(Click here for Ger­man version)

A glim­mer.

Fli­cke­ring dots and lines shaping in the dark. Stri­pes of light erra­ti­cal­ly mean­de­ring through fiel­ds of visi­on. A red­dish shim­mer, pul­sa­ting inces­sant­ly at a rapid pace. A swir­ling storm of colors behind clo­sed eyelids, con­nec­ted by brief moments of darkness.

In. Out.
In. Out.
In. Out.

Has­ty breaths. Lungs pum­ping in an attempt to fol­low the poun­ding beat of the hea­vy air. The com­pres­sed vapor of sweat, smo­ke and lived out youth drawn into bodies through qui­vering nostrils.

Pearls.

A sea of sweat drops on skins, woven into blan­kets of mois­tu­re, car­ri­ed through the space, from sil­hou­et­te to sil­hou­et­te. Pearls drip­ping from the cei­ling, wan­de­ring down skin, glass, and pum­ping metal.

Beats.

An inces­sant hum in the air. Power­ful acoustic beats, a con­stant drum­fire of sounds set­ting the pace of the night in a tireless stac­ca­to. Vibra­ting levels of sound mer­ci­less­ly for­cing space, bodies and time into a form, only to tear them apart and put them back tog­e­ther again.

It’s a Satur­day night in 2021. Or may­be 1991?

One doesn’t know. And may­be it doesn’t mat­ter too much. It defi­ni­te­ly doesn’t play a role for the music. It doesn’t care how we want to defi­ne it as its spec­ta­tors, or rather lis­teners. Howe­ver, for the time in which the music took or takes place, the music defi­ni­te­ly plays an essen­ti­al role. A music that in its theo­re­ti­cal, artis­tic, and cul­tu­ral dimen­si­on may have under­go­ne some chan­ges in per­cep­ti­on and ascrip­ti­on over the past three deca­des, but which has remai­ned the same in its essence. (Fight us on this!)

Long befo­re elec­tro­nic club music, long befo­re “Tech­no”, long befo­re “House” found its way into count­less Spo­ti­fy play­lists, com­mer­cials from inter­na­tio­nal cor­po­ra­ti­ons and semi­nar rooms at social sci­ence insti­tu­tes, the­re was alrea­dy a small group of peop­le here in the nort­hern­most city of Ita­ly, who have given this music such a signi­fi­cant mea­ning in their own bio­gra­phies and ever­y­day life that it could deve­lop over the years on their shoul­ders and evol­ve into the very musi­cal cul­tu­re in which we live today.

With con­vic­tion, pas­si­on and the indis­pensable pinch of mad­ness in their blood, they threw them­sel­ves into a pro­ject who­se con­se­quen­ces they may not have ful­ly fore­se­en at the time, but who­se neces­si­ty and poten­ti­al they defi­ni­te­ly felt in their bones. A pro­ject that began in an incon­spi­cuous buil­ding in Ober­föh­ring, a small com­mu­ni­ty on the nort­hern bor­der of Munich, from whe­re it was to take on forms and dimen­si­ons wit­hin only a few years that one could not have ima­gi­ned with the best will and the most visio­na­ry eye.

Said buil­ding, an incon­spi­cuous bar­rack on a for­mer mili­ta­ry hos­pi­tal area of the US tro­ops sta­tio­ned in Bava­ria in the after­math of World War II, was known at that time — befo­re its time as “Kafe Kult”, as it is bet­ter known to some today — as “Kul­tur­sta­ti­on“ and had alrea­dy acted as the foun­ding ground of a num­ber of sub­cul­tu­ral specta­cles from the mid-1980s till then.

In the fall of 1991 ano­t­her one of tho­se specta­cles was meant to see the light of day. A specta­cle, which should mark a tur­ning point for the Kulturstation’s sound palet­te, which up to – and also sin­ce – then has been hea­vi­ly gea­red towards Punk, Hard­core & other gui­tar-hea­vy music. And with a view to the com­ing years, honest­ly, the mar­king point was not just one for the store, but rather for the ent­i­re city.

The birt­hing hour of “Ultra­world”.

Full of ener­gy and fresh­ly inspi­red by a visit to “Tre­sor”, the infa­mous Ber­lin sound insti­tu­ti­on in the then fresh­ly baked Ger­man federal capi­tal, whe­re our two main prot­ago­nists, Upstart* & Dor­le*, spent a night to the mixing arts of Jeff Mills and Bla­ke Bax­ter, which should lea­ve per­ma­nent marks on their memo­ries, set off to the task of car­ry­ing what they had seen and heard to their home­town of Munich to give it a home the­re as well.

