The Prophet's Call

Zarathustra answered his emails about five times faster and eight times more throughoutly than I had expected. It was always hard for me to believe that a philosopher could be handicapped in his intellectual batterings by deadlines and tight schedules, but then he was also much more and also much less than a real philospher - I always concluded the latter from the fact that he hadn´t exactly gone out of his wits to find himself a decent alias, instead taking that of a long deceased colleague that even didn´t share most of his views. The former could however be concluded much more straightforwardly, as you will easily recognize by browsing through this document, let alone his web space.

Meeting in an old cementery in the center of Munich, we started out with the usual smalltalk. I told him details about my work on JANUS, including my recent activities regarding ambient music and sampling technology. As always, he took most of my stories with some interest, but was a lot more secretive about his own whereabouts. Most of his stories told of tight schedules and work deadlines. "Met any of the old guys - some of these weirdos from the good ol´ days ?" I inquired, hinting, as he must be aware, at some of our adventures from earlier times - when he was still and I wasn´t already a student of Electrical Engineering. "No, nothing, really", he replied, trying to sound indifferent. And, after a meaningful pause: "Except for that guy from outer space."

The Cosmo Connection

"Ah well, of course. You mean this Kung-Fu-style weirdo that invaded Jammerjoch back then" I guessed. Zara (that´s what most of his friends - or should I say: "people who have intellectual contact with him" - call him) shook his head, smiling. "Ah right. It must be that Tesla guy, who finally decided to leave his space fortress to get himself some more decent beers. I remember I left him that crate of Erdinger back then when we travelled with the Kaschemme into that huge alien ship, which somehow wormholed us to God´s Bathroom !" I exclaimed! Another shake of the head. "Hmmm...let me see..." I tried to remember more of our past experiences. "You´re not talking about this strange Brenner and his Back-in-Black-Warships and his drunkard space commander" I guessed, hinting at an adventure we had experienced when travelling with the KU-Net-Crew. Still that arrogant smile. "Right, so if you´re not trying to tell me this fantastic space girl from that telephatic task force with the Level C Assassin Training got back to you after I stole her phase inverter and used it to blow up my ex-girl´s boyfriend´s car -" - his looks told me that he wasn´t - "...okay, I give up. Who was it ?".
"Well, actually a guy I´ve never encountered before." I released my breath, audibly. "Strange fellow. Called himself Cosmo Pollite - Philosopher, and writer. Full of strange ideas, and always in fear that one might confuse him with some other guy of the same name who he said was a total solid rubber. Told me everything about his existentialist theories, and at the same time was without pause ogling my girlfriend. Not the kind of guy you would want to spend your holiday with." I was about to comment something to the effect of "typical philosopher", but fortunately remembered in time whom I was facing.
"He did however bring something with him - a transcript of his latest adventures which he entitled »Der Ring der Haluten« or something. Seems to be some interstellar Tolkien. And an earchip with some music he ran across during his travels, which he was so kind to even copy to compact disc before he left. Ah, and he told me there are no copyright restrictions on the material in this part of the galaxy - we just have to find a publisher, and we´ll be rich."

Stellar Grooves ?

It turned out that this guy´s stories were really a little bit on the edge - in fact if I hadn´t been out there with the guys several times myself, I would not have believed a quarter of his babbling. But I´ll leave the details to the book - which you can feel free to check out, should Zara get it published someday. In the meantime, I went through the disc - close to seventy minutes with some stuff which sound like recordings from the time when Little Eno got his first cassette recorder - perhaps another proof for the existence of temporal cycles in all important aspects of human civilisation. Some of these tracks I didn´t want to tamper with - they were just too far into the future for me. But I´ve finally decided to do some remixes of some of the pieces - and I even came up with some own ideas, as you´ll see (or rather hear ?).

The Project

The Cosmo Sessions is a collection of musical works inspired by Andreas Winterer´s SciFi novel "Cosmo Pollite und der Ring der Haluten"; partially based on Andreas´ nonmotion nonpicture soundtrack to-be-listened-to-while-reading of the same name. The music was created in June ´98 ("Der misteriöse Walkman...", "Der Tanz des Alten Reiches"), September ´98 ("Quantensingularitäten...", "Born to be wild", "Welcome aboard", "Resistance..."), and January ´99 ("Oööyh´sonoth!", mastering and cover). Following the SciFi direction of the project, I´ve decided to finally take a step long overdue: the sound samples contained on these pages are MPEG 1 Layer 3 encoded - allowing for reduced file size combined with improved quality. As with earlier releases, information about recycled material can be found on the Cosmo Sample Listings page.

The Music

Quantensingularitäten im Tunnelraum

This is based on a soprano solo recorded during the same session as "Hayot und der Plattenheinz" on the Sauflieder album. An atonal background progression had been assembled using Sseyo´s Koan Pro, the result has been intertwined "live" with segments of the soprano recording triggered via keyboard using SoundForge. Note that the sampled segments habe been ac- and decelerated using the sample rate adjustment feature of my Terratech EWS 64 XL. Also notable are the Mellotron sounds used in the homophonous section.

