Felix Kubin

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About Felix Kubin

Legendary German eccentric Felix Kubin has been creating music and art for nearly his entire life. His extensive resumé includes radio plays, Dadaist synth pop, chamber orchestra music, film work, and experimental noise. He began recording minimal wave and post-punk in the early 1980s, later forming electro-acoustic noise project Klangkrieg near the end of the decade. After composing soundtracks to animations by Mariola Brillowska (compiled on 1998's Filmmusik), he returned to making abstract electro-pop -- 2011 release Bruder Luzifer collects the best of his more accessible material. Two releases credited to Felix Kubin und das Mineralorchester have touched on his extensive work for theatrical productions and experimental broadcasts. Kubin has worked with chamber group Ensemble Intégrales, French-German kitsch-meisters Stereo Total, and Polish percussionist Hubert Zemler, among many others. Felix Knoth was born in Hamburg in 1969. He studied various instruments as a child, including piano, organ, and glockenspiel, but the acquisition of a Korg MS-20 synthesizer in 1980 kick-started his experiments with electronic music. He began recording countless tapes of bizarre avant-pop songs, filled with manic rhythms and absurd lyrics. He formed Die Egozentrischen 2 with Stefan Mohr in 1982, and the duo played a notorious live show at Hamburg's Möbel Perdú gallery in 1984. German independent label Zickzack (home to releases by Einstürzende Neubauten and X Mal Deutschland) had intended to release some of Knoth's early music in 1985, but plans fell through. In 1987, Knoth and Tim Buhre founded the experimental project Klangkrieg, creating a Futurist-inspired mélange of organized artificial and natural sounds. The duo performed concerts that incorporated analog sound processing, tape effects, multiphonic loudspeaker installations, and visual presentations (or sometimes complete darkness). They released several albums, beginning with a self-titled effort in 1993. In 1992, Knoth, then an art student in Hamburg, co-founded a socialist Dadaist party called KED (Kommunistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands). The satirical organization's musical wing was named Liedertafel Margot Honecker, and they released two 7" EPs of unabashedly propagandistic anthems (which the artist insists were intended as non-ironic morale boosters). After attracting an unexpected amount of newspaper coverage, the group ended in 1994. Knoth began using the last name Kubin in 1998, when he founded Gagarin Records. The label's first release was Filmmusik, which contained his music for two animated films by Mariola Brillowska. Kubin also began frequently issuing 7" singles, ranging from hypnotic space-lounge lullabies to warped sci-fi pop. An 8-bit techno EP, Jetlag Disko, appeared in 2000 on A-Musik, which issued several other Kubin releases during the decade. Tesla's Aquarium, with frequent collaborator Pia Burnette, was released by Storage Records that year. Kubin's early recordings finally saw the light of day in 2003, when The Tetchy Teenage Tapes of... was issued by DAT Politics' Ski-pp imprint. Solo release Matki Wandalki appeared in 2004, and compilation Atoma Exi Mono was issued by Russian label Solnze Records in 2005. Also that year, Die Egozentrischen 2's music was released for the first time, on a limited LP titled Der Aufstand Der Chemiker. In 2006, Kubin and Coolhaven issued Suppe Für Die Nacht, which included the jaunty, self-deprecating single "There Is a Garden," one of Kubin's most well-known songs. Kubin wrote the music for Brillowska's musical H.O.N.D. House of National Dog, which was released in 2007. Also released that year were Detached from All Objects (with Burnette) and Axolotl Lullabies, a collection of remixes and compilation tracks. Music for Theatre and Radio Play, credited to Felix Kubin und das Mineralorchester, was issued by Dekorder in 2008. The same label also released Echohaus, a collaboration with Ensemble Intégrales, in 2010. Kubin issued a DVD, Fernsehpropheten, collecting music videos, films, and live clips. Australia's Omni Recording Corporation released Bruder Luzifer, the most comprehensive roundup of Kubin's pop material, in 2011. TXRF, a full-length of experimental pieces based on X-rays, was issued by It's in 2012. Later in the year, Minimal Wave released Teenage Tapes, another set of Kubin's early recordings, and his radio play Orphée Mécanique was issued by Intermedium Records. Avant-pop album Zemsta Plutona, including Kubin's Klaus Nomi-inspired cover of "Lightning Strikes," saw release on multiple labels in 2013. Also appearing that year was Bakterien & Batterien, his collaboration with Polish experimental big band Mitch & Mitch. Another radio play, Chromdioxidgedächtnis, was issued in 2014, and II: Music for Film and Theatre came out in 2016. A split LP with Splitter Orchestra, Shine On You Crazy Diagram, appeared the same year. Takt Der Arbeit, a percussion-heavy work commissioned by North German Radio, was issued by Editions Mego in 2017. Hamburg label V I S released Max Brand Studie IV/Topia, an LP containing two works composed for installations, in 2019. Kubin and Hubert Zemler, who previously contributed to Takt Der Arbeit, formed the duo CEL, and their self-titled debut was issued by Bureau B in 2020. ~ Paul Simpson

Hamburg, West Germany

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