on music beyond mainstream





Ein Tag nach der Rückkehr. In der Dusche Timber Timbre gehört, hypermelodische Songs von einem, der irgendwo zwischen den Tindersticks und Leonard Cohen zur ganzen eigenen Langsamkeit findet, melodisches Füllhorn inclusive. “Hot Dreams”. Später das Interview-, Ton- und Bildmaterial gesichtet. “Dishoom” zum Beispiel, nahe Leicester Square.



A swish Bombay brasserie in the style of the old post-colonial ‘Irani cafés’ of Bombay, Dishoom is filled with retro design features: whirring ceiling fans, low-level lighting and walls adorned with vintage Indian magazine advertising.

Manche Situationen waren dazu angetan, die klassische Klartraumübung zu machen: “Träum ich, oder wach ich”? Ein solcher Realitätscheck war zwingend erforderlich, als Brian Eno und Karl Hyde im Studio improvisierten, und sich einmal, dank Brians beeindruckend programmierter Drums und Karls Hydes Gitarrenspiel, ein Trance-Groove entwickelte. – Das klang, erzählte ich dem Duo, wie ein Stück, das Embryo nur zu gerne 1973 gespielt hätten! 

The look of Dishoom is certainly distinctive, but the effect can be so slick when compared to the real thing that the venue can feel rather soulless and corporate. This doesn’t stop the design-conscious and Indophile thronging here through the day, from breakfast (for sausage nan rolls with chilli jam) to dinner (for the stir-fries and tandoori grills).



The main attraction though is the menu, loosely styled on Irani café food with birianis, bhel (crunchy puffed rice with tangy tamarind chutney) and even pau bhaji (toasted white bread rolls with a spicy vegetable stew as a filling). Our black dal was exemplary, and the lamb biriani suitably moist. One of the best Indian restaurants I’ve ever been in!

Janek Schaefers grosse Nachtmusik, die CD “Lay-By Lullaby” (am 12. April in den Klanghorizonten) brachte ich Brian mit. Janek sei einst einer seiner Schüler gewesen, erzählte er zum Nachmittagstee, und Janek habe einmal die Idee gehabt, ein Paket zu versenden: er habe ein Mikrofon und einen Rekorder darin verstaut, für genug Batterieladung gesorgt, und beides im Päckchen fixiert. Sodann seien alle Geräusche aufgezeichnet worden, die auf dieser Paketreise, sozusagen von einem “blinden, aber nicht tauben Passagier” zu hören waren: Fabrikhallensounds, Dialoge zwischen Postboten und Kunden, Stadt, Land, Fluss, Lagerhallenstille, etc. Janek machte daraus eine Sound-Installation.

I particuarly like the endlessly refilled house chai (Indian-style tea), but the other drinks are interesting too – excellent lassi concoctions, even a soft  drink called Limca in glass bottles imported from Mumbai.



Karl Hyde erzählte mir, wie er bei den Aufnahmen zu “Someday World” wieder Lust am Gitarrenspiel gefunden habe. Weil nämlich die Gitarren in Brians Studio alle auf sehr ungewöhnliche und witzige Weise gestimmt gewesen seien. Da sei man gar nicht auf die eigenen alten “patterns” hereingefallen. Und gegen Schluss der Aufnahmen sei es einer Entdeckung, einem Abenteuer, gleichgekommen, dann wieder mal mit vertrauten “tunings” zu spielen. Auf alten Gitarren.



(In memory of Dr. phil. Egon Werlich, my English teacher who passed away on March 19th, as I’ve just heared by two old school mates. We travelled to London with him, in 1972, we read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” in school, he was a tough one. We all saw him one more time last summer. So sad.)


These are the last steps of my London trip. A night in “Blue Bells”! I’ll be back on this site next Friday when listing the tracks of my “Klanghorizonte” edition on April, 12th (at the Deutschlandfunk). But before that I have to say “thank you” to some people (in alphabetical order) – without their support and kindness, this travel would have been a bit more rough (and, once again, this all happened on the basis of personal friendships, good aquaintances, and was not at at all set up by a record company, or a newspaper with big connections.) It was, in the end, a private thing. A labour of love. Good night, and good luck. So, thank you:


Bob T Bright, for a wonderful encounter, with lots of inspirations, and clear plans for a meeting of all Manafonistas on Sylt in 2014 or 2015

Ed Dense, for arranging Janek’s Schaefer long car ride from the River-of-Themse

Brian Eno, for the delights of casual meetings, for the healthy cup of afternon tea (decaffeinated), for letting me be a witness of creative studio work, and telling good stories about the Everly Brothers and connections between Steve Reich and Fela Kuti (I only forgot to ask you where in the mountains you had bought this Moroccan hat!)

