ART ABSCONs biography

The bunker

I first met Grandmaster Abscon in a German WW2 bunker in April 2007. It happened at the rehearsal studio I occupied under the roof there. One morning, I woke up on the bunker studio sofa after a dreamless night and had no idea what time it was. Sheltered and cut off from the outside world behind one-metre-thick walls made of reinforced conrete with no windows, you could not help but feel detached and strangely out of time. The acoustics in this building were quite peculiar, too. When you stood at the top of its gigantic spiral staircase, you would look down into a 50-metre-deep abyss, and each sound you made would be drowned in the rich echo that came out of this seemingly bottomless pit.

I had been quite active in the local music scene, but this morning I clearly felt that I no longer wanted to be a part of it and that I desperately needed to break new ground. I also felt that something important was in store for me here inside this empty bunker, something that had been waiting to be released for a long time behind these thick walls. I just had to tickle it out. And I had an idea how: I positioned a loudspeaker at the bottom of the staircase and used it to play a monotonous beat from a drum machine at maximum volume along with a choral work by Hildegard von Bingen. Then I pointed a microphone into the abyss from the top of the staircase to record the beat of the drum machine that was now completely drenched in the bunker acoustics.

The thickly reverberated beat had a very hypnotic and entrancing effect, and I listened to it for a long time in the dark, fascinated, with closed eyes and a vocal microphone in my hand. After a while, I started to repeat a piece of catholic church liturgy, over and over again, like a mantra: “Herr, ich bin nicht würdig, dass du eingehst unter mein Dach” (Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof). I had no idea where this came from, but I kept reciting it until I noticed a presence in the dark. Someone was standing behind me. Someone familiar. I was not scared at all. Minds merged, and I heard how the liturgy was completed: “Thou art not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak one word only, and my soul shall be destroyed”. He did not yet have a face nor a name, but it had been the voice of the Grandmaster.

This recording initiated an unparalleled outburst of creativity. It came to be the first ART ABSCONs song I ever recorded. In the week that followed, I recorded songs like “Freie Felder, “Schwarzes Schiff, “Magik” and “A mon seul désir”. The music was like nothing I had ever done before, and it often felt as if it was not me who was writing it. It was written by a part of me that I baptised Art Abscon.

This first ART ABSCONs song was released ten years later as “Unter mein Dach” along with further unreleased material on a cassette titled “The Lost Tape” (2016) and again as bonus material to “The Separate Republic” (2017). Read on.

The bunker