Thursday, May 18, 2006

Deuter - 'D' & 'Aum'

Kuckuck Records Germany 1971/1972

2 Classic and still fairly unknown German underground Lp's by Deuter. Fans of early Faust, Ashra Temple, Drone Raga, and psychedelic outsider tones will dig this record. I am not just saying this like the millions of albums these days that get touted and don't live up to it. Deuter went on to release probably over 30 records and pretty much found the New Age Ambient scene, though he does not consider himself New Age... One of those dumb terms I guess.

'D', his first Lp has some amazing organ drones and the second track on the album "Der Turm/Fluchpunkt" sounds like faust running a Indian Slide through some Wümme fuzz with some killer percussion in the background. Other tracks delve into some dark Organ Drones with field recordings blended in. Which he takes even further with the following album 'Aum'

'Aum' is a good send off album still with lingering psychedelic moments and lots of strange processing, REVERBBBBB, Sitars, the Ocean, voices, & bongo's... Truly a well rounded and deep album. Heads take note!

From this point you can move forward into the Third Eye of Deuter. A few of the mid 70's records by him and some really nice bits, but by the 1980's its pretty much ambient meditation music. He now lives in New Mexico and still makes music in his home studio for various therapy and relaxation.

Check the Deuter interview in the comments section. He mentions his psychedelic early work.

Download here,


rich said...

Many thanks for the downloads and letting me comment. Quicksharing is working wonderfully. Great selection of yours so far! I'm particularly enjoying Deuter's second album as I've never heard it before. It's made me want to hunt down his third LP Celebration, and the more experimental Headmovie LP by Maschine Nr. 9 on which he collaborated... keep up the good work!

FM SHADES said...

Celebration is a good one as well. Much more pretty and peaceful but some great guitar work.

Anonymous said...

hello there just wanted to say thank you for the great stuff you've put up here, much appreciated

Phil said...

these deuter records are excellent stuff. i'm amazed i han't heard them before. thanks indeed.

ed said...


Pantsy said...

Nice stuff -- I'm surprised it's not a more established part of the kraut canon. thanks for this and everything else.

FM SHADES said...

Deuter: As Far As The Ear Can Listen
Interview by Deva Maya

If Deuter does not give you his exact address you will most likely never find his domain. It is hidden deep within a New Mexican forest he shares with birds, deer, roadrunners, snakes and coyotes. The sound of wind chimes and bees fill the air. Deuter is a beekeeper; recently he’s been regularly visited by a bear who rather indelicately tried to sample the sweet wares of his hives. Between studio sessions you’ll probably find the musician reshaping his pond or crafting zen-like furniture in his workshop. Deuter describes himself as a hermit, a monk, and a wolf living in the wild—and enjoying it. He designed his house using the principles of Feng Shui. The studio, with its large windows and views of the forest, is a sanctuary—a laboratory for music-making that includes instruments from all over the world: Shakuhachi flutes, sitars, tablas, santoors, a Turkish sasz, and a Persian tar; chimes, bowls and Tibetan bells; and of course, keyboards, guitars, and synthesizers. If you are lucky enough to be invited into Deuter’s world while he is recording, you’ll experience a transformation as he disappears into the magic of his music.

NAV: Tell us about your connection with sound. When did you start to connect with music, notes and songs?
Deuter: I remember in early childhood, when I was three- or four-years old. It was in Germany and everything had been destroyed. It wasn’t like now where everybody has a radio or a tape recorder. There were some sales people who used to come around and buy and sell things. They would play three or four notes on a flute to announce their presence and that stirred my soul somehow. That’s the first time I remember hearing music and what it did to me.

NAV: When was the first time that you actually played?
Deuter: I think when I was four. I got a little tin flute and started fiddling around and then I got a mouth organ. I was lying in bed at night and I had this mouth organ and I was breathing in and out; it filled my world with this incredible sound.

NAV: Did you ever go to music school?
Deuter: I had private lessons on the flute and later on the guitar when I was a kid. And I taught myself the piano.

NAV: How did you teach yourself?
Deuter: Well, I taught myself the same way as all the other instruments: I just started to play. Of course, I’m not able to play piano like somebody who can play Bach, but I’ve learned to play what I want on the piano.

NAV: Are there any other musicians in your family?
Deuter: My uncle was a music teacher. I learned from him and a lot from my cousins who played in orchestras. They are pretty well known in Germany. They are solo players who tour and do concerts. And one of my brothers is a music therapist. We have the whole spectrum.

NAV: Tell us a little more about your approach to creating music. How does the music come to you?
Deuter: It just comes by itself. It is like playing, cooking, or anything else.

