Michael Hoenig - Departure from the Northern Wasteland. 1978 Germany

Michael Hoenig's only 70's solo venture turned out to be one of the finest of the Berlin School albums from the time, comparable to similar era works from both Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. This was not by accident. Hoenig himself is part of Berlin underground royalty having been a key figure of the pioneering Agitation Free from the early 70s. This was followed by a fine collaboration with Manuel Gottsching (not released until the 90s), and then a brief few months stint as Peter Baumann's replacement in Tangerine Dream. His education with these masters was not lost, and here he provides some fine sequencing, unique tape manipulations (something he patented with his field recordings with Agitation Free), melodic keyboard soloing, and guest guitars. The latter provided by former band mate Lutz Ulbrich. Also guesting is vocalist Micky Duwe from Metropolis, but perhaps best known for participating in the "Seven Up" sessions with Timothy Leary and Ash Ra Tempel. Some enlightened record executive at Warner Brothers had the wherewithal to release this in the United States (perhaps due to his impending relocation as a Hollywood soundtrack maker), where it unfortunately, no doubt, became a buck bin special within weeks. That said, it ultimately lead to Hoenig's album being heard by far more people than would normally be the case for an obscure elektronik artist from Germany. And is now considered a classic for the style. A designation it deserves.

Personal collection
CD: 1987 Kuckuk

Originals are very common in the USA. In the early 80s, as a teenager just starting to collect obscurities, this was a title I ran into often, and I bought one for $1. Even today, you'll find sawcut used VG copies in stores for $1 if you look hard enough. Only the Japanese LP's have any value at all. Interestingly enough, the CD is the collectible item in this case, having only been reissued in Germany, and that was 27 years ago! Despite this scenario, apparently the CD is still easy to find as a few readers pointed out to me. This was one of the very first albums I replaced an LP with a CD, and that looks to have been the right move. The second photo is the slightly redesigned Kuckuk reissue used for both the LP and CD.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, this is definitely a classic of the genre. I bought this on CD not so long ago from a mainstream vendor for a good price and they're still carrying it, so it doesn't look all that scarce to me (not over here in Europe anyway). Now the Hoenig/Goettsching album you mention, that is pretty hard to find, sadly.


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