This will not be your standard CD review, where the reviewer tells you what s/he liked, or not, about the CD, along with some comments about the music. It’s impossible to lay out in a brief review what this music is or is not, and what one or two listenings might impart to the listener. I tried to provide a sketch of this music, which should be sufficient for you to get a small taste, enough so that you’ll seek out more. If you’re adventurous and enjoy exploration, I think you’ll find Conrad Schnitzler’s compositions interesting at least, and perhaps enjoyable. If you’re stuck in one genre of music, you probably won’t.
Sonic anarchy: that’s what Schnitzler’s music can be. It can also be near-dead calm, underpinned with symphonic serenity. Both can happen within the same movement, yet it doesn’t sound incongruous.
Each new Schnitzler recording or performance is inevitably a completely new experience for the creator as well as the listener. And because it may be played differently from one time to the next, it can be a totally new experience each time. Schnitzler once said that his music "is like the piece[s] of a jigsaw [puzzle], but the jigsaw doesn’t have just one way of being put together, it has limitless ways and the final picture that is created can be disturbing, fragmented, pleasant, peaceful, tonal, atonal ... anything!”
To properly understand Schnitzler or his music, one needs to read some background, which I hope to lay out in subsequent articles. This background will take on the form of an occasional series of articles, under the heading of "Krautrock and 1960s Berlin," as well as in later CD reviews. Schnitzler's history in music would be impossible to lay out in a brief CD review, so I won’t even try just now. Google the keywords below for additional details.
Schnitzler collaborated with Big Robot for this CD. You'll get plenty of hits if you Google Schnitzler's name, but very few for Big Robot. Here are some details I turned up on Big Robot--a Norwegian group, not to be confused with the American group of the same name. Big Robot is new to me, so what I’ve managed to learn is from the Internet. The information available on the Web is sketchy at best, and I’ve received nothing from the company which published this record. However, I did find this quote by the group:
We are guided by NO restricting theories, NO harmonic boundaries, NO compulsive reliance on melodies (in fact, we shun them almost totally) nor any concept of meeting up to the taste or preferences of a market or even an audience. This music was produced for the sake of itself. There is no concept but the CON-cept.
Which makes them fit right in with Schnitzler.