Tog­e­ther with Char­lot­te Gol­ter­mann, who had been sung to by Dirk von Lowt­zow as “Nana Mousku­ri of Ger­man House”, and Her­bert*, they put down their musi­cal roots in the space pro­vi­ded by the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on and, with pas­si­on and pure will, crea­ted some­thing that ulti­mate­ly beca­me one of the cor­ner­stones of the elec­tro­nic music sce­ne of Munich. A fact that tho­se invol­ved might not have rea­li­zed at the time. Becau­se, let’s be honest — a group of young peop­le who want to live out their pas­si­on for new­ly found music tog­e­ther? Does­n’t sound too ground­brea­king, does it?

But it was. In a city, in a youth that was just about to stumb­le into one of the most wicked deca­des of pop music histo­ry (Euro­trash galo­re!), just to think of music that does­n’t drown in plump, pathos-satu­ra­ted har­mo­nies and repla­ca­ble lyrics; in a place in which the ordi­na­ry guest would sus­pi­cious­ly eye music that did not ent­i­re­ly con­sist of infern­al­ly whip­ping gui­tar riffs and lyrics that con­dem­ned ‘the sys­tem’ deep from the heart of self-righ­te­ous con­vic­tion; to think of music that was made up of vir­tual­ly no natu­ral instru­ments, let alo­ne lyrics; and then having the chutz­pah of wan­ting to crea­te a local music cul­tu­re con­nec­ted to that… dar­ing, to say the least.

A dare that the quar­tet was more than eager to take. And one that has paid off. Armed with only a hand­ful of pen­nies, the latest deli­ve­ries from the “Opti­mal” shop — the ico­nic record store in Munich’s Glo­cken­bach, which Upstart foun­ded in 1982 — and a ton full of ide­as, the four of them set out to give that stran­ge new music, that was so dif­fi­cult to put into words, a home in this town.

And so, under the musi­cal direc­tion of Upstart and the crea­ti­ve eyes of Dor­le and Char­lot­te, the cul­tu­ral sta­ti­on was trans­for­med once a mon­th from a grub­by shed into a space bey­ond what ordi­na­ry dis­co-goe­rs were able to ima­gi­ne at the time. Ultra­world did not live from the sound alo­ne, as new, appe­aling, and revo­lu­tio­na­ry as it was. Ultra­world was an over­all aes­the­tic con­cept, an adven­ture park for the sen­ses. Opti­cal, acoustic, hap­tic worlds, com­pres­sed to a few squa­re meters in the heart of a public park in the north of Munich, and only acces­si­ble on this one spe­cial night of the mon­th. And all of that des­pi­te the then com­mon cur­few at 3 — all night long. Tho­se few wil­ling and initia­ted, who found their way to the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on, awai­ted ever­ything insi­de, from gigan­tic pho­to col­la­ges of sor­ted out art pho­to­graphs to ful­ly deco­ra­ted forests made of Christ­mas trees, from plu­cked birds on the cei­lings to over­flowing jung­le plan­ta­ti­ons. The uni­que inte­rior of the Ultra­world, rede­si­gned each time, was able to cast its very own spell on every spec­ta­tor. A spell that of cour­se only deve­lo­ped its full effect in con­nec­tion with the sound.

The new sound of the new hour — Techno.

This music no one had known befo­re. Which one did not real­ly under­stand yet. Which one did­n’t real­ly have to under­stand, at least not on a ratio­nal level, becau­se its impact was noti­ce­ab­le any­way. This music, who­se per­for­ma­ti­ve power has lost none of its inten­si­ty to this day. With its inherent abi­li­ty to crea­te a sta­te some­whe­re bet­ween ecsta­sy and medi­ta­ti­on, bet­ween com­ple­te detach­ment and abso­lu­te inner calm, out of see­min­gly end­less repe­ti­ti­on and the sheer for­ce of its volu­me. And all of that with litt­le more than a bass drum, a cou­p­le of high hats and a snare.

To abi­li­ty to cap­tu­re this magic, to hold it in the moment, and to stretch it over a who­le night is some­thing that many have achie­ved sin­ce then. But the­re in the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on, that was one of the pla­ces whe­re it star­ted. In a small bar­rack in Ober­föh­ring, equip­ped with litt­le more than a mixer, two record play­ers, a mas­si­ve PA, a smo­ke machi­ne and a few stro­be lights. And honest­ly — what more do you need?

