Ist
Click here to download this LP!
Help us solve this mystery!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
KOZMONAUT: Flieg LP
Labels: darkwave, electronic, experimental, german, goth, industrial, Kode IV, mystery, new wave, san francisco, synthpop
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Thanks for making an exception and posting this on your famous blog! I am the one that forwarded it to Josh. I found it last weekend in a local thrift store.
I am almost 100% certain that these guys aren't Germans. At least not native Germans. It's not just the obvious spelling mistakes, but all the little grammar errors as well. No German would say "Einer Kleiner Walzer". It's "Ein Kleiner Walzer". It's not "Arabisch Nacht". It's "Arabische Nacht".
In addition, I find hard to believe to find a seemingly unknown foreign record here in the Bay Area. Over time, I found dozens of unknown local records that I couldn't Google any info on, but nothing beyond the Californian borders let alone American borders. (Most of the time, there's a good reason why these records are unknown...they're junk.)
Another thing that struck my attention is that oversized German eagle on the front cover to boast the idea that they're German. To me, that's overkill. If they were really German, I think there would have been something else on the sleeve. Also, why no personal credits anywhere? May be their names are not "German" enough. I don't know. It may just be coincidential, but the lines on the back of the sleeve almost look like a swastika.
I hope somebody will come forward with some information and solve this mystery.
It's definitely an excellent LP that can hang with the best and deserves to be put on the map. Some of these songs could use some re-edits to be a little crisper and better sounding.
thanks from patagonia,good work,hard to value
I met Peter Ziegelmaier this afternoon. I have more info on this release that I want to share with everyone. Hans Schiller did the "Flieg" LP all by himself prior to meeting Peter in 1989 (Kode IV).
Again, this LP is not German. The reason why everything is written in German is because it was Hans' take on Kraftwerk's music, which he was a huge fan of and tried to copy (some Kraftwerk samples can be found on "The Mann").
This LP was pressed exactly 1,000 times in 1986. However, it was never commercially sold nor handed out to local DJs. All 1,000 copies were stored in Hans' basement. He did not think this LP was good enough to be released. He held on to it for several years before discarding all the copies. He did not want ANY copies to leak out in order not to be defined by this type of music he didn't think was good enough. Peter repeatedly ask him for a copy, but Hans would not give him one. Long story short, somehow, an unknown amount of copies (most likely very few) survived. One of these copies turned up in a local thrift store in May 2010. I have no idea where it came from or how it got there.
Hans did another cassette only release under his Kozmonaut alias. It came out in 1988. It was pressed in even lesser quantities. Same story, Hans discarded all the tapes as well (Peter has seen them as well). It seems like this tape has not surfaced to this day. It may be lost in time for good...be on the lookout for this cassette - it is called "Hyko". I have no additional info. I don't think anyone has ever heard it besides Hans.
In 1990, Hans and Peter had several releases as Kode IV. Info on the band can be found on wikipedia and Discogs.
Hans Schiller died in 1994 of HIV/AIDS.
What a great blog you have. I'll spend many hours returning to read other entries. Thanks, Styrous
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