The world of my past years is covered by a veil of golden silk. I remember friends, concerts, endless summer days and lonely nights amidst the falling snow. But still, all images in my mind are blurred by the mist of time. Sometimes I think I can just reach out and touch these pictures, sense them and turn them back into reality. Alas! They draw back and remain a shadow of a dream. Forever remain.
The year? The time? It is a wet winter afternoon in 1993. I complete a practical training in an IT company in the small German town Löbau and have just called it a day. I try not to slip on the slick ground as I make my way to the railroad stations. The music in my earphones ("Black Leather" by The Klinik) doesn't help much to raise my mood. In fact, I shiver and shake, feel cold and colder.Halfway I stop, wondering if there is something I've forgotten. Wasn't there this appointment?
Some months ago I had met a young man at the infamous Steinhaus Club in Bautzen. It was my first night at this club and I knew nobody except my girlfriend, and yet, I was so impressed by the weird music they played. It was a crazy blend of early Goth songs and assorted Punk tracks. I was not quite new to the dark music scene, but my musical horizon was located somewhere between The Cure, Dead Can Dance and Fields Of The Nephilim.
Can you imagine my excitement when I spent the night in this club and for the very first time heard and danced to songs like "Sono L'Antichristo" (Diamanda Galas) or "Haus Der Lüge" (Einstürzende Neubauten)? Yes, it was back then when you could go to a club to get to know new music. The arguable joys of YouTube and Facebook were still hidden somewhere in the depths of times to come. Oh how I miss this time.When the DJ pulled the plug in that night, a small group of black-coated folks set off to the railroad stations. One of them, a tall, long-haired young man with a Sisters Of Mercy T-shirt, couldn't stop singing one of the great songs of the evening: "Born In A Womb, Died In A Tomb", he chanted, again and again.Before he left the train in Löbau, we had exchanged addresses.
The light starts to fade and I slow down. Should I stay or should I go? My girlfriend is not yet at home, and so I fumble for that address in my bag. Yes, there it is.I ring. Footsteps behind the door. The father of the young man is opening and I may enter the flat. (What a time! He never saw me before: An odd guy in black clothes and with funny hair. Anyway, no questions, just a slightly strange gaze. I may enter.)
What next, what do you think? Sex and drugs and Jesus Christ? Conspiracy plans and streams of whiskey? Think again. We listen to music, we talk and listen to music and over again. I envy his beautiful "This Is Heresy" 12" EP – so we copy the music to tape cassette, as well as some other extremely rare stuff. The infinite world of music: Isn’t it a topic to talk about for ages? For the next weeks and months we meet on a regular basis.
But there is one particular event that has burned into my mind. One day he searched in his music collection and brought a tape cassette to light that was apparently a copy of a copy. Of course I made another copy, not really improving the sound quality this way. When I went home on that evening, I listened to the songs on this cassette. At first I thought my Walkman had conked out, but then I realized that this was in fact the first song, it was a brutal track by Whitehouse. The next song changed the mood dramatically, it was Boyd Rice and Friends with "People". Every following song was a total surprise. But what truly struck me down this night was a mysterious track called "Bei Einbrechender Nacht" by the French project Les Joyaux De La Princesse. It immediately brought images of the last days of World War II to my mind and was an overwhelming mixture of droning synthesizers and sampled speeches from old radio broadcasts. I know, this is quite usual today, but back in the early Nineties... it was totally new to my ears. I can’t remember every song on this tape, but other remarkable tunes where "Long Lankin" by Fire + Ice, "Fall Apart" by Death In June, "Electricity" by Blood Axis and many, many more.
This changed my life.
I think this simple copy of a copy of a copy of a tape cassette gave me a first hint of the richness of the musical cosmos. Don't get me wrong, I grew up with classical music and fell in love with the melodies of Chopin when I was just 13 years old. But here I had found an utterly new and fascinating universe. Up to this point I had recorded some own music to tape cassettes, mostly influenced by German bands like Das Ich and Goethes Erben. But I think this particular compilation has even changed my own musical direction. So when I finally debuted with my own project Verney 1826 on the American label "Shinto Records", I just had to credit a lot of the influences to the aforesaid bands and artists.
More than 20 years are gone now and the times, they are a-changin'. Today I live in Berlin, work full-time as an IT administrator and try to record new songs whenever there is some free time. The girlfriend of 1993 has become my beloved wife in 2002, and in 1999, our son Ivo was born. (Yes, Ivo, named after this magical Cocteau Twins song, but don't tell him!).
My friend still lives in Löbau and was a founding member of bands like Dies Natalis, Seelenthron and Stein.
You are right, Norbert: Back then, we thought all things would last forever. They didn't. What about our memories? Is our remembrance just a dream of a shadow of smoke? It isn't. The world of our early years is covered by a veil of golden silk. But the pictures will remain in our souls forever.
Text contains quotes by Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, Christian Death, The Clash, The Pogues, Bob Dylan, Current 93
Categories: DUSK MEMORIES