NAV: But is there something that suddenly inspires you from inside, from outside?
Deuter: Sometimes it comes from the outside, like looking at these leaves I see out the window. I go into the colors, the light, the shape and suddenly I’m given a feeling that may inspire me to create a piece of music. Or sometimes I just go into the studio and start playing an instrument that I love. For me, that is real playing. Not playing in the sense of a classically trained musician who has music in front of him, rather like a child exploring and having fun.

NAV: Many musicians actually have difficulty creating music this way. They have to think about it. Your way is a totally different way. Your way is the way of a child allowing the energy to come through.
Deuter: True. I think that is the creativity we experience or can experience in any area of life. It is not thinking about it at all. It’s hard to even think about the process now. In a way I hesitate to think too much about what happens. I let something happen which creates pleasure for me. It’s funny. It’s a feeling. You could also call it love.

NAV: So love is your magic key!
Deuter: Love is definitely involved when you are doing something you love. I love playing around with the sounds, mixing them together—like a cook does with spices—trying out things and seeing what comes out. Sometimes what emerges is inspiring and sometimes I will throw it away.

NAV: Beethoven could compose after he lost his hearing. There seems to be some people who have the ability to create deep within them.
Deuter: I have been wondering about those things. Why do some people have to try so hard? And for somebody else, it could be a very natural process. I remember times when I picked up a sitar, suddenly a memory of playing the sitar was there. I didn’t know how to play anything. There was no teacher. I bought one in Paris and brought it home to Munich. I was totally fascinated by the sitar, which creates a lot of layers and overtones. I was in my early twenties then.

NAV: Was it very strange that you got connected with an instrument like the sitar?
Deuter: Yeah, this was the sixties. Indian music had just come to Europe and the Beatles had just used the sitar for the first time, but I had heard Ravi Shankar before that. I loved the sound of the sitar. Not this fast playing that they do, but I loved listening to the sound. So, I was sitting in my room that night and I didn’t know anything about this new instrument. I didn’t know how to tune it or anything. Then I called around and I found somebody who told me how to tune it. One night I was sitting there and I had done some meditation. I was fooling around on the sitar and suddenly this music came from inside and I just started to play it. I had a weird feeling like, whoops, I am just listening to it, and somebody else is playing this instrument. It really felt like a memory coming back and telling me how to play this music.

NAV: So this was one of the first moments when you understood that there is something that you couldn’t explain in the creation of the music. That sometimes the music just comes, like you said. It has to come from inside and take you over and suddenly you become a listener.
Deuter: That’s right, you become both. You are the creator and the listener; I think the listener part is the main thing in the music. It is what I always say when somebody asks me how to make music. The main thing is just to listen. You play a note and then you listen to it. That is how it works with me at least. I play one note and I listen to it and that note leads to the next one and that leads to the next one. I didn’t know the whole thing before that.

NAV: Was it the sitar that brought you to India? Tell us a bit more about the relation between your inner journey and the outer journey.
Deuter: I was in Germany and I was working as a journalist and I wasn’t happy. I believed in the stories of society and so I had a job, made a lot of money but didn’t feel at peace. Then one day life took me and kicked me in the butt. I had a bad car accident.

NAV: Was that a turning point in your life?
Deuter: Yes, I was lying there in the hospital and I almost died. I was in a lot of pain and realized that this game is going to be over some day soon. I also realized that I wasn’t doing what I truly wanted to be doing. That became really clear. I was going to a job that was interesting but that I didn’t like very much, and that didn’t fulfill my heart. It didn’t feel like my soul’s purpose was to work at the newspaper. When I got out of the hospital I asked myself, ‘okay, what do I want to do?’ One thing was making music and the other was traveling. So, I quit my job and started traveling. At that time the pull was east. You could still go to Iran, Persia, Afghanistan and India, so I traveled there.

NAV: By bus?
Deuter: No, on foot. I hitchhiked with just a little bag.

NAV: You went alone?
Deuter: I did. I spent a lot of time in Turkey. I listened to the music there and got exposed to the culture. It was totally exciting for me coming out of this so-called Western culture to go to Turkey and make friends with musicians. I sat at weddings and listened to the music being played. And I bought some instruments.

NAV: Instruments you were unfamiliar with?
Deuter: Right. Then I went to Iran and bought more instruments and brought them home to Germany. Then I went to India and got totally fascinated by Indian music. I had a certain dream about India in which everything was almost like paradise. There was music and dancing and everything was colorful and spiritual. But that dream vision died very quickly after I arrived in India. It was actually a pretty cold experience.

NAV: What happened?
Deuter: Well, India is basically a rotten country full of chaos, bad air and other things, but it also has this other side. So I traveled in India.

NAV: Tell me a bit about the other side.
Deuter: The other side is the music and culture. What they have is mainly from the past, but they must definitely have had an incredible culture at one time.

NAV: I’m going to ask a question for the record. Who was the first recorded New Age musician?
Deuter: Well, I think that got settled a while ago. For sure, I did it first in Europe.

