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20.June.2007 05:33:57pm [Harald]
My Space...

My space... Myspace... myspace ...
Have you visited myspace yet?
What? You haven’t visited myspace yet?

In conversations with my colleagues and the public, this topic has come up surprisingly frequently recently. And to top it all off, I found a Cosmic Baby site in this land of unlimited opportunity: with pictures, music and “friends” … without me having done a thing for it.
Obviously high time to think seriously about this topic.

Point of departure: I have a website. My very own autonomous digital “space of mine”. It works really well without any flashing banners, networked user profiles and empty claims of “I have 7855 friends”.
myspace seems to me to be the exact opposite of a “my space”: the enticing opportunity of presenting yourself, your own “my space”, to an enormous nothingness that countless others have already submitted to and that consequently even more will submit themselves to in fear that they might miss out.

This infinite number of “myspaces” are all in the possession – and control – of the most powerful media mogul currently walking the face of the globe. A guy who has a decisive influence on what political and social issues are currently hot in the media and who is on a mission to maximize this influence by means of his increasing power (including the acquisition and ownership of myspace) Together with a few other gentlemen, this man appears to have the unstated objective of making the whole world his “My Space” – the real world, well noted.

“So what?” ask the members seemingly unruffled, “What do I care about Murdoch, myspace is about me. Myspace is a great tool to generate attention and what's more everyone else can enjoy it too.” People talk knowingly of a win-win situation but their self-importance appears callous. Try as I might, I just can’t agree with them. The situation reminds me more of the armada of minority shareholders of German Telekom who were so ecstatic just after the IPO and were so keen on making a (small) fortune... until in the end all that was left was a heap of losers on the one hand and a small exclusive group of winners on the other.

Why did Mr. M. think myspace was worth paying $ 580 million for in July 2005?
Surely not just out of his love for “independent music”.
You don’t have to try too hard to come up with three obvious reasons:
A) Binding a growing number of users to his own system and expanding his market leadership at the cost of the competition.
B) The more users there are, the higher the prices paid for the advertising banners.
C) Public presentations by users and the social ties to each other provide wonderful sociograms for those able to analyze them in depth and exclusively. They can be combined brilliantly with other datapools:

“The possibilities are simply endless: The combination of financial data from banks, land registries, retail rebate cards, mobile phone bills and credit card statements promises to make citizens truly transparent, simply by virtue of the data they themselves convey.” (Spiegel online, June 9, 2006).
An absolute dream for the business and political elite! In light of this, the idea of a “win-win” situation leaves a stale taste in your mouth.

In my own totally small, personal domain I can say this: there are people who have become (good) acquaintances of mine via “Cosmic Baby”, and some are now good “friends” in the traditional sense. Apart from this, there seem to be loads of people for whom music represents something special without them needing a virtual opinion leader to define or present themselves here using the “paint by numbers” principle. For them music and its cognitive associations seem to be a source of inspiration in their own right.

myspace isn`t My Space isn`t Your Space : it`s murdochspace

26.mar 2006 08:36:10 pm [Harald]
A rainy Sunday in Berlin. I have returned from the Andorra world. Get used again to the daily rhythm of life without theater and without thirty people I spend all day with.

Time to look back. (I promise myself: that was the last time !!!)
I can say this: with "Andorra 2006" I have arrived at a point I had targeted with "Andorra 1997" (and so I have come full circle!) I wanted to create a new aesthetics of composition and sound, well founded, unambiguous and independent. A "Stellar Supreme" under changed circumstances. Contemporary music as a reflection of the development of my own personality and changing social situations.

The leitmotifs remain the same: to express thoughts that are a result of a strict confrontation between "lighter" intuition and the tough wrestling to find a musical form.

Basically I had 20 years to set up the "Stellar"/"Cosmic Baby" plateau (from the age of 5 to 25) - until all it needed was a spark to set off the creative chain reaction. That spark was the euphoria of a certain time, the motor with which I emotionally idealized my desires to the world and charted out my place in it:
in a Joseph Beuyss’ sense, convey WARMTH, Beethoven’s “All men become brothers” - wanting to make dreams tangible and bring them to life - in a suitable musical form ( “Galanter Stil” ), but new.

Later: at first just a vague idea, then certainty, to have things at an elevated level… also the astonishment how much this realization helped as a filter on reality (putting the beautiful stuff on a pedestal, repressing the doubts) to promote creativity.
Dis - illusionment.
Thereafter: the question of which conclusions should have been drawn. The maneuvering, the disappointment, either towards resolving anger / arrogance / bitterness / cynicism or, even better, to come to more constructive conclusions. What remained was a conscious departure from an idealized, heavily filtered means of interpretation, experience, living. I decided to bridge the gap between the art world and real life to put my feet on more solid ground, i.e. to become less prone to bribes and persuasion by being more independent from the legal mind-bending drugs such as stardom, status, money, consumerism, sex.

So: my return to “chamber music”, away from the situations of euphoric mass meetings towards still moments (not chill moments!), towards intimacy, the question of identity (in contrast to posing/staging). Quieter, less puffed up, and more different, more differentiated, more skeptical, more multi-dimensional, thus, more polarizing: no longer “wanting to please” at all costs ...
breaking down the grand gesture into its more complicated components. If possible, without losing the “light in my eyes” (which happened more often than I wanted).

The big wish, to come at some time to that point where the composition of the separate components represent a more complex whole, not too cerebral, but certainly without any simplification/stylization/tailoring (and thus down-grading) of the result.

Over the years I have worked on possibilities of analyzing systems (as they present themselves and not as I would like to have them) in order to uncover their internal laws.

