Jump to content

White Out - Johannes Schmoelling

   (0 reviews)

All of a sudden there was this feeling, the Antarctic a concept album. No, it was not so sudden. This sudden was the crossover point of three things, all happening at the same time: a book (Christoph Ransmayrs "The terrors of the ice and the darkness"), a movie film ("Antarctica Project" by Axel Engstfeld), and finally a own study, an experimental sound performance, on which I was working together with the author Martin Burckhardt. And in this sense the "sudden" was nothing incidental, but a feeling of an inner inevitableness: a concept album, the Antarctic.

In the movie a man was seen, in front of the American Flag, who pronounced the Antarctic as an immense reservoir of energy and resources. He had a voice as if money could speak. And the voice said: "I have no doubt, it will happen. Twenty years, thirty years, it will happen."

To tell a landscape - so long as it still exists.

Landscape. And a music that can create space. Via the detour of the Antarctic, via the empty white space I realized that this was really always my idealistic intuition of what Electronic Music could tell. To start for a spacious open landscape. Whereby I never understood the newness and the unheard-of fo the electronic sounds as a placeless point, as a phantom of weightlessness, but always as something on this side, "as from this world." Not having the want to have me catapulted into the universe (it is said that in spite of all the sperical sounds the satellite garbage is piling up considerably) I preferred to limit myself to what is familiar to me. That means: running - instead of tumbling through weightlessness.

In this sense the sounds that I have used and changed will in no way deny their origin. They are noises: the sound of a sonar, the crackling and squeaking of radio sets, machines, the far away screeching of birds - and if we close our eyes then with each noise we immediately connect to some image of a landscape or surroundings. For me this was a reason to compose entire noise passages - a kind of foundation out of which the music actually is born.

In a scientific book on the Antarctic I read of an optical phenomena, which occurs under certain conditions of temperature and of the air: WHITE OUT. It is a loss of space sensation, the white erases the space, sky and earth flow into each other, a space without depth and without horizon is created.

Maybe a concept album is nothing else but a voyage. A departure to another place, which slowly uncovers itself, a shore that comes closer and piles up as a mountain of ice. Arrival, first announced over the radio, the whir of the machine noises, the entertainment music, filling up the crewmens room. And suddenly (where on the map appeared just an immense white spot), there is firm ground under your feet and you see: garbage, food throwouts, tin cans, as if to be preserved for eternity, discarded oil residue and a tire rut leading to the horizon, where an industrial complex arises, and then unconsciously: the feeling that here at the very end of the world a war announces itself, that the machines are already in position, that the fronts are lined up. And when you look around, there is the oldest landscape in the world. (A war with the purpose of eradicating the history of nature: WHITE OUT.)

Perhaps the painting of landscapes is something old fashioned, something from the 19th century, when people still had the time for it. Perhaps the attempt to listen carefully is something very old fashioned. Perhaps it is altogether old fashioned to think of the future.

With which of course it is meant, that this kind of being old fashioned will sometime and completely by itself be a brand new actuality.

As I finalized the work on the album Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs departed for the Antarctic. Not like before (as was still done in the last century) to remove the white spots from map nor with the aim (as at the turn of the century) to hoist the flag of everywhich country, but solely because of the landscape itself, purely because of its being such and nothing else (at the present time). And I thought that as a child, even in my wildest dreams, it never occurred to me that just taking a walk could one day become a political act.

Track Listings:
    1. White Out 12:01
    2. Navigator's Chatter 5:45
    3. Native Eye, Native Ear 6:50
    4. Ice Walk 6:09
    5. The Big Nail 4:38
    6. A Great Continent 8:17
    7. Anian Path 5:14
Total Time: 49:26
Artist Name(s):
Johannes Schmoelling
Peter Wirths
Release Year: 1990
Ambient, Classical, Experimental, Soundtrack
Album Type:
Compact Disc, Digital / Download
Cover & Packge Design:
Detlef Maugsch.
Studio Name:
Riet Studio
Label / Publishing
Label Name:
Catalog Number(s):
843 395-2
Berlin, Germany
Peter Wirths Musikverlag.
Editions / Reissues
  1. Polydor 843 395-1 Germany 1990
  2. Viktoriapark VP 00-1 Germany 2000
  3. Viktoriapark VP 00-1 Germany 2010
  4. Polydor 843 395-2 Europe 1990
Synthesizers Used
Album Locator
[+] Amazon
[+] Amoeba
[+] Discogs
[+] Google
[+] YouTube

  Report Album

User Feedback

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.


  • Create New...