There are certain things I’m a sucker for. Late 1970s/early 1980s electronica. Compilations. Limited editions. Albums with one-of-a-kind jacket artwork. When all of these things align on one release, as the do on Das Ist Schönheit, I end up throwing my money at the person working the register like I’m a lobbyist talking to a politician. It wasn’t cheap, mind you, but the price was fair based on the Discogs sales history, and the condition was top notch (which seems to be the case for so much of the experimental electronica from this period…), so I couldn’t resist.
Sonically Das Ist Schönheit is a bit all over the place. The first two tracks set up the listener. First is the spacey “Untitled” by Peter Reitberger, all sci-fi bleeps and bloops, which is immediately followed by Rima Lucia Mardoyan’s classical-based yet still highly experimental “Symphonie Nr. I”, a sample-filled aural collage of orchestral music. Mind. Blown. As near as I can tell there are 17 performers who contribute to Das Ist Schönheit‘s 30 tracks, over half of which are untitled and the shortest (also called “Untitled) only 14 seconds long. While I think it’s fair to hang the “experimental” tag on this collection, the compositions, for the most part, have coherent musical structures. Certainly they’re far from traditional, but they are recognizable as music, as opposed to some more avant-garde fare that can come across as simply a random collection of sounds (OK, Oliver Hirschbiegel pushes it pretty far with the random horns on “Billy Sagte…”). The high point for me is Claus Böhmler’s “Falckenstein”, which uses Devo’s version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” as its source material.
I’m hard-pressed to full “recommend” Das Ist Schönheit, mostly due to the price. You have to be into the weirdness for this to be worth it to you, unless you’re more attracted to it due to it’s collectibility. That being said, I do like the randomness of it and I’m glad I picked it up.