Harald Grosskopf’s Synthesist reissued; reworked by James Ferraro, Oneohtrix and others

By , Dec 17 2010


New York’s RVNG Intl. label will reissue Harald Grosskopf’s Synthesist, a cult classic of German electronic music, on February 16, 2011.

FACT’s resident kraut nut has been banging on about this nugget for years, which hasn’t been available on vinyl since its original release through Sky Records in 1980. Up to that point in his career multi-instrumentalist Grosskopf was best known as percussionist for Ash Ra Tempel (with Manuel Goettsching), Cosmic Jokers and Klaus Schulze, but his friends and collaborators encouraged him to pursue his own solo vision, and, prompted by his then girlfriend leaving him, he decided to follow their advice, retreating to the West German countryside with a MiniMoog and a Revox reel-to-reel to make Synthesist.

Grosskopf apparently struggled with the temperamental nature of the machines, and perhaps that’s why the musical sequences on the album have such an unsual warmth and feeling of serendipity about them. Check out the amazing video clip below, made by RVNG collaborator (and yo-yo enthusiast) Sid Seed, and see what we mean.

With its new age overtones, Synthesist sounds all the more relevant and pioneering in light of similarly inclined contemporary work by the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never and Stella OM Source. Appropriately enough, Oneohtrix and Stella contribute new interpretations of Grosskopf’s work to Re-Synthesist, a bonus tribute LP that RVNG will be releasing in parallel with their reissue of the original LP. Other contributors to Re-Synthesist include CFCF, Blondes, ARP, Optimo’s JD Twitch and James Ferraro under his Keyhole Voyeur guise.

RVNG’s remastered edition of Synthesist is available both digitally and on vinyl, packaged in a reverse bound record jacket with new artwork (a subtle update of the original) and liner notes in English and German by Harald Grosskopf; the Re-Synthesist compilation is available only with purchases of Synthesist.

“Although Synthesist has been unavailable on vinyl for almost three decades, it doesn’t fetch unfathomable collector fees,” say RVNG. “Selecting Synthesist as our first reissue is more about the connectivty to a new audience than the scarcity fetish for a select few. It’s about sharing Harald’s story and celebrating an album musically accomplished and compelling from start to end.”



Synthesist tracklist:

1. So Weit, So Gut
2. B. Aldrian
3. Emphasis
4. Synthesist
5. 1B47 – Earth
6. Trauma
7. Transcendental Overdrive
8. Tai Ki

Re-Synthesist tracklist:

1. Bronze – So Weit, So Gut
2. CFCF – B. Aldrian
3. Jar Moff – B. Aldrian
4. Arp – Emphasis
5. JD Twitch – Emphasis
6. Blondes – Synthesis
7. Snoretex – Synthesist
8. Stellar OM Source – 1B47 – Earth
9. Oneohtrix Point Never – Trauma 2010
10. Keyhole Voyeur (James Ferraro) – WISHMASTER (Transcendental Overdrive Zone)
11. Pink Skull – Tai Ki

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