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 RIP Wolfgang Dauner

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BruecknerAmbient
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:03 am    RIP Wolfgang Dauner Reply with quoteBack to top

And yet another great musician gone:

German jazz / jazz rock pianist and composer Wolfgang Dauner, one of the founding fathers of the German jazz scene, aged 84.
Dauner also used synthesizers and other electric / electronic keyboards already early on, and some of his pieces are actually plain EM (especially from his work for film and TV).

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For those not familiar with him or his work:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Dauner

Check for example here at minute 17:36...

Wolfgang Dauner - Charlie Mariano ‎–"Meditation On A Landscape - Tagore"

https://youtu.be/jo699fAKGnA


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Jon
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:31 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I must admit I had never heard of him, even though I'm quite into film composers.

RIP.

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BruecknerAmbient
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Age: 50
Joined: 11 May 2011
Posts: 5215
Location: Mainz


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:35 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Jon » wrote:
I must admit I had never heard of him, even though I'm quite into film composers.

RIP.


I guess that's because he worked for German TV in the first place (he also had his own little series for children in the early 70s), or independent German movies which were not widely known outside the country (if at all). His stature as a jazz / jazz rock musician and jazz ensemble founder / leader was surely bigger...

One example (for an independent - cinema - movie) would be the historic drama "Grandinson" from 1978. To be honest: I never heard from it until just now either. Interesting (for me) is that it's the only movie I ever have heard of (let alone seen) that's set in my birthplace, Heidelberg...

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandison_(Film)
(Only a German and a French entry...)

Here's an example from the soundtrack - takes a moment to evolve from the initial percussion but turns out quite cool actually:

https://youtu.be/HG_dvQ3dWas


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And here's his entry at the IMDB:

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0202392/




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BruecknerAmbient
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:38 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

While looking for some info on my previous post (see above) I also stumbled upon a review / essay on Wolfgang Dauner as an electronic music pioneer - exemplified by an album he released with his son Flo just three years ago.

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https://www.amazon.de/Danuer-Dauner-Elektronische-Wolfgang-Flo/dp/B01AU185LO

Here's a clip from that:
https://youtu.be/7KKAKdUqU3g

The essay is in German, but I have provided a (rough) English translation below:
http://www.dauner-around.de/assets/d--dauner-u-dauner-elektronische-mythen-ulrich-kriest.pdf

* * *

Elektronische Mythen: Dauner // Dauner

Too soon? Too late? In time!

When wishing helped.

"I was always either too far ahead in music, which isn't always an advantage, or certain events simply came too late, so I couldn't make them as effective as I would have liked."
This laconic as well as - on closer reading - enigmatic sentence, which appears somewhat abruptly in the chapter "Prizes and Scholarship" of Wolfgang Schorlaus Dauner biography "The Burning Piano", may come to mind when listening to the live recording "Electronic Myths" from October 20, 2015 in the Kunstmuseum Stuttgart.

As is well known, around 1970 Wolfgang Dauner was one of the international pioneers of experimental sound research with electronic keyboards, like Richard Teitelbaum, Paul Bley or Sun Ra, who came from jazz. The fact that Dauner very early on proudly became the owner of a very heavy Synthi 100, he met curious border officials and later on curious colleagues like Keith Emerson, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.

It was years of departure, when Miles Davis drove through New York in an open sports car listening to Stockhausen's tape manipulations, when Kraftwerk and Can developed their specific style of Krautrock in Düsseldorf and Cologne. Experimenting with and exploring the possibilities of electronic music was exciting, but also frustrating under live conditions.

Konrad Heidkamp once summed up this experience in connection with the experiments of Paul Bley and Annette Peacock, which took place at the same time: "There was no instruction manual, no one who could help to find the different sounds and effects. Trial and error, button by button, knob by knob, one million variations. Added to this was the difficulty that the Moog couldn't remember anything, so every musical step was noted down and in the concert again - according to the construction plan - had to be re-plugged."
That could sometimes take a quarter of an hour in concert. No wonder that creative musicians did not feel comfortable with this arrangement in the long run, no matter how exciting the experiments under private studio conditions might have been.

In the following years the paths of electronic avant-garde, jazz and progressive rock music parted ways again. What remained were sound documents in the archives, which reminded us of the atmosphere of departure and perhaps also of unredeemed promises.

Wasn't the "Dauner // Dauner" album, which Wolfgang Dauner produced in 2013 together with his son Flo, a clear indication that the archive material still has a great appeal?

With "Elektronische Mythen" Wolfgang Dauner has transformed this retrofuturistic appeal into a decidedly creative impulse. It's not without danger if you realize that the synthesizer experiments around 1970 sound about as far away today as the Big band sound of Glenn Miller around 1970.
Anyone who has followed Kraftwerk's nappy-soft self-museumization in recent years with irritation will understand when cultural theorist Mark Fisher writes:
"What ultimately makes nostalgia so unbearable is the widespread tendency to overestimate the past."
Wolfgang Dauner avoids this "nostalgia trap" by relating his electronic studies of the 1970s to the current here and now and testing them for viability. This is done both seriously and with a wink. The archive material is inscribed with a historically evolved pleasure in experimentation, but in the course of the three-quarters of an hour of "Electronic Myths", improvisation is carried out with and to the archive material. To a certain extent, the archive material is overpainted live with electronic and acoustic means, which in turn changes itself.
The fact that there are also a few artistic stations on the "Electronic Myths" course (Weather Report with the bass playing by Jaco Pastorious; George Duke; Santana's "Welcome"; Bob James; "Fourth World") and also dead ends of music history are headed for, that it sometimes morphs towards imaginary folklore and E-music, sometimes towards percussive reduction, emphatically sweet ambient, muscular fusion or functional dancefloor, takes over for the concept.

To make sure that this unusual journey through time doesn't become too abstract and demanding for today's listeners, Wolfgang and Flo Dauner have dramaturgically built in a few quiet zones so that you can lean back a bit and enjoy the amazingly transparent overall sound before the next hook is struck. Nevertheless, the song format is consistently abandoned in favour of a musical drift with a great dramaturgical arc.

To sum up: "Electronic Myths" is not so much about nostalgically and somewhat sentimentally reviewing historically unrealized and realized possibilities of music experimenting with electronic devices, but It is rather about setting a very well historically informed impulse at the interface of improvisation and new music from today's perspective. Wolfgang and Flo Dauner are honoured by the fact that this impulse remains open, contradictory and unwieldy and does not serve today's listeners.

The fact that Wolfgang Dauner dedicates himself to such exploratory undertakings in the run-up to his approaching 80th birthday speaks volumes, however.

Ulrich Kriest (music critic)

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