LP version. Composer and conceptual artist Conrad Schnitzler (1937-2011) was one of the most influential figures of the electronic avant-garde in Germany. In 1967/68, the Joseph Beuys student founded the Zodiak Free Arts Lab, which became a playground for Berlin subculture. In addition to many other musical stations, bustling Schnitzler was a member of the kraut-electronic formations Tangerine Dream and Kluster. Numerous solo releases complete his extensive oeuvre. One of them is Con 84, probably his most composed work, on which he challenges the traditions of so-called Ernste Musik. The result is a complex electronic sound structure that marks a break with Schnitzler's previous work in a subversive flirtation with traditionalism.
"... Con 84 is evidently the product of a computer-supported sound generator -- a sampler. The original LP came completer with sheet music inserts, so a music printer must also have been part of the package. It is hard to say which instruments Schnitzler had at his disposal in the early 1980s. And more to the point, where did he record these pieces? Was he still at Peter Baumann's Paragon Studio? Leaving such questions aside, what really matters here is the opportunity to gain an insight into Schnitzler's complex musical imagination and powers. It appears as if he wanted to show the listener that he can still compose in the classical sense, creating a series of miniatures which are not so far away from the infinite glittering patterns of the existing Schnitzler cosmos. Con 84 lines up polyphonic compositions from start to finish. John Cage, Fluxus, randomness -- nowhere to be seen. Schnitzler the traditionalist? A highbrow composer? On the contrary. Just as he so marvelously subverted common conceptions of art, Schnitzler crafted Con 84 to sound like Ernste Musik -- serious (classical) music. He was a master of camouflage (with a wink of the eye) and repeated the trick nine years later on the French release CD Con Brio. Following Schnitzler has always meant being ready to expect the unexpected. When he could, and had the financial means to do so, Schnitzler liked to use the latest technology. Con 84 was technologically advanced for its time, yet the music was paradoxically conventional..." --Asmus Tietchens, 2022