** Edition limited to 350 copies including a large booklet with sinister photos, surreal drawings and lyrics in German and English. ** Right on time for its 30th anniversary, “Herzschlag Erde”, cassette debut album of Die Welttraumforscher, is being re-released in a collaborative effort between the labels Planam and A Tree In A Field. The new, limited vinyl edition includes a large-format, 20-page booklet as well as the previously unreleased follow-up album, “Verdunkelt die Sinne”. Die Welttraumforscher is one of Switzerland’s most enigmatic musical projects, with a catalog that not only spans more than 30 albums, but also films, stories and countless illustrations.
These documents are the only proof that Die Welttraumforscher actually exists. Small creatures with big, gentle eyes, more reminiscent of friendly ghosts than of scientists (Forscher), are depicted with child-like innocence and painstaking attention to detail. Their universe also includes such characters as the “Moon Pope”, Kip Eulenmeister and Leguan Rätselmann. Together, they experience weird adventures with a touch of science fiction, metaphysics and dadaism. As Die Welttraumforscher themselves put it: “We are working for the next world”. No wonder that those of us stuck in the here-and-now are not always able to make sense of it. The man behind this phantom band is only mentioned in the small print: “Lyrics, music and illustrations by Christian Pfluger for Die Welttraum-forscher”. Not unlike musical kindred spirits The Residents, Pfluger remains in the shadows, creating a mystique. However, instead of concealing or disguising himself at shows, he just very rarely plays live at all. This veil of mystery, the borderline-esoteric mysticism, plus the fact that the lyrics are almost exclusively in German, might explain to some degree why Die Welttraumforscher have always led a niche existence. Among musicians, however, they have already gained cult status. Mouse on Mars, Neoangin, and Harald «Sack» Ziegler are just a few known admirers. Together with other musicians, they released a remix LP on Felix Kubin’s Gagarin label in 1999. Other well-known aficionados are Dieter Meier (Yello) and German astronaut Hans-Joachim Roloff. “Herzschlag Erde” sets a musical and artistic course that has remained largely unchanged in the following 30 years. New, affordable technology such as the 4-track-cassette home studio made it possible to record music alone and with simple equipment; “We work with what we have, not with what we’d like to have”. Technological constraints are compensated by an unbounded imagination, yet the final result remains playful and intriguing. The opening track, “Traum der Welt” (i.e. Dream of the World), is also a manifesto of sorts: “...they are [...] coming to us. Die Welttraumforscher, music from the far end of our thoughts, Neither-Nor sounds, and dance ambushes”.