“Electromagnetic Grandmasterland (relax or sleep and dream well in Abscon)” – a Winter Solstice gift from AAs

This Winter Solstice, on 21 December 2020, Art Abscon will share a free download album, “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland (relax or sleep and dream well in Abscon)”, via bandcamp. Alternatively, the album will also be available through Opus Abscondi on music cassette.

About the album

The subtitle of the album, “relax or sleep and dream well in Abscon”, precisely communicates the album’s intended purpose. I have produced it in all its aspects so that you can listen to it at daytime for the mere purpose of relaxation and well-being without paying much attention to the music, or in the evening, when going to bed to fall asleep to it, so that it will give you deep sleep and interesting dreams. In fact, this album can even lead to lucid dreaming experiences and has been specially conceived for this purpose. You will find precise instructions further below.

We are currently experiencing times in which our regular daytime experiences have almost come to a complete standstill. Life as we knew it is on hold. Let’s not forget, however, that we spend almost a third of every cycle of twenty-four hours in a realm that is still as exciting as ever: the Realm of Sleep and Dreams. There is so much to discover and learn in that realm. The purpose of “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” is to take you on a dream journey deep into your mind.

The cause and the inspiration

There is one particular album I have been listening to over and over again since my teenage days without getting tired of it: “Music for Airports” by Brian Eno. Over the past months, I have been trying to answer the question why this album is so important to me, why I have been listening to it so often in the background while I was busy with other things and so many times while going to bed to fall asleep to it. There are not many albums that have given me that much in life. For quite a while now, I have felt the urge to produce an album that would have similar virtues, so that I could send it out as a gift into the world. Out of gratitude. Out of gratitude to music itself, but also out of gratitude to the small handful of people who have been listening to my music over the years, who have never failed to support me and who have always given me a reason to make and explore new music. Thank you.

I have incorporated many things in “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” that I have discovered in “Music for Airports”, but also many other things that I have discovered for myself – especially in the Realm of Sleep and Dreams.

Here is a list of a few things that were important while producing this album:

Tape

I have used tape in many different ways for the production of “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland”. Each track of the album has been recorded electromagnetically and not digitally. Tape, unlike digital recordings, offers many highly musical sound characteristics that have a very positive effect on our brain and mind. I have taken advantage of this property to create sounds that are wholesome to our brains and our organism and create deep sensations. My friend Nathaniel Ritter has done the analogue audio mastering for this album to further enhance these qualities.

Moreover, tape loops offer the possibility to let hypnotic repetitions of certain musical elements circle around themselves in an unpredictable way. The constant repetitions, on the one hand, have a relaxing effect while, on the other hand, they open up certain areas of the mind. By manipulating the tape speed and creating various other fluctuations, however, two repetitions will never be the same while new, unpredictable musical events will constantly occur, so that the repetitions will never become tedious. This is actually the big secret of Eno’s “Music for Airports”. And it is precisely this continuous, progressive cyclical self-rearrangement of musical motives – mimicking the complex movement of the planets – that feels like a massage to our brains to solve many things while setting other things in motion.

Tape noise and other interference

Tape hisses and hums – and some of the equipment I use is old or simply “broken”. While producing “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland”, I did not consider the hissing or humming of some of my analogue devices as noise, but treated these noises as musical elements. I myself have been suffering from a hissing tinnitus for several years now, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to enjoy music. I have found out that tape noise is nothing irritating to me, but rather something very pleasant that relaxes the area in my brain that produces the tinnitus by laying itself over the tinnitus and thereby neutralising it.

If you listen carefully, you will notice that I have used and processed tape noise as a musical element on this album. Even the grounding hum of the power supply of a certain broken device has served me as a meditative keynote from which a whole piece of music has emerged. Some devices even “broke down”, suddenly or temporarily, during my work. For example, my tape deck suddenly started to wobble. I did not interpret this as an accident or bad luck, but as a wish of the device to communicate something specific as a contribution to the album. So I made a feature out of it. I think there is a wisdom inherent in these devices that has been important for this album and for the dreams and reveries of its future listeners. During the entire production process, I was listening very closely to what my dear devices had to say.

