“Das Hertz” revisited

“Das Hertz” was a free-improvisation, jazz/rock/experimental band that existed between 2006 and 2009:

Martin Ziegler – keyboards
Michael Peters – guitar
Guido Erfen – bass
Wolfgang Dieckmann – drums

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We only did one or two gigs but we recorded lots of sessions in the rehearsal room – not in a real professional way, we just put a stereo digital recorder somewhere to document our efforts.

Sometimes we kept searching for the muse, but very often, the music really took off. Too bad the audience was so small, it really was a great band at times! There is 1970s Jazzrock in the mix … a healthy dose of Krautrock … the sounds of Progressive Rock sprinkled all over … and very often, a main ingredient is sheer madness.

We usually played as a quartet, occasionally with some guests, but some of the albums/podcasts were recorded on days without Martin, our genius piano player – we were in power trio territory then, and that was always a very special experience for me.

Luckily Guido, our bass player, spent a considerable amount of work turning these recordings into two albums (“initial” and “electric gentry”) and after that, into quasi-albums that he called ‘podcasts’. He edited the recordings, did lots of mixing and mastering, he invented track titles, and he created artwork (being a painter, he did a very creative job). And as a programmer, he created the official Das Hertz website, putting all the recordings on archive.org, under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike-Licence.

I recently listened to some of the recordings on archive.org and for some reason, the site had problems streaming on that day. So I decided, being a fan of Bandcamp, to put everything on Bandcamp as well. So now, you can listen to the complete archive of Das Hertz on Bandcamp if you wish.

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And I made a selection of my favorite tracks. I called it “M-Theory“. You know, guitar strings, string theory, and my first name. Some of the tracks still really amaze me. My own playing amazes me, it is often something I couldn’t reproduce, something that I couldn’t do on my own – I need a great band like this to catalyse my muse into coming out and doing this.

The first track (“Hunting the Drama Waltz”, whatever that means) is a lengthy improvisation that features the power trio – Guido and Wolli, the rhythm group, laying out a fast relentless harmonically open groove for me to take off in whichever direction I wanted to fly. On this piece I play guitar but also guitar-midi-driven virtual keyboards.

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Bohemian Polyphony 2016

My loop guitar colleague Gerd Weyhing had invited a few musicians to spend five days in a castle in the Bohemian mountains in the northern Czech Republic, in a remote village called Trebušín, to make music together. So we met in August 2016 in Castle Kalich, eight musicians and one self-declared non-musician, and spent these days musicking, talking, cooking, walking.

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Leander Reininghaus (g,b,keyb), Michael Peters (g), Bernd-Michael Land (synth), Birgit Rehse (voc,g,keyb), Volker Lankow (perc), Gerd Weyhing (g), Wolf Red (synth), Bianca G. (voc,keyb), Joris Donkel (“non-musician”), Pavel Vurmik (house master)

To me, these days felt almost like what I imagine a late sixties Krautrock hippie music commune must have felt, for a few days, complete with a quiet idyllic countryside, an old castle just for ourselves, a campfire every evening, and absolutely no plans, only music. House master Pavel took good care of us and even showed us around his beautiful nearby hometown Litoměřice.

I had brought two guitars, various analog and digital gear, and my tape loop system that I had used for a concert a week before in Berlin. My little workstation looked like this:

We recorded hours of improvisations, some of which were quite inspired. Sadly, my own contributions (some of which felt really great when I played them) were not recorded due to some glitch. Bummer!  but then, we did it for the moment, not so much to create recordings. There will be an official CD release, and I will be listed I think, however … next time, we’ll be more careful with the recording.

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We all loved these fun days and the company of very diverse and interesting musicians, and human beings. We look forward to another week together, maybe next year.