NAV: What was the first CD that you ever published?
Deuter: It was just called D. The record company gave it that name. I had called it Babylon. It had a painting of the Tower of Babylon on the cover. While I was away on vacation, the record company changed the title and everything.

NAV: Just “D”—for what?
Deuter: Deuter. Well, in Germany you have the “D” on the license plate. So, it has a double meaning. They thought it was funny but I didn’t. But I was definitely one of the first who used sounds of nature in his music. Now everyone is doing it but I put out the first CD with music and nature sounds.

NAV: Were they sampled sounds?
Deuter: No. We had real bird sounds and nature sounds. We had sounds of water because I loved this so much. When I was sitting out in nature, I was hearing music. Listening to the birds was just as beautiful as listening to music, actually most of the time even better. While listening to the wind and listening to the water, I really enjoyed going out in nature with headphones and a tape recorder and sitting there for hours and finding spaces to record water and ocean waves. When I traveled, I took a tape recorder and recorded big waves, small waves, Indian Ocean waves, Mediterranean waves; waves from the Atlantic, and the Pacific. Just listening to waves brings you into a timeless space.

NAV: So you are continuing with sound that was started in the sixties. How did you record back in those days?
Deuter: I think I was one of the first that I know of who started to record the music in his own place. I tried working in a recording studio and I realized it didn’t work for me because I had to be there at a certain time and there was a lot of pressure. There were people talking and there was stuff going on and then when I had to sit down and play something, the environment was not right. I didn’t have a fixed, composed piece that I was playing. I needed some trees, space, and silence—a temple-like space. So I started to do this by myself at home.

NAV: What is your ideal space to record your music?
Deuter: I don’t want to sit in a cave somewhere or in a basement without windows. I need a place where it is quiet. I need a place where there are no airplanes constantly flying overhead and no traffic going by. Santa Fe is still a relatively small place and the only capitol in the U.S. without a large airport. So far it’s a quiet place. I tried to live in Santa Barbara, California, but it was just too noisy. I couldn’t work there. So it is hard to find somewhere on this planet that works, since I don’t want to live in Alaska.

NAV: Now, all these people who buy and love your music, you don’t really know them. What kind of connection do you have with them?
Deuter: I don’t know them. That’s really sad because sometimes I wish I could know them. Sometimes I would really like that contact. Sometimes when I’m traveling, I meet people who really know and love my music.

NAV: What kind of people are they?
Deuter: Sometimes they are really beautiful and I am really touched by the feedback I get from people. It gives me a lot of juice and energy. And then, of course, there are some people who don’t really hear the music and have their own ideas about life and they take my music and fit it in there. As long as they are just using the music that’s fine, but if they’re trying to fit me into some category, it won’t work.

NAV: So if you tell a little bit about who you are, while expressing your music, what can you say?
Deuter: Well, the whole process is changing for me. In the beginning, I did the music totally for myself. It was my own healing, my own growing up. It was my own awakening process to make the music and I had to make music just like you have to take medicine. I had to make the music.

NAV: When you did the project Reiki, Hands of Light, you also made it healing music.
Deuter: I love doing this type of music because there is certain serenity. There is a theme that is for someone else and I cannot necessarily come in with what I want to do. It is even allowing certain energy to express itself. In this case, the energy of Reiki.

NAV: So you basically made space for that energy to come through, and you have done Reiki yourself so you know how to connect with that energy. What about Nada Himalaya? It’s a mystery, but this recording of only bells and chimes is doing really well. How did that album come to be?
Deuter: I developed it over a long period of time and I started doing it for someone else, not for myself. I used it in workshops I was giving and people liked it. I was also using it in my own meditation. Then I tried to get it published and nobody wanted to publish it.

NAV: Has it been a challenge to find a record label who could support and understand the value of meditation music?
Deuter: Yes, it has been challenging to find the right chemistry. And for my creativity it is vital to have a good connection, because the company is the door for the music to get out into the world. I’ve done four albums with New Earth Records and that seems to be working really well. New Earth has built its reputation on meditation music. And I have a long connection with the owners, Bhikkhu and Waduda. Many years ago we made the Osho Active Meditation series together—the Dynamic, Kundalini, Nadabrahma and Nataraj meditations. They’ve been very supportive, not only of my music, but they’re also working as my publisher. Right now we are working on a co-production project with Volkswagen in Germany, which we’re very excited about. It feels like I’ve come home.

NAV: You have lived fifteen years here in New Mexico. What kind of influence has this had on you and your music?
Deuter: This is definitely the place that I have stayed the longest in my whole life. I’ve already tried to escape from here twice and I came back. Usually, at least for a long time, I would do one CD and then move on to a different place in a different country. I have lived in places for five to seven years and then there was a change in the air and it was time to move on. This place is very grounding for me. It is a very good place to make my music. I also like the open spaces here.

