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Die Welttraumforscher - Folklore des Weltalls 2

As we ease into the final months of 2021, Les Giants returns with “Folklore des Weltalls 2” a stunning LP celebrating the 40th anniversary of the pioneering Swiss DIY project Die Welttraumforscher. Gathering 20 brilliant, previously unreleased musical miniatures drawn from its many years of activity, each resting at a singular juncture of minimalism, pop, experimental music, science fiction, metaphysics, and dadaism, it's a stunning piece of work and unlike any other record we are likely to encounter this year.

Nearly as mysterious as the music they release, since their launch in 2018, Les Giants has issued a slow and steady stream of incredible LPs, reissuing sinfully under-celebrated albums by artists like K. Leimer, Marco Bosco, and Y Create. Their latest, Folklore des Weltalls 2, bridging the gap between historical and contemporary left-field artefacts, is the latest offering from Die Welttraumforscher, the enigmatic musical and artistic project of Swiss artist and musician Christian Pfluger. Drawing on 40 years of activity, its 20 discrete compositions - recorded between the early '80s and 2020 - sculpt an image of a creative, sonic universe like few others, as a playful, mutant cousin of industrial music dances with minimalism across the two brilliant sides of the LP.

Die Welttraumforscher’s activities began during the early 1980s, springing from a global movement of DIY music that gave us everything from Nurse With Wound, Daniel Johnson, and Muslimgauze, to Clock DVA, Marc Barreca, Die Tödliche Doris, and Sebadoh. The creative alter ego of Swiss musician Christian Pfluger, the project was first documented by a series of cassette releases, issued on his own Das Moniflabel imprint, which would go on to issue much of the project’s output until the 2010s, spanning more than 30 albums, as well as stories, films and illustrations. While Die Welttraumforscher’s discography has largely remained obscure and difficult to obtain, a number of recent releases, notably Bureau B’s Wir Arbeiten Für Die Nächste Welt - Die Jahre 1991 - 2012 and Die Rückkehr Der Echten Menschheit: Die Jahre 1981 - 1990 have begun bring Pfluger’s singularity and importance into focus, a gathering storm brought further momentum by Folklore des Weltalls 2 (which nods toward Die Welttraumforsche’s 1989 release, Folklore des Weltalls, recently reissued by Planam).

Folklore des Weltalls 2 was conceived by Pfluger and Les Giants as a celebration of Die Welttraumforscher’s 40th anniversary, and gathers material from across roughly the entirety of the project’s prolific run, unveiling the multidimensional and conceptual components that make it so special and unique. It isn’t simply an album, but a map of the alternate cosmic reality within which the music exists, dedicating two songs for every celestial body in the solar system, including Pluto and the Moon, and placing them in the same order that they fall around the Sun (represented by the center of the record). As such, the LP transforms into a map of space, within which, as it spins, small creatures with big, gentle eyes, and characters like the “Moon Pope”, “Kip Eulenmeister” and “Leguan Rätselmann” emerge, depicted with childlike innocence and painstaking attention to detail.

Dancing their way across the album’s two sides, 20 fantastical, dreamy miniatures rise from the sounds of guitar, synth, drum machine, organ, material scraps, voice and tapes, culminating as a rhythmic, pop-lite imagining of bedroom minimalism, drenched in simple melody and rooted in the tradition of DIY. From the hypnotic, to the bristling and confrontational, each piece, working as a perfect complement to the whole, locks itself to the ear and around the heart, echoing long after the record, and its solar system, has ceased to spin.

Resting at the borders of science fiction, metaphysics, and dadaism, all drawn from the banalities of daily life - “coffee, cake and comets" - Die Welttraumforscher’s Folklore des Weltalls 2 is pure gold; incredible, a true revelation, and unlike any other record we are likely to encounter this year. Les Giants has done it again. If ever there was a joyous meeting of experimental music and pure pop, this has to be it. Issued in a very limited edition of 200 copies, with special insert and inner sleeve, housed in a handprinted silkscreen cover, it’s a beauty that shouldn’t be missed.