Helen, The Canadian Waitress of “Dishoom” near Leicester Square, for a profound introduction into their menu card and deeply satisfying Indian food adventures

Karl Hyde, for a nice first encounter with interesting small talk, for his special “Young Marble Giants”-story and really good time in the studio incl. his stories about the fun of playing with funnily tuned guitars (I am sure you will like Bill Callahan’s albums!)

Janek Schaefer, for his Magical Mystery Tour to London, a nice interview about the magic sound of cars at night in distant areas, and his love for slowing down well-dosed samples of Classical Music etc. (Brian has got your new record!)

Jochen “Joey” Siemer, for giving my stories and pictures form and space, being the “invisible man” in the background and offering great feedback on the phone

Guy Sigsworth for being the most handsome “ghost” (i nearly never saw him) and for letting me be his guest in an area full of memories of old times (now I know again that London is my favourite town!)



Everything you need to know about Brian’s hat, and the forthcoming Eno / Hyde album “Someday World” (release date in Germany, May, 2, in England and elsewhere, May, 5), can be found here, on the first day of May. And the days following up to the official release of the album. Some songs of the album will be played in my night edition of “Klanghorizonte” on April 26th, along with some excerpts of our highly informal, unofficial and private talk. 




This is Westbourne Grove. On his forthcoming album, that will also be part of the “Klanghorizonte” edition of April 26th (a show with a bang, promise!), Damon Alborn (who lives here!) has a story to sing about Westbourne Grove, and in interviews he likes to tell in detail the history of this street. Brian likes his album very much.

Yesterday I had a fine interview with Janek Schaefer that can be read here, and heared, in excerpts, during my next show. He knows Brian Eno quite well, and, if I remember right Eno gave him an old drum machine. He’s currently working as a professor for sound field studies (i have to check the website), as an DJ for children and grown-ups (weddings etc.) and seems to have an immense repertoire of 90 years of dance music. He told me a lot of stories about his search for “beautiful music”, and future collaborations with William Basinski and other guys from the quiet and ambient side of musics

His  new cd, Lay-by Lullaby  invites you to take a break, pull over, and daydream as life speeds on by. The composition is his calmest yet, and is based around location recordings made in the middle of the night above the M3 motorway, right at the end of the road where JG Ballard lived, a couple of miles from Schaefer’s studio on the far west edge of London. Ballard wrote his seminal works on car culture, as the motorway was being built past the front of his house in 1973; Crash (1973), Concrete Island (1974). The 73 minute album weaves these location recordings around a series of spacious sonorities, that shimmer with analogue textures and liminal melodies that burnout in the passing headlights. The speeding traffic dopplertrails reveal fleeting passages of soporific sounds that entice you to recline, drift and fade away. An album to enjoy with your eyes closed, on repeat play until the dawn rush hour returns …

Apart from the new Janek Schaefer “night scape”, I will play some more records in my next edition of “Klanghorizonte” on April, 12th,  by field-recording master BJ Nielsen (another trip through London, which makes even familiar places look and sound rather strange!) and Amercan singer / drone / folk artist Tara Jane O’Neil.  So these are  three records by three labels that have played an important role in my night show: TOUCH, KRANKY and 12K. There will be some more music, too, maybe from Andy Emler, Colin Vallon, or Timbre Timber. 



The colours are coming back, the clouds, too. Nice morning place with good vibes. Some minutes later in the Jubilee Line: a professor from Pennsylvania introduced to the people around a young student from Florida, and that their theme is – today – public talking.  So the young girl started with a nervous smile and then she talked about certain things you can do with your Iphone or Ipad you might not know. At first there is an app with which you can find out, even here in the depth of an old English tube, which airplanes are just flying over you (high in the sky, in this moment of time), and where they are heading to. Funny. And then things became interesting for me as a journo. If you are going to make photos, just keep your hands on the virtual “photo” signal, and it will do more than a hundredandfifty photos in a minute, even when you’re moving around. Ten seconds, and you have pictures, pictures, pictures. Wow: easy going for my photo shooting in the early afternoon.



Thanks, Guy, for all the kindness. You have been so busy, we hadn’t even a ghost of a chance to continue our wonderful talks about the things that turn us on when listening to music. Hope you had a great evening with Alison (I remember an old century, a dark bluesy voice and early electronic synth patterns!). I’m now heading to the Notting Hill area. I gave Janek Schaefer your adress in case he wants to write you something about his project with William Basinski. His record is a beautiful quiet affair, and I hope you busy man will have time to drift in and out of “Lay-By Lullaby”. I put it on the table in the kitchen. Warmest wishes, Michael.



I listened (again and again) to the forthcoming album of the dude with the hat from Morocco and that guy who’s carrying hidden places in his name. The lyrics are – in parts – surreal  - a wild joy is at work, and darkness a close friend, and nearly every song is full of cars and stars, and dreams and demons. The last song is – firing on all cylinders – a subversive form of nostalgia, a bitter-sweet lullaby for the end of the world. 

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