Music from Memory’s final release of 2016 is an EP of works by a German trio formed in the city of Wuppertal, in the late eighties. A one off and unique project, Becker, Stegmann and Zeumer were asked to produce an album of recorded material after a string of successful concerts celebrating the work of local poet Else Lasker-Schüler (1869–1945).
Very much an integral part of the Wuppertal jazz scene in the 1980’s, trumpetist Heinz Becker and Pianist Karl-Heinz Stegmann met the actress Isabel Zeumer when performing at the opening of an event organized by Wuppertal’s cultural department. Following this the three of them were asked put together a programme on Else Lasker-Schüler. A unique figure in her time Jewish poet Lasker-Schüler embraced a bohemian lifestyle and became a leading exponent of Germany’s expressionism and avant-garde poetry movement before fleeing the country in 1937. Becker, Stegmann and Zeumer’s programme would combine readings of Lasker-Schüler’s works with experimental music and imagery. These performances were met with great enthusiasm at the time in Wuppertal and were even televised. Following on from the strong response to the music and performances, the trio were invited to release the material on local label ITM Records.
Embracing Lasker’s avant-garde sentiments within their own musical compositions, Becker, Zeumer and Stegmann’s album “Ich Träume So Leise Von Dir” LP blends jazz and electronics to create a wholly unique sound. Embracing and experimenting with elements of Ambient and even New Wave; the four tracks selected here, in particular, seem to take music and spoken word into an entirely unique musical realm.
Whilst the band and the album might have sunk into obscurity, the band were no novices to the music business. In fact the highly regarded producer Bob Lamb had played as a drummer throughout the late sixties and into the late seventies for a number of progressive rock bands. The last of which, The Steve Gibbons Band, found moderate success both at home and in US, even opening up for The Who on their world tours. Having travelled the world as a musician, in 1979 Lamb would set up a 4-track recording and mixing studio in his basement flat to focus on production. In this state of the art Birmingham studio he would work with Duran Duran on their earliest work as well as producing UB40’s very first album. With this highly developed sense of production, it was here in Bob Lamb’s studio that the four members of The System set out to make a pop record very much driven by the new possibilities of technology and developments within studio recording.
With instrumental tracks ‘Vampirella’, sounding almost prophetic of Detroit techno tracks that would not be made until some 10 years later and ‘Pendy! You’re In Some Awful Danger’ a vaporous synth excursion and anthemic drum-heavy vocal track ‘Almost Grown’, this 12″ also features the unreleased end of the night jam ‘Find It In Your Eyes’, a track which somehow never made it on to the original LP release
Music From Memory