Hubert Bognermayr & Harald Zuschrader – Erdenklang Computerakustische Klangsinfonie – 1982

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Why not start with a bang?  This is a record that sounds like  Perrey and Kingsley fell in with the wrong crowd and accidentally became members of Ashra. Erdenklang – Computerakustische Klangsinfonie  [Earth Sounds – Computer Acoustic Sound Symphony] is a lush, stunning record of symphonic melodies, brooding ambience, and cut-up sounds composed entirely on the Fairlight CMI. And to top it all off, it was released a full year before the Art of Noise made Fairlight sample collages their signature on the EP Into Battle With the Art of Noise

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Why wasn’t this the album cover?

In addition to having the most German sounding names of all time, Hubert Bognermayr & Harald Zuschrader were both part of the Austrian rock band Eela Craig, whose releases ranged from a spaced-out concept album on Catholic high mass [which must be heard to be believed]  to the kind of standard prog-rock that you would find in your uncle’s basement. Previous to Erdenklang, Bognermayer & Zuschrader also released the unnerving and wonderful album Sternenklang, a collection of classical religious and children’s song covers made using only [you guessed it] a Fairlight CMI.

But back to Erdenklang. Replete with scintillating synth pads, emulated woodwinds, and moments of maniacal sample-based polyrhythms, this is the kind of album you can effortlessly put on repeat for a few hours. Without one trace of cynicism, a track like “Erdentief,” which sounds like it was pulled from the soundtrack of a madcap 16-bit RPG, flows effortlessly into sprawling synthscapes and samples of flowing water.  Starting off mellow and almost classical, the album hits its crescendo on “Eden,” which contains cut-and-paste sampling complex enough to put old Perry & Kingsley to shame.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, Wendy Carlos herself had this to say about the LP:

With the appearance of Erdenklang by Bognermayr and Zuschrader the medium of electronic music has crossed another threshold … To me it has been a long tedious way for this to happen … More than a medium is advanced. We might say that the symphony itself has come of age…

Erdenleicht:

Eden:

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