Webshop → Vinyl LP Stefan Schwander already makes it clear with his pseudonym that in his work the iconic is closely linked to an iconoclastic approach. As Harmonious Thelonious, the Durian Brothers member makes music that picks up familiar topoi and motifs, throws them into the chopper, and strings the resulting set pieces on clattering rhythms like a string of pearls. Methods from minimal music meet African or Indonesian grooves and an attitude that is fed by post-industrial and contemporary club-not-club movements. On numerous EPs and five solo studio albums to date, he has thus carved out one niche after another.
His sixth LP »Plong« is released on Bureau B and pays more than just tribute to the more than herbaceous vein of the label: just as the title and album cover seem to refer to the founder figures from Schwander’s homebase Düsseldorf – namely Neu! and Kraftwerk – Schwander reverts to the working methods of musique concrète, which are so important for Krautrock, and samples non-European elements that do not serve as orientalistic ornamentalism but develop a spooky life of their own. Over nine tracks, Schwander develops with »Plong« unbalanced tilting figures, which are brute in sound and filigree in rhythmic design – and, in addition, shake a few foundations of club-affine music. So much for the iconoclasm of Harmonious Thelonious – which ten vinyl records are absolutely iconic for him, he also told us.
1 – Elis Regina & Antonio Carlos Jobim – Elis & Tom (Philips) (1974) |
Harmonious Thelonious: A.C. Jobim and Elis Regina with mostly classics. The arrangement and above all the timing of their singing is unique… also the fun they can convey through the record grooves!
2 – Can – Unlimited Edition (Spoon) (1976) | Vinyl 2LP
Harmonious Thelonious: Sometimes it is also the place where you buy a record… like here the Schachtel in Milano, a store, archive, label of extraordinary quality. The LP itself is also so great because it is so varied and yet can only be from Can. My favourite tracks are those of the E.F.S. series (electronic forgery series), a kind of fake-world-music. Tracks were created between 1968 -1975.
3 – Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa (World Circuit) (2015)
Harmonious Thelonious: Astonishing, Confusing… the small sticker on the plate writes. A contemporary production from the Congo with some support from Konono Nº1. Absolute dancefloor hammer: »Nganshe«.
4 – The Fall – Room To Live (Kamera Records) (1982) | Vinyl LP
Harmonious Thelonious: Essential in my musical socialization… constant companion, this album… and recently discovered that there is a certain minimalism in the arrangement… there is always something to discover. Crazy cover, including The Fall-Photo with dog.
5 – Conrad Schnitzler – Con (Egg) (1978) | Vinyl LP
Harmonious Thelonious: Produced by Peter Baumann, which is rather rare with Conrad Schnitzler, he has always done almost everything himself. Playable tracks like »Zug« and »Black Nails«, which could have been created only yesterday… absolutely timeless in sound!
6 – Terry Hall & Mushtaq – The Hour Of Two Lights (Honest Jon’s) (2003) | Vinyl LP
Harmonious Thelonious: The Specials singer with a project based in the Middle East. Great connection, extraordinary music, understanding people.
7 – Eomac – Bedouin Trax (Label) (YYYY) | ###HHV:497134 :Vinyl LP###
Harmonious Thelonious: Englishman Ian Mcdonell processes samples from the Middle East into industrial, partly anthemic, noisy tracks… Great artwork, very decisive production, no compromises. Big!
8 – Tolouse Low Trax – Decades III (Antinote) (2017) | Vinyl 12inch
Harmonious Thelonious: Whatever Detlaf does, for me it is almost always inspiring. Very determined, with an immediately recognizable, typical Low Trax groove, through constant repetition also trance inducing.
9 – Maalem Mahmoud Gania – Colours Of The Night (Hive Mind) (2017) | Vinyl 2LP
Harmonious Thelonious: This great compiled double LP on Hive Mind is a nice introduction to the work of one of the most important Gnawa musicians. His Gimbri playing is never monotonous due to the variations and yet very hypnotic. For me it is a kind of bassline music, endless…
10 – Various Artists – Musiker Aus Malawi Sudliches Malawi (Museum Collection Berlin West) (1989)
Harmonious Thelonious: In general, all editions from the music-ethnological department for ethnology in Berlin are recommended if you have an increased interest in African music. This double LP was given to me by a friend, with the remark that it reminds him of my music. What a compliment! The xylophone tracks on the A-side are incredible!