Wolfgang Seidel
Friendly Electrons
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1Battersea Power Plant 3:14
2Escalator 2:40
3Organic Music No.1 3:55
4Try Harder 5:13
5Film Noir 4:01
6Feuerblume 2:41
7Organic Music No.2 4:59
8Otto Piene 3:37
9Streets Of L.A. 3:58
10Art Space 4:20
11ICC Berlin 4:33
12EMS #1 3:31
13Berna Yari 5:03
14EMS #2 2:06
15Lichtballett 4:03
16No Repetition 8:39
17Easy Easel 3:05
18Shortwave Radio 0:48

“Friendly Electrons” presents the electronic side of the original Ton Steine Scherben drummer, book author and longtime Conrad Schnitzler friend / collaborator Wolfgang Seidel.

Born in winter 1949 in a grey and gloomy post-war Berlin, Wolfgang Seidel’s first encounter with electronic sounds was at the cinema: the music for “Forbidden Planet“ by Louis and Bebe Barron sounded like the promise of a bright, exciting future ... but in the 1960‘s, the biggest thing for young musicians was to play in a rock band, and as the friends around him all already played guitar, Seidel chose the drums and later co-founded Ton Steine Scherben, the legendary German anarchist band. Around the same time, Seidel regularly attended the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, the birth place of so-called “Kosmische Musik / Berliner Schule“ (Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Manuel Göttsching etc), and became close friends with Conrad Schnitzler. Realizing how much more artistic freedom electronic music offers, he grew tired of playing the same songs night after night, left the band after their debut album had been released and started experimenting with contact microphones and tape delay (and later, when he could afford one, with a Buchla synthesizer). Seidel joined Schnitzler’s group Eruption and worked with him till his death in 2011 (sometimes credited as Wolf Sequenza) on several albums, and also toured some art institutions presenting Schnitzler’s “cassette concerts” (who had dropped his suitcases with the tape machines in front of Seidel’s flat door and appointed him the “future conductor”).

In the 2000s, Seidel started playing drums again, this time in the free jazz / improv scene (a.o. others with Alfred A. Harth and Hans Joachim Irmler), wrote books about his former band (“Scherben – Musik, Politik und Wirkung der Ton Steine Scherben“) and Krautrock („Wir müssen hier raus! Krautrock, Free Beat, Reeducation“) ... and continued his sonic explorations with his Buchla in his studio in Berlin-Wedding.

When we met at a birthday party, Wolfgang told me about his electronic pieces - I was interested right away – so he browsed his archive and sent me a selection of tracks. These are often based on older ideas and sketches that he had completed during the pandemic when there were no concerts to play. The result is „Friendly Electrons“ – a collection of 18 tracks, inspired by Schnitzler’s collage technique and Seidel’s own experiences with improvisation. With the exception of 2 pieces that are actually composed there were no fixed ideas – simply start from scratch and see what happens, review the result from different angles and refine the tracks where necessary. Whereas electronic music is often considered dystopian, the album title mirrors Seidel’s positive attitude towards modernism, so his electrons are of a friendly kind!