[ To be continued … ]

(Click here for Ger­man version)

A glim­mer.

Fli­cke­ring dots and lines shaping in the dark. Stri­pes of light erra­ti­cal­ly mean­de­ring through fiel­ds of visi­on. A red­dish shim­mer, pul­sa­ting inces­sant­ly at a rapid pace. A swir­ling storm of colors behind clo­sed eyelids, con­nec­ted by brief moments of darkness.

In. Out.
In. Out.
In. Out.

Has­ty breaths. Lungs pum­ping in an attempt to fol­low the poun­ding beat of the hea­vy air. The com­pres­sed vapor of sweat, smo­ke and lived out youth drawn into bodies through qui­vering nostrils.

Pearls.

A sea of sweat drops on skins, woven into blan­kets of mois­tu­re, car­ri­ed through the space, from sil­hou­et­te to sil­hou­et­te. Pearls drip­ping from the cei­ling, wan­de­ring down skin, glass, and pum­ping metal.

Beats.

An inces­sant hum in the air. Power­ful acoustic beats, a con­stant drum­fire of sounds set­ting the pace of the night in a tireless stac­ca­to. Vibra­ting levels of sound mer­ci­less­ly for­cing space, bodies and time into a form, only to tear them apart and put them back tog­e­ther again.

It’s a Satur­day night in 2021. Or may­be 1991?

One doesn’t know. And may­be it doesn’t mat­ter too much. It defi­ni­te­ly doesn’t play a role for the music. It doesn’t care how we want to defi­ne it as its spec­ta­tors, or rather lis­teners. Howe­ver, for the time in which the music took or takes place, the music defi­ni­te­ly plays an essen­ti­al role. A music that in its theo­re­ti­cal, artis­tic, and cul­tu­ral dimen­si­on may have under­go­ne some chan­ges in per­cep­ti­on and ascrip­ti­on over the past three deca­des, but which has remai­ned the same in its essence. (Fight us on this!)

Long befo­re elec­tro­nic club music, long befo­re “Tech­no”, long befo­re “House” found its way into count­less Spo­ti­fy play­lists, com­mer­cials from inter­na­tio­nal cor­po­ra­ti­ons and semi­nar rooms at social sci­ence insti­tu­tes, the­re was alrea­dy a small group of peop­le here in the nort­hern­most city of Ita­ly, who have given this music such a signi­fi­cant mea­ning in their own bio­gra­phies and ever­y­day life that it could deve­lop over the years on their shoul­ders and evol­ve into the very musi­cal cul­tu­re in which we live today.

With con­vic­tion, pas­si­on and the indis­pensable pinch of mad­ness in their blood, they threw them­sel­ves into a pro­ject who­se con­se­quen­ces they may not have ful­ly fore­se­en at the time, but who­se neces­si­ty and poten­ti­al they defi­ni­te­ly felt in their bones. A pro­ject that began in an incon­spi­cuous buil­ding in Ober­föh­ring, a small com­mu­ni­ty on the nort­hern bor­der of Munich, from whe­re it was to take on forms and dimen­si­ons wit­hin only a few years that one could not have ima­gi­ned with the best will and the most visio­na­ry eye.

Said buil­ding, an incon­spi­cuous bar­rack on a for­mer mili­ta­ry hos­pi­tal area of the US tro­ops sta­tio­ned in Bava­ria in the after­math of World War II, was known at that time — befo­re its time as “Kafe Kult”, as it is bet­ter known to some today — as “Kul­tur­sta­ti­on“ and had alrea­dy acted as the foun­ding ground of a num­ber of sub­cul­tu­ral specta­cles from the mid-1980s till then.

In the fall of 1991 ano­t­her one of tho­se specta­cles was meant to see the light of day. A specta­cle, which should mark a tur­ning point for the Kulturstation’s sound palet­te, which up to – and also sin­ce – then has been hea­vi­ly gea­red towards Punk, Hard­core & other gui­tar-hea­vy music. And with a view to the com­ing years, honest­ly, the mar­king point was not just one for the store, but rather for the ent­i­re city.

The birt­hing hour of “Ultra­world”.

Full of ener­gy and fresh­ly inspi­red by a visit to “Tre­sor”, the infa­mous Ber­lin sound insti­tu­ti­on in the then fresh­ly baked Ger­man federal capi­tal, whe­re our two main prot­ago­nists, Upstart* & Dor­le*, spent a night to the mixing arts of Jeff Mills and Bla­ke Bax­ter, which should lea­ve per­ma­nent marks on their memo­ries, set off to the task of car­ry­ing what they had seen and heard to their home­town of Munich to give it a home the­re as well.