Words

Unlike my favorite Eno album, I wanted my album to have words. However, I did not want these words to communicate a particular message. Rather, I wanted these words to evoke a meaninglessness that, like a universal mantra, prompts the mind to create free images that can weave interesting dreams and reveries. I have used haikus for this purpose.

The Japanese haiku is considered to be the shortest form of poetry in the world. I have recorded each of my haikus once and then played this recording back over and over again on an audio cassette whose speed I could manipulate by hand to create a strange wobble. This wobble makes it sometimes difficult to understand the texts, even for German ears. That is alright. You do not need to understand this text. You may hear what you want in it. The mantra only serves to send the mind out on a journey. This applies specifically to those who do not understand German.

There is a passage on the album that is specifically meant to induce lucid dreams. It is exactly the point in the course of the album at which the listener will surely have fallen asleep. For this specific point, I have asked as many friends and confidants as possible in different countries to speak the sentences “Áre you dreaming?” and “Yes, you are dreaming” in their respective mother tongue.

Experiments in sleep labs have shown that telling a sleeper that he or she is dreaming during the REM phase helps induce lucid dreams. However, since a sleeping person only enters the first REM phase about one and a half hours after falling asleep, it is advisable to hear “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” as an infinite loop during your sleep, so that the spoken hint that your are dreaming will be perceived during a REM phase of your sleep. Since this little trick only works well if you are addressed in your mother tongue while dreaming, I have used as many speakers with different languages as possible for this purpose.

I would like to thank all the people from all over Europe and even Russia, Israel, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, the Basque country and South and North America for their great contribution, from the depths of my heart.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE

1) Relaxation

“Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” is composed in such a way that it does not require any special attention. This artistic concept goes back to Eric Satie’s “Musique d’ammeublement” and leads, via John Cage, directly to Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports”. “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” can thus be used simply as background music that does not require you to listen closely. Just like Eric Satie’s “Musique d’ammeublement”, this album has no other function than, for example, the wallpaper in the room where it is played. You can listen to the album while reading, studying, driving a car, lying in the bathtub, assembling a cupboard, etc. But, of course, you may also pay attention to the music, and even to the lyrics, if you like. It is, however, not necessary.

2) Sleeping

“Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” is also designed as a brigde into the land of sleep. The first piece on the album is still a bit upbeat and mildly “stressful”. It picks you up where the tensions of the day are ending and is specially designed for you to adjust the volume to a level at which you can easily fall asleep. As the album progresses, nothing really exciting will happen. The album is supposed to merely transport you gently to sleep.

However, since this album is not just the sort of relaxation music one might find in a New Age store, but also an experimental work of art, it might be a bit challenging for less daring sleepers.

If it is only used as a bridge into sleep, it is sufficient to play the album just once. It will still bring interesting dreams to the sleeper and hopefully help you if you are having troubles falling asleep.

3) Lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming is probably the greatest and most exciting success you can achieve in exploring your own mind. Some people – not many – are born with this ability, others need to learn it, and this can take months or even years. Experiments have shown, however, that a very good way of inducing lucid dreams is to tell the dreamer during a REM phase that he or she is dreaming. This is exactly what “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” does at a specific point during the second half of the album.

To ensure that this event also falls into a REM phase of your sleep, it is a good idea to listen to the album to fall asleep to and set it to infinite “repeat” for this purpose. The album version on music cassette has the album on both sides so that it will run continuously if you have a tape deck with auto reverse function. The music that follows the dream hint has been recorded in a special spiral tuning technique that provides a particularly enjoyable listening experience that will provide a beautiful soundtrack to your lucid dream, provided you will have one.