No system functions as it presents itself: each system is in competition with others. Each system creates advantages (“sales arguments”) by manipulation, camouflage, masking, stylizing, design. Lures are thrown out which are frighteningly successful at appealing precisely to the basic instincts of people. But everything has its price (even the specials at the discounter, “Wal-Mart” or the DM 100 welcome money paid to refugees from East Germany back then when there was another German Republic…) - but when the mask finally falls, it’s too late. (it only falls when the person playing the sharade knows he can now risk dropping the mask) ... The thing is to go down the difficult path, look behind the curtain - behind your own curtain and behind the curtain of external systems.

The ONLY hope of living under these conditions: developing clear, independent viewpoints and constant coordinates for your life that make it possible to cope with the contradictions between your dreams and desires and real life. Having a manageable number of people with whom I can live - as best as possible - without a mask, people to whom I can come home to, people who help me find my feet again, people I can be free with because they want the same thing in their own way. Living in a sphere where the fear of laying down the official roles is as small as possible.


Andorra 2006 marks the first landing on a new artistic plateau from which I can build. It combines an analysis of the content, from which I derive a clear statement, with a compositional technique and sound that had developed and condensed over a period of nine years. The “Zauberberg-Trilogie” (“Magic Mountain Trilogy”) will provide the opportunity to go further down this road. There are the “broken-down parts” (and also the theatre compositions “Memory” and “Die Frau vom Meer” which are eminently important for me). The first “Gesamtwerk”, at least I see it like that, came together over the last six weeks in Hamburg, in which all details lie precisely at the desired point without overstretching the separate components.

It was really important for me to make the issue of perception (Max Frisch would say: “one’s own attentiveness”) the main theme of the musical concept.

The music sounds “beautiful” (and it is) “Kammerflügel”, “complete”, “perfect”,
But listen more closely … there are things that aren’t quite right, errors, confusions, it is not really “done properly” … the “glass of water is vibrating” (see the ‘Andorra I’ entry in the journal) … it depends on the sensitivity of the participants, what they (because of his personal conditions and possibilities) WANT TO HEAR or CAN HEAR ... nothing is so "natural" and "organic" and "wonderful" as it appears on a superficial listening … things are being manipulated: i.e. sold as happy, warm-fuzzy music for the globe by using both the harmonic clichés ( which we are all trained to focus on) and the use of digital technology, laboratory artificialness (i.e. surgically profit-oriented) .. it's necessary to throw a glance behind the curtain, behind the mask: behind the squeaky-clean Andorreans (representative of our Western civilization endlessly touted as the best of all possible worlds) … the glance behind the curtain shows us the cracks which have been plastered over with all the research and design and PR this world has to offer to make sure we stay in line.

But these cosmetic repairs finally result in the illusion (the image) being perceived as “natural” / “human” and the original (i.e. the thing that might have once been the distinguishing characteristic of the individual) is graded on an open social acceptability rating ranging from “not representative” to “can't be integrated” and “strange”.


Whatever criticism is written of this stage-setting (which I will not read) which will be staged at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus: I am convinced of the result, I am awed by the performance of all involved in the piece, and I am proud and happy to have been a part of it. It was a totally separate world in miniature that we had with each other there and I hope that I can visit a lot of them over the next few years.

Over the course of the Hamburg production, I had the opportunity and the expectation of pursing a whole row of different approaches to the topic in depth and exhaustively. As integrated theater music, this number of specifications would have been way too much, most parts of the composition could de facto not appear in the theater score. That’s why I am really pleased to now work, after a suitable break, on a recorded version of “Andorra” that is devoted to the music. Thanks to the excellent work of the sound engineers Shorty and Andre, this was the first time I consciously sat down to work with spatial sound, I now intend to work on a finely honed Dolby Surround production. Personal goal: completion in December 2006:

P.S: I will put three samples from the theater score on the audio files section under discography.

09.mar 2006 10:19:10 pm [Harald]
We check off point one between 3 pm and 7 pm. We drew up diagrams for each set that precisely define the stage movements of the whole play.
At 9 in the morning I began totally reworking the “Priest pictures” 2.2 / 8 and 12. In the end I found a sound with which I could give these pictures a really convincing colour, a statement, support. These are really great moments: I have had pictures in my head for weeks, but the real spark was always missing. It was all “not bad” but, in my ears, not quite what I wanted it to be like, without really knowing HOW it should “really be”. This must be one of the most problematic areas in art (and in life too): ... finding the balance between expectations / desires / the fear of failure … having the patience to wait for the right moment but still keep up the tension; to cope with the internal unease, close off a thousand open points and still have the trust that the moment will come when everything will solve itself; but still not losing sight of all the other things which also have to be done. Not to get caught up in the details, but still not settle for halves (invested so much effort in them too) … i.e. not start slacking. To have the peace of mind you need not to repress anything artificially, to be able to live with the expectations, the contradictions and withstand the pressure... That is so easy to write on paper but can rip you apart in person ...

But it was there again in the morning: it’s the resonance of a B flat chord allocated to the Priest setting. I put this sound down on a number of tracks as a sequence of whole notes which can then be allocated to five defined speakers of the sound system on Monday. In this way the sequence can move throughout the auditorium. I am making progress. But I don’t really have a lot of time to enjoy the moment. At least I have time for a great salad in the canteen.

08.mar 2006 10:16:04 am [Harald]
After being able to work on a proper stage, it is a strange feeling to come back to the rehearsal stage in Hamburg-Altona. Everything we are doing, in comparison, has very much a school-hall atmosphere. We force ourselves to get through the work after the euphoria of last week. But: since the weekend, the video artist Pia Greschner has also come on board so that all elements can now mesh with each other. Last week, Tina had already put two of the sequences into pictures for the prologue and the 5th picture. I make use of the last days to put the final polish on all scenes which are already “finished”. That is at least nine of seventeen pictures. We have a closing meeting in the evening, for there are no more rehearsals before the storm which begins next Monday and lasts until the premiere. Thus, I have until Sunday evening to work through the last huge list.

