Eberhard Schoener – Trance-Formation (1977)

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Eberhard about “Trance-Formation”: “Back then, I was interested in creating kind of shifting musical layers, a means to let the chorus – almost canonical – come in at certain intervals, like in “Frame of Mind”, the first track on the LP.

This had an incredible effect. We had to be very technically clever, because computers did not exist at that time. So we made tape loops – some as long as 10 meters – and threaded them through the EMI studio recording and each one had to be started at a fixed interval.

Technically speaking, this was a really crazy project and I believe, no record has ever been produced this way before. The whole studio looked like a maze. There were tapes all over the room, hanging on wall ledges or on broomsticks. When I had finished, the time difference of “Frame of Mind”, was caused by the different starts of the tapes, I said to Andy, and Nippy Noya, the percussionist, “Forget about the beat, forget the tact! Play just as you feel. I want to have a complete obliteration of the bar.”

There should be a big bow – a phenomenon, as Celibidache would have called it – that generates a maelstrom. In “Falling into a Trance”, I turned to the “Black & Decker” principle. We named it the “Black & Decker” principle alluding to the advertisement in which the company name is pronounced in a furiously fast, choppy rhythm.

The Moog synthesizer had a sequencer. This sequencer allowed us to repeat certain melodies, thus causing the “Black & Decker” effect. There were many attempts needed before the computer generated sounds like this specific rattle. We were nominated for the” German Record Prize”, as the “Black & Decker” -principle was something completely new.

Later, when I visited a New York nightclub on Long Island, I heard some music and thought, “Oh, my God, I know that sound!”‘ I asked the DJ and then he said: “Munich sound”. I then bought that record, it was number one on the U.S. charts at that time.

When I returned to Germany, I asked my former technician Robert Wedel: “This, I heard in America, the current number one record on the U.S. charts. Did you pass this effect on to someone else?”. “Yes,” he answered, “to Giorgio Moroder. I didn’t know he wanted to use it for himself. Moroder, producer and composer, had added a woman’s voice to the track, I think it was Donna Summer.”

Eberhard was aware only after some time, how far-reaching this reckless act by Robert Wedel was. He knew his engineer well enough to know that it was pure carelessness on Wedel’s part. And with regret, he saw the royalties flowing to Los Angeles. In 1977 he tried in legal proceedings against the multiple Oscar- and Grammy-award winner to get his share out of his hit “I Feel Love”. Eberhard, completely inexperienced with the legal system, lost.

“Falling into a Trance” featured an irresistible magic, the music developing almost a maelstrom. This track was also produced in the EMI studio in Munich in the “Bürgerbräukeller” with its big hall, where Skat and “Schafkopf” (Bavarian card game) – took place in the evenings and by 11 clock the next morning, there were a lot of drunks in the place. It was a strange mood when we left the studio – this atmosphere of beer and drunks and us, trying to invent something new in an experimental field of music. [Source]

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