Another trick to develop the capability to become lucid in your dreams is to develop the habit of asking yourself whether you are dreaming even during your waking state if e.g. something surreal or weird happens, so that you will incorporate this habit also into your dreaming habits. If you are listening to “Electromagnetic Grandmasterland” during the day and while awake, make a “state check” when the album asks you whether you are dreaming: ask yourself whether you are dreaming and test it. Try, for example, if you can levitate. If you cannot levitate, you are probably not dreaming, but you will have trained the habit to make state checks. The next time something weird happens, you might make a state check during your dream and you actually WILL be able to levitate.

When I became lucid in a dream for the very first time in my life after having trained for a few months, I became so excited that I immediately woke up. Remember that the best thing to stay in the dream is to look at your hands. Whenever you notice that you are waking up, just look at your hands.

I wish you many good hours, deep sleep and many interesting dreams and discoveries in your own mind with my album. Thank you very much for all your wonderful support and your interest in my music. It has always been made for you.

Grandmaster Abscon needs you!

Would you like to support Art Abscon in bringing his forthcoming album, ‘Nach allen Regeln der Kunst’, to the light of day? If so, you can preorder it already now to support its production and pressing. The release is scheduled for late 2020 / early 2021. If you preorder it now, you will receive your vinyl or your CD as soon as it will be hot from the press as well as a couple of digital gifts during production, such as demos, outtakes, mini albums, etc.

Your support will be very much appreciated since it will help me plan the number of copies to be pressed and finance the production and pressing. Otherwise, this endeavour might be quite risky since this will be Opus Abscondi’s very first vinyl release. A vinyl release is very expensive, and it would be impossible for me to tell how many copies I need to press. This is why your preorder will support me and the Grandmaster a lot!

If I should – for whatever reason – not manage to finish the album, I will, of course, refund you the money you have paid for your preorder. However, I am positive that Grandmaster Abscon will prevent such a disaster and spare me the embarrassment.

In Abscondinium

:ARt/Michael:

‘A Gift of Nothing’ – a free download album by ART ABSCONs

A Gift of Nothing groß

During the recent lockdown, I had recorded a few instrumental pieces – without actually knowing what to do with them. On 7 June, I had the idea to use this material for an ART ABSCONs mini album I could give away as a free gift to you. I only needed to write the lyrics. So I sat down and wrote them down in less than an hour in an automatic writing session. Then, I recorded the vocals in only one take, which also took less than an hour. Then, I mixed all tracks in less than an hour with the result that I had finished the entire album in just four hours. This album is not perfect, but I am fond of it. It was not supposed to be perfect. It was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be a small gift to you. A Gift of Nothing.

I have uploaded it at bandcamp. You do not need to feel guilty if you type in ‘$0.00’ because this album is a gift to you from Grandmaster Abscon. If you feel nonetheless inclinded to donate a bit of money for this mini album, Michael will use this money, too, for the production of my, Art Abscon’s, next proper album, ‘Nach allen Regeln der Kunst’. I hope you will enjoy this little Gift of Nothing!

In a couple of days, it will be available via your favourite streaming service as well!

In Abscondinium

:ARt/Michael:

3 April 2018: Tellbach, the man behind the mask of Abscon, releases his debut album

Dear Whoever,

The man behind the mask of Art Abscon now has his own music project. It is called Tellbach. And Tellbach is me. About a year ago, Tellbach found out why there are analogue synthesizers. I had just released Art Abscon’s “The Separate Republic“, an album that had taken five long years to make, featuring 36 different acoustic instruments. When the album was out, I urgently needed distraction from Art Abscon. And the Grandmaster granted it. I wanted to discover something that was new to me. The infinite possibilities of analogue synthetic sound design quickly put a spell on me, and I combined it with my fascination for vintage studio gear, such as magnetic tape, mechanical spring reverb and tube amplifiers. I strictly avoided anything digital because I was aiming at the audio characteristics of the 1970s and early 1980s, the golden era of electronic music with acts like Mort Garson, Suicide, Kraftwerk, John Foxx and early OMD.