I)write-up the stage direction with the director's assistant for each detail (with the exact timing, cues, moves, and positions) so as to be able to work precisely in sync (so far it has been ok to fade in and out selected pieces from the CD - which was great for the rehearsals so as not to be too restricted during the staging. >From now on, we can no longer afford to be so rough about it. We need absolute precision: the smallest sound must be placed at exactly the right spot in the theater and come at exactly the right time, and no compromises!!!)

II) Discussion with both of the sound engineers to present my concept and think about how we can best realize it. Clarify any possible technical problems that I have to consider when copying over the mix from my system to theirs.

III) Compose music for the pictures which I have kept till the end and which are still unaccompanied ...

IV)Come up with solid solutions from the plethora of material which somehow (unfortunately only “somehow”!) fits the staging (but not in the form it currently is).

V) Prepare the final mix. This in turn means that I have to develop a clear idea of which levels of the theater’s sound system the separate sounds of the pictures should be allocated to: I envisage an exciting, interesting structure which exploits the potential of the theater’s excellent sound system, but which possesses an intrinsic logic that is clear and consistent, that does not treat the possibilities in senselessly brash manner and, most of all, presents a thought-out structure that the sound engineer can do something with.

22.feb 2006 11:11:04 pm [Harald]
My next task: music for the “Senora”, the character who conveys the almost out-of-this-world contrast to the (as the Andorreans constantly stress) peaceful, humane and squeaky-clean Andorrean idyll of narrow-mindedness.
The tempo of Andorra is around 80 beats. This elegant, sophisticated alien could therefore come in at a much higher tempo. I imagine myself standing on the edge of a train track where, in addition to the numerous regional trains, a primadonna in the form of an international high-speed train (c.f. Dürrenmatt's "The Visit of the Old Lady") rushes by... I follow this feeling and, while playing on the piano, think about the associations, which we make over the course of the play about the Senora (and thus also about the Teacher and, most of all, Andri): about the love affair with the Teacher twenty years ago, their common child, which after the obvious break-down of the relationship, was subscribed to legend, an exotic (“Jewish”) foundling, which the progressive Teacher, in his infinite humanity, adopted ... The sketch is finished the same night.

21.feb 2006 10:16:04 am [Harald]
“Summer”, “folk melodies”, “idyllic and naïve” in front of a background of fear... these are the topics this week. The “ Reihen ” (“sequences”) come to me on Tuesday evening. I work out a sequence of 31 chords in A major which I play on the piano and record in the computer as one. Then I take three chords from the material for each of the sequences and make new combinations on different audio tracks. I’m fascinated by the potential of this seemingly strict and minimal selection process. Totally rapt, I play until late into the night and then carry on immediately on Wednesday morning until the afternoon. A total of eight “Reihen” are the result. Together, they sound like a closed cycle of piano miniatures, with their appeal being in that they are played on the piano, but due to the digital processing and assembly have a character that is all their own. In terms of mood, they range from “dreamy - childish” to “idyllic”, “pastoral” to “yearning for the light”, “threats in the air” and “sad certainty”.

17.feb 2006 09:08:25 pm [Harald]
First hour of truth: I present the music to Tina Lanik (stage direction) and Werner Feig (dramaturgy) for critical review and the following comparison with the stage moves.
Their basic criticism: “The music is often too clever. At the beginning it reveals too much how the play develops later. Stick closer to the dramaturgy, help the actors on their way, don’t make it too heavy, give us a naïve piece, don’t be pure Ligeti.”
In the following weekend in Berlin I have time to let the conversation sink in and, more importantly, switch off for a time. Hour for hour, the wounded pride dissipates, more of the stage comes back and I find space for new ideas...

16.feb 2006 07:15:00 am [Harald]
Third step, to realize the image of the vibrating glass of water: I make variations of the six piano pieces I recorded: the original starts off immaculately clean, yet the first variation has almost unnoticeable cracks, jumps, and drop-outs which increase over time to reach a stage of almost unrecognizable deconstruction in the last variation. Musically, the results are fantastic, but I’m afraid they are not suitable for a play: too dominant… but as a musical theme with variations concept, really not bad.

15.feb 2006 10:08:33 am [Harald]
Tuesday, Wednesday
The settings I created on Monday provide the background atmosphere. This provides the background for the short piano pieces I compose on the piano and add to the track. I want these to be the sensual counterpoints to the more abstract - cerebral soundscapes.

13.feb 2006 10:28:44 am [Harald]
Actually spent the entire weekend in the music room.

At first, I confronted the tedious task of recording the tones of the grand one by one on a Neumann microphone and then processing them on the computer system. Now, for example, each tone can be sustained for as long as I want. This makes it possible for me to create sound constellations of the people for each scene. These different constellations result in specific sound pictures composed from the interaction of the tones - I call these the “settings”. The characters hang from their strings and, in their interaction, create a certain kind of sound tapestry.

10.feb 2006 10:08:27 am [Harald]
Over the last few days
...I have listened a lot, watched a lot, asked a lot and reflected a lot. I’ve got a ballet of impressions running in my head out of which my basic musical concept of the “what” and the “how" is emerging.