Tog­e­ther with Char­lot­te Gol­ter­mann, who had been sung to by Dirk von Lowt­zow as “Nana Mousku­ri of Ger­man House”, and Her­bert*, they put down their musi­cal roots in the space pro­vi­ded by the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on and, with pas­si­on and pure will, crea­ted some­thing that ulti­mate­ly beca­me one of the cor­ner­stones of the elec­tro­nic music sce­ne of Munich. A fact that tho­se invol­ved might not have rea­li­zed at the time. Becau­se, let’s be honest — a group of young peop­le who want to live out their pas­si­on for new­ly found music tog­e­ther? Does­n’t sound too ground­brea­king, does it?

But it was. In a city, in a youth that was just about to stumb­le into one of the most wicked deca­des of pop music histo­ry (Euro­trash galo­re!), just to think of music that does­n’t drown in plump, pathos-satu­ra­ted har­mo­nies and repla­ca­ble lyrics; in a place in which the ordi­na­ry guest would sus­pi­cious­ly eye music that did not ent­i­re­ly con­sist of infern­al­ly whip­ping gui­tar riffs and lyrics that con­dem­ned ‘the sys­tem’ deep from the heart of self-righ­te­ous con­vic­tion; to think of music that was made up of vir­tual­ly no natu­ral instru­ments, let alo­ne lyrics; and then having the chutz­pah of wan­ting to crea­te a local music cul­tu­re con­nec­ted to that… dar­ing, to say the least.

A dare that the quar­tet was more than eager to take. And one that has paid off. Armed with only a hand­ful of pen­nies, the latest deli­ve­ries from the “Opti­mal” shop — the ico­nic record store in Munich’s Glo­cken­bach, which Upstart foun­ded in 1982 — and a ton full of ide­as, the four of them set out to give that stran­ge new music, that was so dif­fi­cult to put into words, a home in this town.

And so, under the musi­cal direc­tion of Upstart and the crea­ti­ve eyes of Dor­le and Char­lot­te, the cul­tu­ral sta­ti­on was trans­for­med once a mon­th from a grub­by shed into a space bey­ond what ordi­na­ry dis­co-goe­rs were able to ima­gi­ne at the time. Ultra­world did not live from the sound alo­ne, as new, appe­aling, and revo­lu­tio­na­ry as it was. Ultra­world was an over­all aes­the­tic con­cept, an adven­ture park for the sen­ses. Opti­cal, acoustic, hap­tic worlds, com­pres­sed to a few squa­re meters in the heart of a public park in the north of Munich, and only acces­si­ble on this one spe­cial night of the mon­th. And all of that des­pi­te the then com­mon cur­few at 3 — all night long. Tho­se few wil­ling and initia­ted, who found their way to the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on, awai­ted ever­ything insi­de, from gigan­tic pho­to col­la­ges of sor­ted out art pho­to­graphs to ful­ly deco­ra­ted forests made of Christ­mas trees, from plu­cked birds on the cei­lings to over­flowing jung­le plan­ta­ti­ons. The uni­que inte­rior of the Ultra­world, rede­si­gned each time, was able to cast its very own spell on every spec­ta­tor. A spell that of cour­se only deve­lo­ped its full effect in con­nec­tion with the sound.

The new sound of the new hour — Techno.

This music no one had known befo­re. Which one did not real­ly under­stand yet. Which one did­n’t real­ly have to under­stand, at least not on a ratio­nal level, becau­se its impact was noti­ce­ab­le any­way. This music, who­se per­for­ma­ti­ve power has lost none of its inten­si­ty to this day. With its inherent abi­li­ty to crea­te a sta­te some­whe­re bet­ween ecsta­sy and medi­ta­ti­on, bet­ween com­ple­te detach­ment and abso­lu­te inner calm, out of see­min­gly end­less repe­ti­ti­on and the sheer for­ce of its volu­me. And all of that with litt­le more than a bass drum, a cou­p­le of high hats and a snare.

To abi­li­ty to cap­tu­re this magic, to hold it in the moment, and to stretch it over a who­le night is some­thing that many have achie­ved sin­ce then. But the­re in the Kul­tur­sta­ti­on, that was one of the pla­ces whe­re it star­ted. In a small bar­rack in Ober­föh­ring, equip­ped with litt­le more than a mixer, two record play­ers, a mas­si­ve PA, a smo­ke machi­ne and a few stro­be lights. And honest­ly — what more do you need?

[ To be continued … ]