Welcome aboard (on the Flying Sausage)

One of the remixes, this remains of a minimalistic nine-plus-minutes ambient number, after a free-jazz guy turns it into hip-hop...most of it is quite straightforward, and the rap lyrics contain lots of references to Cosmo´s astonishing tale. Again, two solos are contained herein (Fender Rhodes and alto sax), and a real schizoid ending, if you aquire my drift? As hip hop has every right to, this little gem contains lots of samples, but with one exception with minimum weirdisation. This is also the first piece I did with Cubase VST and my new sound hardware (Terratec EWS 64 XL) - and I´m damn happy having gotten the Mellotron samples going in time! As this track is so damn commercial, I even created a "radio edit" - concatenating the nearly eight minutes of the original version to slightly more than 3:30 - a plausible candidate for my planned video cooperation with Florian Wolf.

Born to be wild

The Modern Asynchronous Superstring Quartet´s version of the Steppenwolf classic, and the only non-Straschill composition on this project. A short tune Cosmo and Mark reportedly were forced to listen to during a limo ride on Cellulite...the tune reminds me of my earlier Noizetrash releases - pay attention to the asynchronous ceramic violin solo on this one!

Resistance is futile

Another remix number, based on "Natascha, die Porg". A simple, ambient DnB track had been created using Koan X Platinum, this thingy sequenced and mixed "live" with the original song. Effects originate from the EWS 64 XL´s processor, except for mastering dynamic processing. Listen how the ambient textures of the Natascha piece are used as a tuned instrument in the second half of the piece...

Der misteriöse Walkman des Haluten Cash

Definitely the strangest piece in this short but packed listing, it contains lots of everything, except, of course, musical content! Again, an interesting field for the sample hunter - but watch out, this time, SoundForge (plus various PlugIns) took its toll! Rock (?) with the music that Cosmo obtained from a walkman-like device a guy called Cash carried (apparently one of the last surviving "Haluten", indeed). It seems that he was into some really heavy stuff - but on the other hand, that might have to do with this race´s strange vocal apparatus - the metallic noises in the out-chorus (?) of the piece are actually supposed to be some conversations that Cash led with a holographic apparition of some sort.

Der Tanz des alten Reiches

This hints at what these other space guys might have been dancing to (we´re talking about the "Haluten" here). Obviously, they were much into Tim Berne and a bit of Sven Väth, perhaps. This was realised with Steinberg´s "Rebirth" soft synth (?), plus Wolfi´s sturdy alto saxophone, again with minimal edits with SoundForge (this time, the acoustic modeler was let loose on the sax track).

Oööyh´sonoth! (Nationalhymne von Halut)

This piece, originally inspired (and notably based on) ELP´s The Sage from their rendition of Mussorgski´s Pictures at an Exhibition, is what you might well believe to be Halut´s national anthem - based on their faible for Techno and ProgRock as exemplified by other tunes on this compilation. The ingredients in this case are (again) Rebirth (used in a more mature fashion, with a special thanx going to Alex Martin, whose track Subway Life is a great showcase, and thus was an inspiration for me, as to the subtle use of Rebirth´s built-in effects on the drums), which provided a groovy house part (cut together from a club-optimized nine-minute-version to slightly more than five minutes for the recorded song), and contains my first electronic drum solo since Digitale Schachtelteufel, a few sounds kindly provided on a Terratech demo CD, plus my notorious Mellotron Library, vocals by something sounding like the Collegium Delirium Oberviechtach meets the Gay Men´s Choir Müllerstraße, and after a long time finally some trombones in massive unisono! The overflowing mass of musical ideas is split into two "pieces", which "embrace" the other material on this production, not contrary at all to common practice of bands including non-musical features such as satin capes, Persian carpets, laser light shows shooting into the night, revolving drum risers or flying daggers - the first part opening the CD, and sequeing into Der misteriöse Walkman, the Reprise tailing Resistance is futile.


The Artwork

As with the Janus front cover, D.C. Becker was again responsible for the cover artwork - and this time, also for the CD labels. To make this still more appealing, consider this: the first limited series of CDs sold contain artwork hand-painted by Dave himself - making each of these a valuable collector´s item!

The Acknowledgements

The following persons were in various ways involved in the recording, production or conception of The Cosmo Sessions and thus deserve thanks: Wolfi Schlick for borrowing me the alto sax, Greg Lake/ELP, Andreas Winterer and Alex Martin (see above) for inspiration, D.C. Becker for artwork (and for the Cobra CD), ´74´s KC for musical ideas, for the mellotron samples, Flo Wolf for again not realising his intentions, the Collegium Delirium Oberviechtach and the Gay Men´s Choir Müllerstraße for not existing, RF, who introduced the concept of looping and endless repetition to liner notes, and of course any other artist included here in recylced format.