I :from Max Frisch`s diary, “Marion und die Marionetten”: “… the people Marion saw no longer moved at their own initiative, as they haughtily presumed, but their gestures, their entire behaviour, hung on strings, and all of them moved at random depending on who moved these strings; Marion saw a world of strings. He dreamed of strings…”
Andorra - a social construct, a model of human co-existence, where people are hanging on strings which they themselves cannot control. From these strings, my thoughts move to the strings of a grand piano, from which the personified tones could hang. 12 people represent Andorra, 12 tones the musical scale. The musical scale as a “closed model” to be conveyed. The scale begins with A as in A for Andorra: starting from A for Andri, I allocate the other characters in the play their respective harmonic relations: thus, up a fifth to E for Barblin, a fourth to D for Teacher, etc. until we come to the block of Andorreans standing in disharmony to Andri and his relatives, who, as a group are (logically) in harmony in their “we’re not guilty” stance (B flat: The Journeyman; D flat: The Doctor; E flat: The Carpenter, etc.).

II : When I was in Mexico I felt a number of earthquakes of differing strengths. Once I was sitting at the table in my room when my glass of water started to vibrate slightly. Almost unnoticeable… a soft expression, a minimal vibration… only noticeable due to the absolute stillness in the room I was sitting in, objective in a moment of attention, of sensitivity. “Andorra” poses the question, “when does society start to vibrate like that glass of water?” Where is the (almost imperceptible) starting point when something starts to move? Where do the first cracks start to appear in the clean, apparently intact system?
Social catastrophes always have a history, a course which they run. It starts very softly, only subliminally noticeable, but still registered - by everybody. But the event seems too small, too meaningless for it to be taken seriously: please, no hysteria - everything is ok - the world is not going to end! The daily routine carries on unperturbed for “normal people”, they adjust, their situation doesn't change. And the stronger the vibrations become, the better normal people seem to adapt… there maybe even some advantages, benefits and rewards which pop out for them … if one made a direct A/B comparison between the past and the present at a certain time X, one would surely be astonished. But because of the slow slide of the change, no doubts arise, there are no surprises, one lives in sync with the transition: thus the people repress those moments when they might stop short, or feel any inkling of a bad conscience... collectively repressed and hived off in order to carry on living in peace and be able to sleep. The normal citizens mutually allay each others doubts and fears. They end up saying, it was “impossible to see all of that in advance”, “we were powerless to stop it”, “we had no idea”, that was “not what we wanted” and they mourn the victims, the tragedy … and convinced they themselves have “no guilt”.

III: Seen from the other side, from Andri’s perspective: the story of a person who has dreams and desires for his life, who just wants to live his own, for the love of mercy, not crazily "different" life - just his own, his own, … his own. How these dreams of his own life and thus this person are slowly destroyed, piece by piece, from the time the glass starts shaking until it finally falls off the table and the only free decision left to him is to die.

23.feb 2006 08:08:27 pm [Harald]
When I was a school pupil I was - completely in step with the times - “political and critical”:
I got involved in diverse working groups, went to demonstrations, sit-ins, wrote for the school newspaper, was spokesperson for the middle grades and late spokesperson for the upper grades. My head and my shelves began filling up with books by Sartre, Brecht, Frisch und Böll, publications by Wagenbach and the Merz publishing house. Not many years had passed since “1968”, the left-wing newspaper, “taz”, had just been founded, the “RAF” was still active and, most of all, two rival political systems were still in place.

Most of my friends at the time lived and thought like I did.
A lot has happened in the years in between.

When I sit down with them and discuss political matters I often have feel a bit alienated from myself. While my lips are moving I have the feeling of being doctrinaire, of lacking all humour, almost exhausting the others with my argumentation, as though locked in puberty: at most, the others pride themselves with their “Demo-Parka-CND” phase and smile indulgently about themselves, as though they were now their own parents.

They seem to have really grown up. Everybody agrees, thank God our dreams of a “worker and farmer paradise” never came true.
Comments in publications like “Max” and “Die Zeit” from Stuckrad-Barre to Horx are often referred to to check the right opinion. Nobody wants to be uncool or be a “cultural pessimist” (the favourite put-down of modern democrats) which is absolutely uncool and unsexy, yeah, really unsexy. - so: the more standard the statement, the more sexy the person. This is Berlin mid-2005 !!!

They lean back with a sigh, but nevertheless with the smug thought, “there is no alternative to democracy” (everything else is dictatorship, totalitarianism, or fundamentalism), there is only the empty talk about “the end of history” so as to close with some such sentence as “there will never be a truly “just” system” but at least we are inthe lucky position to be able to live in freedom.”

Along with a tiny minority it is always me who keeps the conversation going, who is not satisfied with the same old tired complaints, “Bush is just horrible” - or “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”, or “we Europeans should finally take a clearer stance” (against what !!!) - some kind of consensus that then represents the peak and conclusion of critical thought. I feel like a zealot - and appear like that to the others too - that I am not happy that its "Fischer, thank God, in the government and not Merkel” or when someone says that he/she has heard of some “news” or “information” or “sensation” in the programs “im Spiegel” or “im Report” or on the news channel “Phoenix”, to serve as an example that we are all so well educated and how dominant “public opinion” appears in this day and age.

I am suspected of being an ideologue when I attempt to question whether we can really be so sure that we have “our own opinion”, which only a few of my friends would even bother to think about.

I become a party-pooper when I argue that many of my educated friends would have immediately seen the same “consolidation of institutional powers” in Nazi Germany when reading the “Völkischer Beobachter” or identified the “grotesque twisting of the truth” in the party-line of the East German “Neues Deutschland” as a massive brainwashing by the system but refuse to recognize the same function of “our” media in “our” existing system. Am I nuts because I could see my friends “conforming” to any particular system at any particular time? Not to mention the armies of unbearable nausea-inducing celebs who are wheeled in to every occasion as simple and willing window dressing for the powers that be, just because of their conformity.