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The music emerged quickly, but finding appropriate lyrics for this new kind of music was difficult in the beginning. Up until now, Art Abscon had been my only source of inspiration. I would only write what was in line with Abscon’s poetics. Without these guidelines, I suddenly felt completely left to my own devices. However, as soon as I had decided to use my family name, Tellbach, for my new electronic music project, I knew that I had found a new source of inspiration: myself. With Art Abscon, it is strictly forbidden to add anything personal to the songs I write. I have always felt that personal aspects do not belong in Art Abscon’s music. The poetry supporting it has to be of a universal quality and not inspired by my own petty personal matters.

Why did I all of a sudden want something different? 2017 marked ART ABSCONs’ tenth anniversary. That was one of the reasons why I started to write a book about my experiences with the Grandmaster, “The Book of Abscon” (I hope I will finish it this year). My work on this book showed me how rich the experiences actually are that I have made in those ten years behind the mask of Abscon. All of a sudden, my personal matters no longer seemed insignificant at all to me, but rather special and noteworthy. How much had I learned from leading this double life behind the mask, the strange situations it brought about, this peculiar perspective of the anonymous observer! How much had I learned from all the remarkable people I had met behind the scenes, in the shadow of this mask! How deep were some of these encounters and how extreme some of those experiences! How much had I learned from loving, and hating, admiring and detesting, from extreme sorrow and extreme joy and from learning to balance it all! How much had I learned from fathoming the depths of honesty and falsehood, loyalty and treason, friendship and enmity, trust and jealousy, magic and madness! And how much had I learned from dreaming and from turning the art of dreaming into a science by analysing the different natures of reality and perception! Art Abscon has taught me so much about myself, the world I live in and what lies beyond. He has shown me so many heavens and so many hells. I thank him for having turned me into a man who can now write about his personal experiences and thoughts without dreading their insignificance. And I thank him for giving me some time to myself, time that I have used to record my own debut album. This is why I decided to include a cover version of my favourite ART ABSCONs song, “Niemandsgebet”.

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My new self-titled album is the very first release on my label, Opus Abscondi. It will come out on 3 April 2018, which happens to be my birthday. I have decided against the contemporary custom of making a new album immediately available for streaming and downloading. For the time being, this new release will only be available on CD. I run a music label because I believe in the importance of traditional music formats like vinyl records, music cassettes and CDs. Unfortunately, a vinyl release is not yet possible for Opus Abscondi. I will try to finance future vinyl releases with this current album, though. This is why streams and downloads will not be made available before I have covered the production costs for this release.

As I am writing this, my mind is already busy with ideas for a new ART ABSCONs album and a series of electronic music releases on cassette, the “Time Trip Tapes”. The next release on Opus Abscondi, however, will be Misty Bywater’s “Lullaby Waterfall”, and I look very much forward to this.

Yours sincerely,

M.

tellbach

The Streams of the Music from Abscondinium

Dear Whoever,

Art Abscon’s almost entire discography is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Groove, Amazon, Deezer, Pandora, MediaNet, Claro Musica, Saavn and Tidal.

I am a hopelessly old-fashioned person, but I have learned that many people enjoy streaming music these days instead of listening to records, CDs and cassettes, so I felt like making Art Abscon’s music more accessible to the people of today.

I still stick to my view that music files have no material value and therefore should be offered for free. Unfortunately, there was no option to offer free downloads in the above-mentioned music stores. So if you wish to obtain any music files without feeling like supporting the one who recorded them, just drop me a message and I will gladly make you any album available for free download.

Old-fashioned music formats are still available at Opus Abscondi.

In Abscondinium

Michael/Art

 

A word from the Grandmaster himself

Dear Whoever,

I have heard rumours that Michael has shared fake news about my death. I have no idea what could have driven this person to spread such nonsense. Did it ever occur to him that it is one of the privileges of the Hidden One to never taste death? At least I can I assure you that I am doing splendidly well out here in Abscondinium and that I will continue to do so till the end of time and beyond.

