For a long time I pondered, thought and agonized about it. Should I really make a "Best of" album or not?! Is it not only pure Kohlemacherei and do not aim such albums to earn a few euros again with it. I think there are certainly artists who do not act or have acted according to this thought, but actually want to create a musical retrospective again. This was also always my thought, but I had always discarded it so far, because I could not realize a coherent idea for a compilation of my entire creative period. A CD with the best pieces? Hard to realize with more than 30 albums. So I came up with the idea to make a triology out of it and to release it bit by bit.
The first selectronic selection refers to the time between 1994 and 2004 or 2002 (the time between 2002 and 2004 actually contained a longer creative break, in which I was hardly artistically active). In 2002 there was a real musical break and the distance to my own music was quite big. I remember that I was not very inspired and I needed some time to start again with new music in 2005, but more about that in the 2nd part of the Best of series.
The first tracks that can be heard on the first album the Comic Dreamland were already created in the time from 1992 to 1993. I had already produced a few very semi-professional tapes in miniature edition for home shelves, before a real music project should actually arise. During one of my first visits to the Hagen observatory, the program there offered various multimedia shows with astronomical content. Inspired by the fact that they wanted to make new contributions from time to time and were also looking for music for it, the setting for the theme of the Hagen planetary model resulted. The Bild(ene) contribution explained the history of this unique institution in the Hagen city area. In addition to various existing pieces, I also composed new material over a period of several months and immortalized it on a recent cassette tape. In 1993 a burned CD creation was sinfully expensive and cost in the piece well and gladly 20-25 DM. Each burned blank was a disaster and only 1-2 years later I decided for a small edition, which I even sent to some editorial exploiters. Besides the Keyboards and the WDR, there were also several local newspapers that reported about the music. However, I didn't really expect a big response, especially not that my music would be played on public radio. I only found this out when various orders were sent to me via postcards. Not only private people wanted to buy a CD, but also a distributor from the Eifel (Cue) ordered copies, which did not exist yet. So I was almost "forced" to produce my first CD.
The Cosmic Dreamland corresponds to the typical first album. Decent songs on a badly mastered silver disc. I was pressed for time and didn't have the technical possibilities to mix the album on the highest level. The sound is in today's view a catastrophe and full of frequent mixing errors. I stand by the content of the tracks absolutely and believe that they had their quality for the time, because from the beginning it was clear, I wanted to develop my own musical character. That's how the typical Erbe style came into being at that time. Pioneer sequenced music with real beats and melody. Gladly with a hookline or just with an unmistakable Erbe sound element.
Pushed by the first success it was easy to already work on another album. Somehow the impressions of a Florida trip and the then themes and concerns of the underwater worlds haunted me. Especially the topic of the dolphin death and the contamination of the oceans did not let me go and I wanted to make exactly this the topic of the 2nd project. Light of Sirius is the fictional journey of a submarine of the same name, which processes the diverse impressions musically. Also on the second album, a lot of newcomer mentality mixed with reduced mastering characteristics and the fact that I also had to learn a lot about the proper mixing of music. However, the content music clearly outshone the deficits and the response was overwhelming. I think without LOS, I might never have gotten past a "hobbyist musician" stage. Not only was I allowed to be the last studio guest on Winfried Trenkler Schwingungen, I was able to present the album in its entirety to a (then still) very large audience. The main theme of the CD, the tracks "Hopeless World 1 & 2" were emblematic for the upcoming Erbe music. In addition, all tracks could shine with an excellent construction of different electronic music styles. No matter if Berlin School fans, Techno disciples or Ambient lovers, the mixed sound structures, were not to be heard so far in the wider field of "EM" (EM is the term Trenkler used for the more traditional electronic music). This supposed uniqueness provided the corresponding popularity to establish also concert series at the observatory, which could attract quite a few visitors to the Hagen Stadtwald. Many Erbe fans call Light of Sirius their Erbe gateway drug and follow my activities until today. I am very grateful for that.
Digital Entrance in 1995 was another example of the steady advancement of technical and compositional skills. Besides the music, for the first time there were no major mistakes in the mastering. The spread of the different genres within the CD was almost perfect and offered a very variable selection of commercial and more traditional tracks. A selection to the Best of album was really hard for me, because almost all tracks could have been used. In retrospect, the only criticism is the cover design. The booklet is and was not particularly spectacular and would certainly have deserved a bit more effort. But this is also part of the learning process. Digital Entrance was a great album for the time and got very good reviews. Albrecht Piltz, CD reviewer of Keyboards magazine at the time, also made this album a CD tip and helped to further expand the fan base.
Who owns the early Erbe albums or knows them, will call Kunststoff, that appeared in 1997, a possible small setback. The song quality didn't quite reach the two predecessors and in total no special further development could be recognized. This was due to the fact that I had exchanged large parts of my equipment against new/other synths over the year and could spend more time in the application than with the actual composition. If I had had a label at that time, the advice "keep working on the CD before you release it" would have been the only correct statements. Of course there are some good and also very good pieces, but just no real hits like on the LOS and the Digital Entrance. But for the first time the artwork was more sophisticated and interesting. In the first review in 1997 it was clear to me that I had "slacked off" musically. But this would change again fundamentally in 98 on the Intermediate.