Silence reigns: the picture we portray is of ideal democratic citizens with freedom of information and expression, the motor of which is the market (more recently known as “free trade”).

I create a mood of discomfort and annoyance when I try to prove that our “pluralistic system” is just a few steps more clever than the systems of rule before at forming “public opinion” to suit the ends of just a few at the top of the heap.

Freedom of expression and information in a democracy. What a joke! Take a good look at your newspapers:

Where is the real difference in the opinions of a whole range of publications?

Is there any argument about the content? Is there any discussion about the essential differences in viewpoints, opinions, or approaches? Is there any difference in the actual content of the reporting of a tabloid to that of a more serious paper, from that of a coffee table weekly to that of a more “intellectual journal”? Does “pluralism” apply to both form (layout and diction) as well as to the mediation of essential informative content that then quickly becomes the “public opinion”? Does any newspaper reflect “my opinion” or does it not just suggestively present the prevailing opinion as my own? Who is behind the newspaper?
How do newspapers finance themselves? Are newspapers above market forces, i.e. from making a profit? Is it not more about the “opinions market” than about opinion as such, which is why “criticism of the market is forbidden”? Naturally there is “freedom of expression” - you can find it in “free” editorial teams. Most of all there is the free choice of staff by the management and the free selection of salaried staff to either write what is expected or not to, the latter ending in being set free - which is roundly accepted.
I am a musician. This doesn’t mean that I have no intention of saying anything. Rather, I would claim that the history of society and all its resulting conditions and developments is one of the most important sources of inspiration for my work: for everything that was once thought and done was due to certain conditions and prerequisites. Without reflecting on this, interaction with my environment would make no sense.
Consequently I am more convinced today than ever before that
DAS (GESELLSCHAFTLICHE) SEIN BESTIMMT DAS BEWUSSTSEIN (your(social) being determines your conscious being)

„Andorra“-Journal (excerpts)

25.jun 2005 03:12:50 pm [Harald]
Type X, Type Y: two contrasting approaches to the topic „kreatives Schaffen im Heute“- (being creative today) - Bad Saarow
X and Y would likely agree I unison:
this is a likeable person, open-minded, with many interests, clever.
Somebody who you can have interesting discussions about a lot of different things with, and at a high level, someone you can swap views with and have a relaxed, passionate rhetorical argument. But somebody who can also listen, someone who is interested in hearing and questioning the views of others - although he himself also has a lot to say and can draw on a great depth of experience. Someone who has experienced a lot in his life, is of the same age, from the same social level and who operates more or less in the same (playing) field.

It is exciting to hear his interpretations of the world and the things around us and to think about his conclusions and decisions.

When these two types met, 15 years ago, the basic standpoints were fundamentally different, like they still are today . They can be illustrated by the terms "art/artist" and a definition of “openness”.

Type X feels the most important criterion is to get involved and keep up with the spirit of the times without any prejudice, follow up on new tendencies in his own personality, be inspired from these new trends, incorporate this in his own work and be “up with the times”. He critically questions the term “artist”, considers it problematic in today’s era, suspects there is a degree of arrogance underlying it, a complacent and self-serving “being above things and others”. He recognizes the hidden cowardice and elitist inflexibility among “artists”. He sees art as an obsolete, unmasked myth, sees, more rationally, the conceivable “function” of creative work as a platform. For him, the “offering made” is more important, the contribution to the living process of realization. He views the “promotion” the “seriousness”, the “authenticity” of an “artist” critically. Behind the phrase “I see myself as an artist” often lies an inflated sense of self-esteem, a conceited view of one's status.

Y, by contrast, criticizes the aim “of functioning” underlying the functional perspective. Behind “functioning” and “being open for the latest trends” he perceives acceptance of the law of the market, albeit cleverly packaged and made politically correct. He also sees the voluntary renunciation of "artistic subjectivity” going so far as to end up as the mere function of providing creative goods for the entertainment market.
“An open mind for the latest trends” is therefore less of a critical dialog with the world but rather “observation of the market”, a compass and direction for his own work.
In an act of self-censure, a work of art is created no longer first and foremost from personal matters, i.e. content, but from style, packaging, and form. “Independence” is more of an ornament in this case, a "logo" by which the numerous similar works can be differentiated within one collection so as to improve the chances on the market vis a vis the competition. The artist’s resources of intelligence, sensibility, creativity and energy are then only employed to shoehorn creative activity into the parameters of “what sells” and what is “politically acceptable”. If he sees the process from the romantic perspective of the artist as a tradesman of ideas, he views Type X as a kind of industrial assembly line worker.
“Art” for him is based on observation, reflection and intuition, far removed from any anticipation of “consumer needs” in the market-dominated environment.

Type X, by contrast, thinks this argument is not far removed from the concept of “genius”, i.e. of transcending ideas and individuals, of the categorization in “good and bad”, "up and down", "justified and unjustified". In a democratic society, these categories would be redundant. It is not a big step from “art/ability” and “genius/Übermensch” to “leader/horde”, i.e. to elitist and fascist tendencies.

But it is precisely these politically correct, "anti-fascist" thoughts that Y feels are only superficially clever. Given more thought, it is merely a reformulation of the classic killer argument of the present day: it “regulates” and rejects all criticism of a “democratic” system. Analyzed in depth, it is one more proof of the prevailing totality in “progressive form”, it reveals that society’s citizens think and do the "right thing" as expected of them by the elite without any need for physical coercion or psychological repression. And just as they live under the illusion of being independent actors without noticing how standardized, uniform, and supportive of the system they are, so too is their creative being just as pluralistically regulated by the dictates of the (market) law. “Pluralism” in this sense can only be found within the borders of the “permitted”.

