Conrad Schnitzler, prolific German musician who was in early lineups of Kosmische (or krautrock, as the genre became known to English-speaking audiences) groups Tangerine Dream and Kluster, passed away due to cancer on August 4. He was 74.
Schnitzler appeared on Tangerine Dream’s first album, ‘Electronic Meditation,’ and he was a founding member of seminal krautrock group Kluster, along with Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. Three albums were released under the Kluster name before Schnitzler left in 1971 to work with his other group, Eruption. Moebius and Roedelius continued on as Cluster and actively recorded and toured on and off until 2010.
Eruption were not so much a typical gigging and recording group, but more of a free-form improvisational group with a revolving membership. Music journalist David Keenan described Eruption in a 2005 article for The Wire as “…a multidisciplinary freeform ensemble put together by cellist, violinist and early electronic improvisor Conrad Schnitzler in 1970 as an adjunct to his work with Kraut bahamoths [sic] Tangerine Dream and Kluster. They seem to have functioned more as a thinktank for the then explosive Krautrock scene…”
After Eruption, Schnitzler became a solo artist, self-releasing literally dozens of experimental and electronic home recordings, many as one-offs or limited releases. He became known as Con to his friends. Around the turn of the century, Schnitzler and Roedelius collaborated for the first time in nearly three decades, resulting in the 2001 release ‘Acon 2000/1.’ In 2007, Schnitzler revived the Kluster name, putting out two albums on the Real Vine Music label, and also re-releasing some recordings from 1971 and 1972 which had previously been put out under Eruption’s name.
Schnitzler’s final work, ’00/830,’ was made four days before his death. Before he died, he sent his own hairs to places around the world to be buried, as part of the Global Living Project. Fans, friends and family can pay their respects to Con at nine different locations across the globe, including Mt. Fuji, the Fairy Glen at Sefton Park in Liverpool, and Nordkapp, Norway. Schnitzler described the concept behind the Global Living Project in poem form:
“Since some time, I globalize me.
Why just living in one country,
why just sleeping in one country,
why just being buried only in one country,
now that we think and live globally.
“I would like to be at beautiful places in the world,
without to move me from my place here.
I send my DNA (my hair) to different places in the world.
This means I’m all over the world.
I’m everywhere, even when I’ll be dead.
Nobody must come to my grave in Berlin.
My friends can visit me in the whole world now.
“So if friends want to give me a place…., welcome.
I’ll send a DNA sample to bury me.
I am in the whole world at home now. I love this feeling.”