What you hear are rich bass sounds, distinctive drums, guitar, flute and saxophone electronically alienated by echo, ringmodulators, octavoice, vibrators and sound filters - all this leads to the conclusion that the subconscious communication during the process of music making and a collective processing of sound images and moods are in foreground. "It sounds like wild animals, goblins, imps and witches on brooms", was the comment of one mother. A live concert of the group Kollektiv could be interpreted in all sorts of ways. Since their formation in early 1970 their music had attracted a growing number of fans, and until 1975, when this first formation split up, the group had played in nearly every club in Germany. They had a wide variety of headlines in the press, such as "Krefeld amateurs showed modern jazz at its best in the club Cartoon", "Jazz musicians breaking new grounds", "Collective interpretations", "Krefeld Rock Group Kollektiv - a creative unity", "Music by Kollektiv: appealing and catching", "2000 enthusiastic fans at the rock festival saw a pop-rock-jazz-formation." The band's official information sheet is able to tell us: Kollektiv has existed since early 1970. Guitarist Jürgen Havix and drummer Waldemar Karpenkiel used to make commercial pop music and had been founding members of the "Generals", one of the most popular pop groups of the left lower Rhine region. Jürgen Karpenkiel (bass guitarist) had played in several groups together with Ralf Hütter (Kraftwerk). Klaus Dapper, flute and saxophone (formerly with Isaias Feuerwagen) had played with the famous
composer and church musician Peter Janssen. Together with him he made radio, TV and record recordings, and went on a South America tour in summer 1971. The music of the group features elements of pop, jazz and blues. Part of their music is arranged, but their themes do leave a lot of room for free interpretations. Their most important aim is to invent their own, independent music with today's musical tools for expression, and a spontaneity that will appeal to their listeners. Who? Why? What?
Founding member Klaus Dapper answered these questions in early 1974, in an article that appeared in the contemporary magazines Sounds and Pop.
Kollektiv? Who are they? In early 1970 Jogi Karpenkiel called me and asked me whether I felt like opening a new group together with him and two of his friends. We had first met in 1967, I think, when I had joined a blues group in Krefeld, where he had played together with Ralf Hütter, long before Ralf joined Kraftwerk. Jogi wastelling me that he and the other two guys had been playing English and American style music the past few years (bibabaluma schis mei bebi!) and were pretty sick of it now. They really wanted to have a go at their own music and I was feeling the same, but had got tangled up in jazz pretty much. But then, at a Zappa concert, the Mothers got to me so much that I swore to myself: no more jazz. This paved the way for our first rehearsals together, and since then Kollektiv has existed in its original formation: Jogi Karpenkiel plays the bass guitar and takes care of most of the organisation for the group. Waldemar Karpenkiel, Jogi's twin brother, plays the drums. Jürgen Harvix plays the guitar and other string instruments, many of which he makes himself, and Klaus Dappner plays the flute and the saxophone. What does the name Kollektiv stand for?
Well, no, we did not share the typical farmhouse. But still, the name expresses what we feel we are. We do have different social and musical backgrounds, but I know few bands that are as close as we are and whose members share the same aims and values, not just with regard to music. We do not separate into soloist and accompanist (rhythm slave). Each musician and each instrument has the same rights. Our pieces aren't individual compositions; they are born out of and grow through creative collaboration. After all, our name is saying: we are our own roadies, manager, technicians, bus-driver, record producers and article writers, and three of us share the same birthday.
What kind of music does Kollektiv make?
More than enough has been said about the jungle of terms that serve to obscure musical styles rather than describe them. But how can one describe ones own music without using one or more of these rubber terms? We tried out a possible solution on our record covers, by including a sliding game with the letters of the most common terms jazz, rock and pop. The letters can be shifted so as to create individual terms for our music, like Pap-Jack or Rozz-Pack. But now to our music: we think that the virtuosity of the instruments and the complexity of melody and harmony is overrated in some areas of jazz. For non experts, it might seem like a duel between listener and musician is going on, and the musician wins when his music is more complex than the listener can tolerate. On the other hand, the texts, melodies, arrangements and improvisations in Rock and Pop are often terribly lacking in imagination and are kind of dull. Even if it is effective, we think it is unfair to dazzle people with lightshows and circus gags, or (more commonly) press them down into their seats with noises resembling pneumatic drills, whenever the music alone does not cut it. This way you raise non-critical listeners. Kollektiv tries to blend these forms with other forms of music (free music, electronic music), without making the same mistakes. The structure of our music is more simple than usual in jazz, instead we pay more attention to sounds and moods. We mainly do improvisations. Even the themes and arranged parts were once improvised. We try to expand the tone quality by sometimes strong electronic alienation of the guitar, flute and saxophone, and apart from the "small underground-set" fuzz tone and wah-wah, we use echo, octavoice, phaser, ringmodulators, vibrators and sound filters. In our experience, our music is equally accepted by both jazz and rock people, since they both find sufficient elements of "their" music in what we do. So let's call it "Rock-Jazz". This is what Klaus Dapper wrote in 1973.
This CD is the first in a series of live-recordings of the band Kollektiv done between 1973-1978, and will particularly appeal to those who love experimental progressive rock music. The live appearance on stage is particularly suited to bring out their musical genius. The CD "SWF-Sessions", already published in 2001 on Long Hair (LHC05) is an impressive proof for how well the band was able to play live. Although the recordings were not done during a live concert, they were recorded in the SWF studio under live conditions, which means without the possibility for corrections or overdubs.
Translation: Dr. Martina Häusler
Manfred Steinheuer, March 2005
1. Rapunzel 08:06
2. Subo 15:33
3. Rambo Zambo 24:20
4. Förster-Lied 01:53
5. Gageg (excerpt) 12:44