X counters that he feels completely “free” in his artistic activity. Nobody would forbid anyone to do what he wants to do. In the end, it is the audience who decides what they want to see and hear. Thus, to him, Y’s argumentation lacks respect, tends towards arrogance and appears to be just a form of self-pity, an attempt to protect one’s own work from criticism in advance.

Y, in return, questions X's definition of freedom: “Those people who have nothing to object to in the system they are living in will always feel free and independent; these are people who remain “successful” at staying within the confines of the existing structures. But because these structures are based on the laws of the market, they force the individual to accept precisely these limitations.” He asks what people who repeatedly and proudly confirm the freedom they enjoy in their system actually do with their freedom - in cultural affairs for instance. In the end, all that differs is the degree of conformity.

Who could afford to have a woman and child and all the bright accessories available on the market AND have a free opinion - and not just in side issues. For this you need money, enough money to grant you independence from the need to keep the orders or customers coming, or some other favour of society. But whoever has amassed so much money that he or she can afford to have a free opinion is anyway generally in agreement with the status quo.

05.mai 2005 11:00:07 am [Harald]
Scores and Interpretations, four theses
When I was a child I either liked or disliked a piece of music that I had to study, often being relieved if it worked some when and then going on to the next piece that my teacher suggested. I was merely motivated by being able to employ my technical progress in translating my imagination into my piano play instead of being motivated by enjoying the insight into the work of another person.

After I had discovered electronic instruments piano playing disappeared from my life (as a form of practical and intellectual/mental discussion). It was then synthesisers and sequence programmes that gave me the opportunity to develop my very own world of sounds - within a technical precision that was independent of the temporal detour of practising. I was able to translate my imagination directly and without the help of others. I had found the ideal instrumentation for indulging in my musical dream. In those years I experienced an unfathomable output of creativity. Colleagues were often shocked how fast I realised various piece cycles. In retrospect it does not seem so very surprising for I drew from 20 years of fantasy that was able to flow unhindered due to the euphoric conditions of the world-wide techno music outset. I could or would not realise, however, that later the search for new ways of expressing required another long period of development. It was naive to believe that everything would just come as easy as before. I had been too spoilt by this experience in order not to be frustrated by facing another long search. I wanted quick, new success stories. What a misapprehension! At the same time, however, a great personal chance to reconstruct existential things regarding sense and life.

When I choose works by certain composers today, I find true fulfilment in being allowed to get an insight into the world of a highly sensitive and feeling person. I enter a dialogue. A long and varied process of discussion begins. "Practising" demonstrates the absurdity of the process of efficacy and rationalisation with regard to time. For it is not about achieving "results" "quickly" or about finishing something "without great endeavour". The closer you look and hear, the more intensely become the reflexion and discourse with the work, the artist's biography and his time. A piece by Schuhmann, for example, does not only pose a challenge for the pianist but leads automatically to an immersion into his biography, his conditions in life and his social reality. Furthermore, it motivates the occupation of oneself with contemporary literature (Heine, Eichendorff, Keller, Kleist, Jean Paul, Hölderlin ...) and paintings, philosophy as well as politics, to say the least of musical idols, coevals and ancestors ...

"Art is beautiful but demands a lot of work." I have always found it rather strange when a DJ or "artist" prattled about "having quickly made a track" yesterday (himself or the audio control engineer in the background?) and when the Zeitgeist rejoiced in such musical naiveté as being an "achievement" (until the same Zeitgeist throws out the baby with the bath water due to excessive uniformity and randomness and abundance of such works whose substance soon dissolves.) Music increasingly becomes less trying, more arbitrary, more interchangeable both with regard to production and consumption due to such dilettantes within the music, media and consciousness industries who are merely driven by the market and the wish to be popular and successful. The result of all this is a mass of uniformity which bores and constantly cries out for something "new", some new material that is easily and quickly promoted and digested. Then everybody chases after the "next great thing" with a durability of under 3 months. Promotion will do the trick ... Yet subtlety and expression, individual creativity and inventiveness have to do with "capability" that one gains by working hard. That sounds "out-dated" to the sapidity agents but due to a lack of opportunities they have no other choice than to act according to this. For this is the only thing they have learned in the wonderful here and now of fun maximisation in which there is always profit maximisation: "acting" in the capitalist, not in the philosophical sense of the word.

(Translation: Isabel Seidel )

30.Apr 2005 02:14:10 pm [Harald]
rene pollesch: telefavela,volksbühne/berlin
„MEIN GESICHT IST EIN DISPLAY, DAS EINKAUFT“ (my face is a display that is going shopping)

Relationships, as Rene Pollesch shows them, have become literally beyond grasp. There is no longer any recognizable partner, nor any common opposition. The root of this isolation and lack of power lies in the extremely technological organization of work. At work the individual can no longer distinguish whether he is doing something sensible, understandable or is simply being employed. “Employment” implies total adaptation when your job or means of subsistence are in jeopardy.

Such a world only offers the individual proof of identity and meaning via a credit card. Owning one means subjecting yourself to the laws of the market. Is this world a “civilized world”? We do not live in a wonderful “global village” but in an unordered, unregulated slum, inhabited by zombies, who have adapted to the expectations of the market to such an extent that they have even adapted their emotions to market forces and the dramaturgy of the media. What is left from “freedom and western democracy” if capitalism forces the total commercialization of all social relationships, if the dictates of the market are burnt into the very last cells of a person's body, if an individual is expected to be extremely regulated in his behaviour, “feelings” most regulated of all - right up to repression of his own wants, and ending in self-negation. The only people who remain have been robbed of all concrete sensual experience, people who wear computers and displays in chip form under their skin, and who function perfectly in a system in which meaning and contact are both absent.

