Michael Mayer’s IMARA imprint is proud to announce a reissue of German electronica maestro Schlammpeitziger’s second album, Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut. Originally released in 1996 by Köln’s A-Musik label, it was the first Schlammpeitziger release to signal to a much wider audience that there was something very special going on in the music of Jo Zimmermann, the mastermind behind Schlammpeitziger. And while he’s subsequently gone on to release a further eight albums for labels like Sonig, Pingipung, and Bureau B, Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut is where it really all started for this most singular musician, illustrator and performance artist. Named after the ‘Schlammpeitzger’ or Weather Loach, a fish that breathes through its intestines, moves through substrate, and is surprisingly sensitive to changes in barometric pressure – hence its name – Schlammpeitziger is a similarly remarkable, singular creature.
Like all Schlammpeitziger’s music, Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut is overflowing with melody. Using the simplest of set-ups – much of his early music was made with Casio keyboards – Zimmermann magics entire worlds of joy and melancholy. The nine songs here are both rich tributes to the joys of the everyday, and surreal fantasias. “Cosmic Fick” sails out to sea on clouds of taffy and spindrift; “Winterschlafsüßbärentraum” slips and slides around a dream aviary of the mind; the closing “Mango und Papaja auf Tobago” is a diorama spun from springs and Slinkys. Sometimes there are echoes of more peaceable Kosmische music – think Cluster circa Sowiesoso – and both the pacing and the amorphous, tactile textures sometimes recall Chris & Cosey. But Zimmermann’s unique signature is everywhere on Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut – simply put, no one else makes music quite as lovely and incandescent as this.
The album’s initial release coincided with an explosion of interest in the music coming out of Köln. This was a unique moment – one where pop, techno, house, ambience, avant-gardism, musique concrete, heavy DSP, and all kinds of other creative phenomena got muddied up in the ‘general jelly’ of Köln’s fast-moving, spirited musical communities. Zimmermann was closely aligned with the music coming out of the A-Musik and Sonig labels – a tightly-knit collection of artists centred around the A-Musik record store, making all kinds of weird and wonderful music, from the electronica of Mouse On Mars to the compositions of Marcus Schmickler, from the electro-acoustics of C-Schulz and Hajsch to the digitalia of FX Randomiz. Zimmermann himself would collaborate with the latter on an album under the name Holosud; friends such as Mouse On Mars and Kompakt’s Reinhard Voigt turned up on Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut’s remix EP.
Here, then, is one of the loveliest albums of its era, a pop-electronics album of serious play, one as moistly melancholy as it is melodically riveting. Freundlichbaracudamelodieliedgut is rare beauty indeed.