I can only guess that this person was somehow referring to some of his own weaknesses and that he projected them onto me. I also imagine that he was driven by the illusion of his own free will.

As for the weaknesses, I was told that he was unhappy with the success of my latest album, “The Separate Republic“. My people have heard him whining about bad physical sales, free downloads, consumers who only stream music for free these days and the corresponding total devaluation of music. He said that, considering the way things are nowadays, he would no longer be able to afford to release my future albums. He was also complaining about all the money he had lost due to bad luck with my albums and about all the people who had cheated him in the past. All of this nonsense apparently drove this person to claim that I was dead, probably hoping that he would no longer need to work for me if only enough people would believe that I was dead.

He was wrong. He was very, very wrong. First of all, we never promised him any reward whatsoever for his services. When he agreed to lend us his voice and his musical skills ten years ago, he claimed that he would only do it for the honour of working for the Grandmaster Abscon. We do not see why he would expect anything in return for his past services now, after ten years of humble and modest servitude. He never complained so far. Why should he now? Is it any less honourable now to work for us than it was ten years ago? And is it not incredibly profane and inappropriate to talk about money in connection with the holy duties he owes the Grandmaster? And where would he be likely to find inspiration for the music if it was not through the joys of deprivation and frustration?

As for his alleged free will, we are very sorry to say that it does not exist. We still require his services. He might be an idiot, but he is a useful one. He has a nice voice, and even though he is far from being a virtuoso on his instruments, he plays quite a lot of them with a certain charming ineptness that we appreciate. We must admit that even though he could do a lot better, we find the way he has arranged the Grandmaster’s compositions somewhat endearing. So, no way Michael, we are sorry to say, but you will absolutely have to record Art Abscon’s thirteen future albums. Neither you nor anyone else has a free will.

And as for you, dear Whoever, just forget the nonsense that Michael was babbling about my death. Just forget about this entire person. He does not have a single creative bone in his body. All he ever accomplished was bestowed by me, the Grandmaster Abscon. Michael will gladly record more of my music and pay for the releases. And he will never complain about money again, even if you download and stream my music for free. We will make sure of that.

Because if he did, my music would stay in Abscondinium, forever.

Be thrice blessed in the Name of Beauty.

:ARt:

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Photo by Pantalaimon Fotografie & Bilderkunst

Art Abscon’s entire discography for free!

Dear Whoever,

I have decided to make ART ABSCONs’ entire discography available for free download – including the option to pay whatever you feel my music is worth and thereby increase the chances that there will be more music in the future. In case you belong to the vanishing few who are as old-fashioned as I am and still prefer to listen to your favourite music via physical formats, you can, of course, still obtain all AAs albums in a tangible form through my label Opus Abscondi, and maybe you will enjoy the little gifts and personal notes I usually include in my shipments. Of course I would prefer this, but I also see that the times have changed. Hence, if you only wish to get the digital music files, you are invited to download all AAs albums for free on bandcamp.

goodies

In case you are interested in the reasons behind my decision to offer my music for free, please read on. I warn you, it will be long, but hopefully also a little interesting.

I love music. Some people even say I love music more than people. That is not entirely true. I do in fact love a small handful of people just as much as I love music. But that is irrelevant here. I am talking about music, not about people. I can hardly imagine how sad and empty my life would be if some of my favourite records had never been recorded. However, I can easily imagine to live without a lot of people I know. Music is a strange thing. It does not occupy any space, it only exists in time. Time is a composer’s canvas. What are three minutes? Three random minutes in a lifetime? Hardly anything. But what happens to the same three minutes if they are filled with music? Time expands, it is enriched with so much meaning, it triggers so many thoughts, memories, premonitions, and it can cause such an incredibly dense intellectual and emotional resonance, so much joy, reassurance, comfort. It provides linear time with an additional dimension. And yet it hardly exists. It has no physical substance. It is like a ghost – invisible, intangible, immaterial.