“Am I beautiful, am I sexy, am I successful, do I have anything to sell - so as to be able to buy?” - God have mercy on you if don’t !!!

04.Apr 2005 09:49:10 am [Harald]
studio is ready
I am sitting on the floor and smoking a cigarette. All the windows are open and fresh spring air is flooding into the room. My studio is wonderfully light and full of sunshine.
I sit there, let my gaze wander around the room. I am totally stoked. Everything is tidied up, cleaned, put away, stands where it should, creates a great atmosphere - this is a great place to work! The 96 m² are broken down into different areas, looks very inviting, in spite of the ton of stuff, there is plenty of space and the room has a structure. Fantastic !!!!
I can’t help thinking that I have finally come to the point I was looking for since about 1996: to be able to enjoy my musical legacy because I have finally found the new orientation that I had been looking for for years (sometimes even if force were required).

I have found the freedom in my inner self to do want I want to do.
No doubts are standing in my way anymore, no mixed feelings trying to bridge the gulf between past and future, expectations and desired destinations. Finally satisfied with the present !!!

Discipline, euphoria, pleasure and a slow, confident approach to my day's work. I have left behind me the fears of “how music should be”. No questions were blocking me, like: “is that really new?”, “is that up to your expectations?”, “is that up to the expectations of everyone else?”, “will that be successful?” etc. etc. This soul-destroying noise in my head has disappeared and doesn’t affect me anymore. I just do what I do and discover and have a lot of fun in the process.

A good reason to celebrate !

29.Mar 2005 04:07:30 pm [Harald]
thoughts on new releases
I had become aware that the potential of the techno world was exhausted; I had rejected the avenue of commercially exploiting my music by playing the quite conceivable role of a “mainstream trancer with high standards”. I don’t have the hard-headedness or perhaps I am just not loose enough to play a public role externally and pursue a totally different role internally aimed at more important targets. I take my music too personally. This is a mistake but not one I can change that quickly.


the desire, the goal: to make music that is able to transport more multilayered structures of the soul than a pop song can. Due to its reduction to the essential, the pop song generally has to remain one-dimensional. Not to mention the requirements of the music industry and the criteria that a piece needs before it is "suitable" for radio! The first step in this direction: the search for new sounds as the tools of my trade. Enthusiasm for synth/MIDI technology took second place to electro-acoustic sounds: the manipulation and alteration of natural sounds makes it possible to arrange new, previously unheard soundscapes. On the one hand, this has aroused my interest in examining noise as a source of sound, and secondly, it has led to a return to classical music instruments.


I would allocate most of my work in these years into two main categories:

a) “production technology”. This makes sense because a piece for prepared piano is obviously totally different from a sequencer controlled composition, both in terms of style and sound.

b) “basic images”. I prefer this categorization in the meantime because it is not based on technology but on content. It is oriented on the musical realization of an inner idea.
Less important or suitable: chronological or stylistic systems.

20.Mar 2005 11:04:25 am [Harald]
the loner in the park
The first real day of spring in Berlin this year.
Clear blue sky and a warming sun. Spring air. Sabina and I go biking through the Rehberge towards Tegel and take a detour through the small gardens to Schillerpark. We take some photos of us standing with the women statues at the Schiller memorial.
Sabina shows me a man who looks like a twenty-year old double of a friend of ours. Eerily similar size and shape, the same facial characteristics and hair cut, same kind of clothes, same way of walking. A Sunday walker. He stops at the edge of the lawn and watches a group of men playing football. For at least ten minutes.


The loner. Out on his own for a walk, he stops at the edge of a park and watches a group of men playing football. There is a degree of yearning in his gaze. And distance. The desire to belong, although he wouldn't join in even if he had the choice. He remembers a whole series of events while he follows the game in double exposures. He stays standing for a long time. At least ten minutes. The group and the loner. We watch the loner as he watches the Group.
I think: there is someone watching a couple who are watching the loner who is watching the football players who keep their eye on the ball.


The double of P. is a soul-mate of mine. Watching him, I see myself. I recognize what he is thinking at the moment, the wish “to belong” but simultaneously knowing that he would never renounce the position of being an outsider.
Only an outsider (whether voluntarily so or fated to be one) can watch and observe. Only someone who observes can describe and tell others. The basic urge to tell others lies in your own biography, the pleasure of looking at the shapes made by the clouds, the creative game played in your thoughts with your own experiences and the yearning to be recognized from outside, by a group, to which one does not really belong.


From “HEAT”:
X:“Are you lonely ?”
Y:“Not lonely, I`m alone.”


Childhood memory: I am standing at the window, watching the street, the cars and my friends playing outside. They see me, wave, call out, “Come outside!” I shake my head with mixed feelings and leave the window to sit at the piano because I can share my thoughts better with the piano than with my friends.
Often I punish myself for an internal misdemeanour towards my parents, without actually being aware of what I am doing. A bad conscience towards the expectations of my parents. House arrest that I impose on myself in place of my parents. They would have never have been able to reprimand me (I was the perfect kid!) because I kept the misdemeanour locked inside. The misdemeanour was simply this: being that what I a truly am, that would I would like to do, free of all expectations.
Later: after some time spent in company I need to be alone. If I don’t have any chance to withdraw I get nervous, uneasy, fidgety in my head.
Of 20 parties to which I am invited, I go to one at most. Even if I feel good I always need to have the feeling that I can leave again without having to say goodbye. I prefer meetings with three people at most. Best of all I arrange to meet just one other person because I can then concentrate on this one person and not feel over-demanded.