NAV: The cosmic feeling?
Deuter: The cosmic feeling in the sky. It is the expansion of our small mind here. I feel that I see the planet earth, our solar system, galaxies, and then I see the inside roads.

NAV: What about Garden of the Gods?
Deuter: Garden of the Gods was the first time I tried to do anything with the human voice. I know that it is the greatest instrument because we are the instrument, but I had never really done anything with it. I had used a little of my own voice in some of my recording and I had used overtone singing and in concerts and workshops. But I had never featured voice on a CD. There is a female voice and I sing myself and, yeah, I was definitely going into unknown territory.

NAV: It is beautiful to listen to. What do you think these days about so-called “New Age” music? Where is it going? How do you fit into this category?
Deuter: Where New Age music is going exactly, I have no idea. I don’t know much about it. I am actually happy in the way that it exists. When I first started doing this type of music, some people liked it. Some people asked what it was and some people said that there was something missing because they were used to listening to words and songs. I won’t use words because I feel there’s too much of the mind wrapped up in words. Stories like “baby you left me... baby you came back...” Of course, there could be a way of using words, but for me words keep the music in a certain realm. Words take the music in a certain direction. It is not my thing. I don’t think I ever want to use lyrics, but other people do that just fine and that’s great. When my music first came out there was no category for it in music stores. People who wanted to buy it didn’t know where to look for it because it didn’t fit within rock music, and it didn’t fit within jazz.

NAV: What’s your connection with electronic music?
Deuter: When the synthesizer first came into being, I didn’t like it at all because the electronic sound had a very limited range. There was very little overtone structure and very little transition into silence. An acoustic instrument or human voice, on the other hand, starts in time and ends in time, but on the vertical line, it goes on forever. It goes up and up and up and gets finer and finer. It stays there. Synthesizer tones have a very limited range, which you feel when you really go into the music. You get this feeling that you are sitting in a plastic bag. They have improved since the beginning, but I have never used just a synthesizer. I always like to use acoustic instruments with it. On the positive side, though, you could create sounds with a synthesizer that you couldn’t do before. Suddenly there was a whole range of colors in sound that had only existed in my head before. For my first and second albums, I had a certain sound in mind, but I couldn’t make it because there were no machines like that yet. So I went out and recorded telephone lines in the wind because they made a sound that was close.

NAV: How did you discover that sound?
Deuter: I put my ear to a telephone pole and discovered that it was singing! It made a beautiful sound that makes sense because the wind played on the strings and the wooden pole conducted the sound.

NAV: And later did you find the sounds you were looking for on a synthesizer?
Deuter: Yes. Later, you could create those sounds, you know... floating sounds and airy sounds. It’s a curse and it’s a blessing. Now I can have some drum samples from somewhere in Africa, and I can use them and make a piece of music. I wouldn’t be able to play the drum myself like that.

NAV: What about the difference between analog and digital recording?
Deuter: Well, some people say analog is more natural. I don’t think that’s true. I just think our ears have gotten used to analog sound over the years. I don’t think it makes such a difference. At the beginning, digital recording sounded pretty harsh and clinical, but that has changed. But both of these recording styles are only able to reflect a certain spectrum of the music; neither of them is actually bringing you the real music. There is always something missing. It’s totally different if you have someone playing live or if you listen to a recording, but it’s better than nothing. And, at least from the technical side, it’s much easier to work with the digital stuff because you don’t have these problems, so I am actually very grateful for the digital; it makes a few things easier.

NAV: Have you ever experienced healing while playing music?
Deuter: I always like the story of the famous cellist Pablo Pascal. He had arthritis and couldn’t move his body anymore. When he picked up the cello and started playing, he wasn’t feeling his pain anymore. That is an experience I have also had. I can sit in a concert with this problem, that problem, or pain, but the moment I start playing the pain disappears.

NAV: Is there something from inside, something intimate, some gift you can give to the people who love your music?
Deuter: Well, the music itself is the message. I see how the music goes out and creates all these lines of energy, these connections, connections of love that come back to me and go back out again in the form of music all over the planet.

NAV: What has the music given you?
Deuter: It has given me so much on all levels. It has given me this chance to dance with myself. It has given me love and oneness. It has given me life on a material level so I can live here and do music. I made this contract with myself a long time ago that I would surrender to the music, which means making music the way it comes out and not thinking about it. I decided to trust that the music would take care of all the other stuff. It has worked out pretty well actually.

- Deva Maya interviewed Deuter at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
- New Age Voice Magazine

Gianni said...

excellent post:
I like it!!!
thank you

New Earth Records said...

Thanks for spreading Deuter's music. His more recent recordings can be found through New Earth Records.