C-Schulz "FRÜHE JAHRE", Notes by Marcus Schmickler

C-Schulz "FRÜHE JAHRE", Notes by Marcus Schmickler

A bit of context for the making of this record: C-Schulz pronounces the title of the record 10. Hose Horn in German, as all the other titles and credits on the record are German, “Hose,” in German, means “trouser.”  “10.” is an index for a 10th part of an imaginary series, which makes the record the first in an open-ended, non-consecutive row.  Obviously, in some scales, the digit “10” is the maximum value. This index is maybe also a programmatic token to the trope of the collection, the archive, stock-footage and library-music for film, that Carsten was, and maybe is, fascinated by. It could be seen as an implicit gesture, these indexes represent a multitude of potentially interchangeable musical styles, combined with weirdly anachronistic genre-descriptions [1]. This flirt with the idea of a retrospective archive may account for an emancipation from an anticipated upcoming of the affirmative techno-culture in Germany. In the aftermath of the recording, C-Schulz and I became even more obsessed with sound libraries, be it sound FX from film-foley, as well as ethnographic recordings of all sorts that we could examine as interesting sources for sound-manipulations, and that we kept track of in a book (and of course we're speaking about pre-internet-times). Today, 10. Hose Horn still holds as a document for a specific moment, with an idiosyncratic narrative, wildly liberating illustrative concrete-sounds and generic music-materials from their respective codes.  Instead this toys with the materials’ acoustic properties and their contingent dramaturgical functions in a wonderfully strange new context.

Humble beginnings: Carsten and I had become friends right after my parents and I moved to Cologne in 1985.  The following years after we met, we spent a couple of summer holidays in Southern-Europe with our schoolmates Frank Dommert and Georg Odijk, who later joined forces as a-Musik, amongst others. Frank Dommert was already seriously involved with experimental-music. Next to having an impressive record-collection, he had collaborated with Christoph Heeman's and Achim Flaam´s band H.N.A.S. for a 7” in '87, when he was 18. Under Frank's guidance, he and I collaborated on a cassette tape for his own imprint Entenpfuhl [2] in 1988, the same year we finished high school.  In 1989, the year that we saw the reunification in Germany, Entenpfuhl released the C-Schulz cassette Jahre Später [3], a personal, yet tongue-in-cheek “coming of age” in sound.  The C-Schulz cassette led to some resonance in the cassette-community and so he and Frank quite instantly made plans for this first C-Schulz LP.  The following year, 1990, Frank released his first, and yet only solo-record Kiefermusik [4].  Ultimately, in 1991, Frank also issued Jim O'Rourke’s debut LP The Ground Below Above Our Heads, the same year that this record, C-Schulz’s 10. Hose Horn came out, and that I was lucky of getting involved with. Out of this project an unusually close cooperative friendship between Carsten and myself emerged, and we spent the next few years working on a daily basis on our joint music projects, first for him solo, later as Pol and Kontakta at what became my “Kaspar-Hauser-Studios.”  In return, Carsten also supervised my first solo-record [5] for the Odd Size label in Paris.

After high school, Carsten had a civilian-service job at a psychiatric-clinic for children for two years. His job was to also make music with these kids, which I guess an invaluable experience. Next to his job, Carsten spent most of his time at his girlfriend Nina’s parent’s house, German experimental-film pioneers W + B Hein. His confidence being a young artist with an idiosyncratic signature, I believe, was strongly encouraged by his experiences in this environment.  And Carsten was about to also encourage me, in my own post-high school wobbliness. Apparently, he must have been very inspired by the knowledgeable, liberating atmosphere in this new artist-family-home. Hence, many of the ideas, that he brought to the album came from experimental-film and fine-arts techniques, as well as ideas from Dada, using objets trouvés, collage, cut-up and mixing them with original recordings of partly unusual instruments and glossolalia vocals.

When Carsten asked me if I would be available to produce the record, I had no idea what to expect.  At that time I was only slowly starting to discover the worlds of experimental and contemporary music.  I was used to punk(!), metal and alternative pop and dance music, a lot which was related to my instrumental practice.  I wasn’t sure what Carsten wanted to do, nor did I grasp the context, but I frequently bugged Frank and Georg for mix-tapes, since I had decided that I need to spend the little money I earned on recording equipment rather than on records.

A few months after Carsten and I had come to terms, he showed up at my tiny room in my parent’s house with an actual plan of what he wanted.  It was going to be my premiere for a production “job,” which definitely meant something to me.  I had started to set up a small 8-track recording studio, an Atari-computer synced to tape-machine, various instruments, sampler, outboard gear and a 24-channel console, and a hifi-video-recorder as a mastering machine [6].  For the recording and mixing, there wasn’t much of going back and forth.  Carsten had pretty much sketched out most of the record for himself.  He basically needed these sketches to be assembled, while leaving enough blank spaces for an anticipated collaboration to happen. He brought some pre-recorded material and he also seemed to sense what I could bring to the process, using my openness and my rather straightforward musicianship.  Carsten has this charismatic confidence, he trusts people's abilities, and there was not much that could possibly go wrong, which made me open up and deliver what I did.

– Marcus Schmickler


[1]  See also 7. Party Disco, 4. Film Ton, 5. Flicker Tunes
[2]  Nach Schweiz, i.e. clumsy German for “Towards Switzerland”
[3]  Jahre Später, German for “Years Later”
[4]  The literal translation is “Jaw-Music,” but there is also an ironic affinity to the idiom “Kiffermusik” which means “stoner-music.”
[5]  Onea Gako, Odd Size 1992. Carsten also did the cover artwork.
[6]  For the production of this reissue, we revised the the original hifi-video masters. The recorder has a S/N headroom of 96 dB which is the same as DAT before DAT was available. Surprisingly, the master-tapes were still in good shape.