A Synthetic History Of E.M.A.K. 1982 - 88
Soul Jazz/Universal Sound are releasing this stunning new compilation of underground German electronic experimentalists, E.M.A.K. (‘Elektronische Musik Aus Koeln’), Cologne’s synth-core/minimal-wave/ deutsche electronische group who made a stunning set of radical records in the 1980s. (including the killer 'Filmmusik' as featured on Soul Jazz’s recent “Deutsche Electronische Musik”).
Joining the dots between German electronic experimentalists such as Cluster, Conrad Schnitzler, Tangerine Dream, the synth-core/minimal-wave of Germany’s electronic new wave such as D.A.F. (itself influenced by UK groups Cabaret Voltaire, Human League and The Normal) and with hints of the cosmic disco of Giorgio Moroder and Daniel Baldelli, Cologne’s E.M.A.K. remain one of electronic music’s best-kept secrets.
This is a compilation complete with exclusive text and photos from a series of super-rare private press titles released in Germany in the 1980s. Comes in Soul Jazz special box edition CD (with free postcards) and super-loud limited edition heavyweight gatefold double vinyl.
From the sleevenotes:
"E.M.A.K. (Electronische Musik aus Köln) was founded in Cologne in autumn 1981. Situated in the basement of a music store called ‘Hört-Hört’ (‘Listen-Listen’) was a small 8-track studio run by Matthias Becker. It was here at the ‘Originalton West’ studio that Becker and Kurt Mill, along with Michael Filz and Klaus Stühlen, formed E.M.A.K. and here also where Becker launched the Originalton West label with the release of ‘E.M.A.K.1’ in January 1982.
E.M.A.K. originally functioned more as a collective of individuals than a traditional group. Filz and Stühlen worked on tracks individually and Mill and Becker worked on material at the studio. Kurt Mill and Mathias Becker were the producers and chose all the tracks and final mixes.
Matthias Becker:‘ I grew up to the music of Kraftwerk and Amon Düül. I remember that in 1970, when I was 15, there was a ‘Kommune’ living in the house next door and shortly after the release of ‘Kraftwerk’ for more than a week or two each day the sounds of ‘Ruckzuck’ and ‘Stratovarious’ vibrated through the walls of our living room, (very much to the irritation of my parents).
Although E.M.A.K. were not part of any larger electronic scene in their local city, Cologne was nevertheless still the base of Can, and Holger Czukay’s own studio was barely 200 metres from Originalton West. There was also nearby Johannes Fritsch’s ‘Feedback’ Studio. Fritsch was a serious composer of ‘Neue Musik’ who had collaborated with Stockhausen, who - incidentally - lived and worked in Kürten, a small village about 35 kms from Cologne."