As a teenager, I once had a dream in which a scientist had made it possible to touch music. Somehow he had managed to provide it with a physical body. I still remember the bliss I experienced when I entered the room in which the result of his work was exhibited. At first, I heard the most wonderful music and then… I saw it! I stepped closer, touched it, and then got immersed in its ethereal perfumes… It was inexplicably delightful to experience this beautiful music with all my senses. I also remember the horrible pangs of deprivation I felt when I woke up to a world where music was only audible, the sadness and the loss I felt when I realised that it had been just a dream.

You simply cannot touch music… or can you? As a musician I am at least used to touching the objects that produce music. I own a lot of musical instruments, many different ones. I love the way they look, and I also like to feel it when the sound waves cause them to vibrate. Making music, as opposed to just listening to it, is something you mainly do with your hands. Making music is a highly tactile experience, but also listening to music involves my tactile sense: I have a very good stereo system. I bought it when I was fifteen or sixteen. Its solid volume knob moves very smoothly when you turn it – after more than 25 years of permanent use. Things like that just aren’t produced anymore. I feel grateful each time the knob slides without causing any cracking noise in the speakers. I also like my collection of vinyl records – leafing through albums to find the one I am looking for, enjoying the sight of the super large cover artwork, blowing dust particles from the vinyl surface… and then, when you put it on the turntable, the needle will touch the vinyl to feel its way through the grooves in which the music is mechanically encrypted.

Vinyl records sound better than music that is reproduced digitally. It is a fact. You do not need to be an audiophile nerd to tell the difference when you hear it. Many people (including myself) find it hard to tell the difference in sound quality between an mp3 and a CD, even if it exists (it becomes particularly noticeable when you turn up the volume). But the difference between those two formats and a vinyl record is so dramatic that it will take your breath away if you make a direct comparison. The music on the vinyl will have a certain spatial depth – as if both mp3 and CD were lacking one entire dimension. By comparison, the sound from the vinyl seems as if you can TOUCH it. The more I crank up the volume, the more tangible the music gets.

I make music because I want to provide others with at least a humble approximation of what I witnessed in that dream about music that could be experienced with all senses. This is what drives me.

The inspiration for my music comes from a place that lies beyond the material world. However, I need material objects to bring it into this world: instruments and recording gear. These tools cost money. The music itself comes from a place where no money exists, but making the music available through objects like CDs and vinyl records costs money. Exporting and uploading a music file, however, costs nothing. A digital music file is an immaterial entity containing the pure spirit of the music. It has no material worth; and it provides no profound, tangible experience, except for the entertainment that the music itself provides.

This is why I have decided to give my music away for free. If you decide to pay something for it, maybe as a gesture of respect, I will use this money for the tools I need to bring the music into this world. If you buy a physical copy, you pay for the material that carries the music and which provides you with a material, tangible experience.

Thank you for having read all this.

In Abscondinium

M.

“The Separate Republic” is out and available at Opus Abscondi!

Dear Whoever,

After more than five years of work and endless waiting, my sixth official ART ABSCONs album, “The Separate Republic”, is finally out! It is now available at Opus Abscondi as a regular CD version and a double vinyl version that includes the legendary “The Lost Tape” material. I have just listened to the vinyl and am thoroughly impressed with Nathaniel Ritter’s exquisite audio mastering. This is definitely the best-sounding AAs vinyl ever! Additional thanks go out to Misty Bywater for the thrillingly psychedelic vinyl label and CD art design, for hours and hours of meticulous toil using a magnifying glass. Last but not least, I extend my gratitude to Fronte Nordico for another beautiful release and a limited wooden box set including a t-shirt that is available through frontenordico@gmail.com.

Be thrice blessed in the Name of Beauty

+Art/Michael+