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Goebbels Heart is a kind of compilation disc, pulling together portions of early-'80s recordings by this duo originally released on the small German label Riskant. At this point in his career, Goebbels (who would later release more atmospheric and experimental albums on ECM) seems to be very much under the influence of composers such as Carla Bley, including the utilization of European workers' songs (Hans Eisler here). Goebbels plays mostly keyboards, both acoustic and electric, while Harth (yes, the "23" is part of his taken name) wields various reeds. Though occasionally multi-tracked, there's an enticing spareness to the album, with Harth's soprano work sounding especially wistful. In the second section (tracks six through 16), vocals are performed with alternating angst and bombast by Dagmar Krause and Ernst Stotzner, using texts by Bertolt Brecht. Two of the final three pieces, recorded three years after the others, are more abstract affairs with stuttering melodic material and found tapes. But the last composition, "Peking-Oper," is the highlight of the disc, based on samples of 20th century Chinese revolutionary opera, which are lovingly abused, twisted, and augmented into a new beast entirely. Interestingly, the Goebbels/Harth piece itself was sampled a decade later by Otomo Yoshihide for his album Revolutionary Pekinese Opera. Listeners who came to know Goebbels' work from his subsequent ECM discs will enjoy hearing his early roots on this hard to find recording.
Cat. number: WWCX 2042