New thought: is there possibly a connection between my lasting phobia of making a new release and my waving friends when I was a child? An image taken straight from the pages of a psychotherapy manual. The association makes sense: back then I often left the window to avoid playing, in the years 1997 to 2003 the principle was the same, I released practically nothing, so I did not play. I managed to keep the insight of this drama of being a “perfect child” hidden from myself until well into the year 2002.
What did I want to punish myself for?

23.Feb 2005 09:00:32 am [Harald]
Politics and puberty
When I was a school pupil I was - completely in step with the times - “political and critical”:
I got involved in diverse working groups, went to demonstrations, sit-ins, wrote for the school newspaper, was spokesperson for the middle grades and late spokesperson for the upper grades. My head and my shelves began filling up with books by Sartre, Brecht, Frisch und Böll, publications by Wagenbach and the Merz publishing house. Not many years had passed since “1968”, the left-wing newspaper, “taz”, had just been founded, the “RAF” was still active and, most of all, two rival political systems were still in place.

Most of my friends at the time lived and thought like I did, most of my friends today still do.

A lot has happened in the years in between.

When I sit down with them and discuss political matters I often have feel a bit alienated from myself. While my lips are moving I have the feeling of being doctrinaire, of lacking all humour, almost exhausting the others with my argumentation, as though locked in puberty: at most, the others pride themselves with their “Demo-Parka-CND” phase and smile indulgently about themselves, as though they were now their own parents.

They seem to have really grown up. Everybody agrees, thank God our dreams of a “worker and farmer paradise” never came true.
Comments in publications like “Max” and “Die Zeit” from Stuckrad-Barre to Horx are often referred to to check the right opinion. Nobody wants to be uncool or be a “cultural pessimist” (the favourite put-down of modern democrats) which is absolutely uncool and unsexy, yeah, really unsexy. - so: the more standard the statement, the more sexy the person. This is Berlin mid-2005 !!!

They lean back with a sigh, but nevertheless with the smug thought, “there is no alternative to democracy” (everything else is dictatorship, totalitarianism, or fundamentalism), there is only the empty talk about “the end of history” so as to close with some such sentence as “there will never be a truly “just” system” but at least we are in the lucky position to be able to live in freedom.”

Along with a tiny minority it is always me who keeps the conversation going, who is not satisfied with the same old tired complaints, “Bush is just horrible” - or “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”, or “we Europeans should finally take a clearer stance” (against what !!!) - some kind of consensus that then represents the peak and conclusion of critical thought. I feel like a zealot - and appear like that to the others too - that I am not happy that its "Fischer, thank God, in the government and not Merkel” or when someone says that he/she has heard of some “news” or “information” or “sensation” in the programs “im Spiegel” or “im Report” or on the news channel “Phoenix”, to serve as an example that we are all so well educated and how dominant “public opinion” appears in this day and age.

03.Feb 2005 11:50:36 am [Harald]
During my last long stay on the Baltic Coast last October, the idea of returning to piano playing took root.I hadn’t done it for 15 years, firstly because electronic music had commanded all my energy and concentration and later because the scale of the loss of technique was so embarrassingly bad that I couldn’t get around to doing anything about it.Back from the coast, I got up early, sat down at the piano in the house and started.


Day’s work

I wake up at around 8.30, look around at the snow still lying on the roofs opposite and feel good about the day. I jump out of bed, rip the windows open, make tea listening to “Deutschland Radio”, have toast/muesli, fresh pressed juice and coffee, throw a glance at “Weltwoche” and “WOZ”, magazines which I subscribed to from Zurich, go to the bathroom, and then do my exercises.At around 10 o'clock I sit down at the piano. The next three hours are dedicated to Robert Schumann. Meanwhile I cannot imagine a life without it. Slowly my fingers rediscover what they they used to be capable of...
It is hard, hypnotizing work. The moments when I make a sudden technical leap forwards are fantastic!
Studying a piece, getting a feel for the structure of the composition, slowly converting a score into sound...a very satisfying job!
At the beginning, I am often convinced that I will never manage it. But the beauty and depths of the compositions arouse such enormous curiosity, pleasure and energy in me that I would happily play a thousand hours so as to totally submerge in the works.


03.Jan 2005 10:56:56 am [Harald]
Thoughts on this journal
The decision to start a journal will force me to overcome my laziness at writing. A lot of the things that I experience or have thought during any particular day have disappeared into inaccessible regions after just a few days. As a result, there is a dissatisfying nervousness due to the stupid self-accusation of wasting one's own potential and not making more intensive use of the time available.

Fixing things in writing might be a tool with which to address the things that occupy my thoughts in a more specific way. For then I have to formulate them (write them “out”); at the same time a journal represents a second chronological-biological record in addition to my music that gives me more feedback on who I am by leafing back through the pages and seeing what I was.

I will make some these records public. To what extent I master the gulf between intentionally putting myself in the scene and being authentic will be seen in practice. The main idea behind the website journal is naturally the desire to draw attention to what I am doing. What else.

This year one of the goals I have set myself is to break the self-imposed “sound barrier” that I constructed over the years. I will publish music which I believe is independent enough to justify publication even though “the market” will certainly not want it. It is music that has developed over the years and taken an uncompromising subjective direction; far beyond “functioning” forms and required profiles. My main interest is no longer just to make “good tracks” (which doesn’t mean that one or the other good track won’t come out of this). Rather, I have a growing urge to work out the musical means of capturing certain circumstances in sound which would be difficult for me to describe adequately in any other language. In this regard, communicating thoughts in this journal for the benefit of the audience might be a good possibility of making my music since 1997 more accessible. I hope that these entries encourage people to listen to the works more intensively after the first listen.