The white album (that's what I like to call it) fully satisfied me and Erbe fans again. No, honestly it was another milestone and combined good music with a very appealing outfit. For the first time I had hired a photographer friend of mine who took an extensive series of pictures with me in Dortmund. The pictures were just a first class match to the music. Rather technical, with architectural influence and simple in color design. In addition, the title not only matched the exterior very well, but the title track of the same name was also a real "hit". It is certainly one of the most famous heritage tracks of the past decades. Intermediate also means "in between" and manifested the own claim with the own music not to be put into any of the usual EM pigeonholes, even if there are some tracks that are 100% attributable to the traditional EM genre. But it's the Erbe way of integrating established hook and beat elements even in Berlin School tracks that makes it something unheard of. This was again a major recipe for success on the 1998 album.
The first concert, which took place on the weekend of February 4 and 5, 1995 in the observatory, I had prepared with enormous effort. Already one week before the hall was modified or rebuilt. Beside the complete "Christo-like hanging" with black cloth, I borrowed a video beamer (450 Mark rent), installed a truss with light and rotating disco ball. The offered music was accompanied by visuals created on VHS cassettes. Besides various 3D animations, astrophotos and color gimmicks, the overall atmosphere offered an extraordinary excitement. Only about 65 visitors fit into the small auditorium and one sat very cramped on scarcely 50 square meters. The regional press praised the event and the observatory and I cooperated in a friendly synergy that has continued to this day.
Thus, over the years, a musical collaboration was not only meaningful, but positive in every way. This resulted in a lot of music, but it wouldn't always make it onto a regular album. That's why there were several compilations, which could finally bring together the collected material.
However, United also immortalized older material and it was only available as a handmade CDR copy in a limited mini-edition. Particular
X also suffered the same fate, because a normal CD production would probably not be so promising due to the special nature of the pieces. Spaceworks and the live album Worlds Away were also only marketed as CDR copies, although the former would certainly also have been successful as a pressed industrial CD. It was also the time when CD sales stagnated for the first time and you couldn't just sell a 1000 copies. Like many other artists, one could produce cheap, good and quite high-quality CD products oneself. This manufacturing concept, however, I have dropped from 2005 again and produce since then only "real CD `s".
Oh yes. And there was Querbeat de Luxe. The first free Erbe album that retrospected various Erbe classics for the first time. But it's not a best-of, it's more of a "do it again better or different" album. It was clear from the start that it was going to be very commercial and aimed at making me and my music better known on the WWW. It has solved this task perfectly. If I had kept track of the download numbers for a few years, at some point I stopped counting the amount. In the first 2-3 years alone, it was downloaded several hundred thousand times. Also because the clue to the gift was posted on various press-related websites. I still imagine how it would have been if everyone had paid only 1 euro for it. But let's leave that alone.
Querbeat de luxe hasn't lost any of its charm almost 20 years later. Cool beats, chic hooks and smooth sound. Those who don't know the originals will like the tracks just as much as the first-time consumers. Even today, thousands of people download this CD for free every year. And even if it has not brought any direct economic success, it has done its job. Namely, to increase the popularity.
Looking back, there was always the possibility to make one or the other "major deal". Means to give the music into other label or distribution hands. I have always rejected it and sworn to remain independent in all things, to be able to decide everything myself and to control economic aspects as I see fit. I don't know if I missed out on making that one good music deal at some point or refrained from doing something that might have brought me more into the commercial public eye. It was always more important to me to put my attitude towards artistic representation and the right steps in the foreground. Success is not defined exclusively by commercial success, click numbers on the internet or likes under posts. For me, success is a mixture of musical quality, authentic work and a multi-layered acceptance of listeners, concert-goers and my own demands. All albums follow the strategy of further development and I always put the following project in as much contrast as possible to the previous album. I am sure that each CD has its right to exist and always offered the next step to the realization of its own possibilities.
Selectronisch vol 1 contains 14 pieces that are special in their own way. Either as a catchy earworm, as a frequently played live classic or as an example of the combination I call heritage style. If you are willing to travel back musically to the time between 1994 and 2002, you might feel the spirit of the music of that time for sure. Do you have to be a bit nostalgic for that? Sure, it can't hurt to put today's demands on music into perspective and to approach the tracks from this point of view.
I hope you enjoy the journey through time and I'm looking forward to your feedback, emails and comments. If you found the donate button, feel free to use it. But nobody has to have a bad conscience if he doesn't do it.
Hier you find Teil 2 and Teil 3. A complete Discography you will find hier.
01 Visions/ Adventures in Time and Space 2002 /Spaceworks
02 Intermediate 1998 /Intermediate
03 A Sequent Gallery 1994 / Light of Sirius
04 Technique (Querbeatmix) 1994/2002 /The Cosmic Dreamland / Querbeat de Luxe
05 First look into Light 1997 / Kunststoff
06 If you fall in Love 2001 /Particular X
07 Blue Light under frozen Water 1996 / Spaceworks
08 Follow Me 1995 / Digital Entrance
09 Upwind 1998 / United
10 Clockwork 1998 / Intermediate
11 Building 1997 / Kunststoff
12 Shadows and Shapes 1998 / Particular X
13 Changing Colors 1995 /Digital Entrance
14 Hopeless World (Part 2) 1994 / Light of Sirius
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