German composer, musicologist and educator Joseph Otto Mundigl (1942-1999) was born in Langquaid in Niederbayern (Lower Bavaria), south east of Nürnberg. He studied musicology in nearby Regensburg University from 1968 to 1975, where he also taught electronic music to students and educators. In 1975, he wrote the first German guide for the newly launched EMS Synthi-E titled “Musik aus Strom: eine Einführung in die elektronische Musik: Arbeitsbuch zu Synthi-E von EMS” (or Music From Power: an introduction to electronic music, A guide to the EMS Synthi-E), published by EMS or Electronic Music Studios, London, UK. Mundigl used to tweak and modify the Regensburg University’s EMS synthesizers, as well as his own gearing, including the Dual Ring Modulator he called “doppelringmodulator” that went for sale on eBay recently. Due to illness, Mundigl retired from education in 1993 [biography from this German article].
An independent — even, isolated — composer with his own studio [in Hall at Kelheim], Mundigl started composing electronic music in the 1970s, with pieces like “Electronic Study No. 1”, “Dialogue for Two Speakers” (1972) or “Kristalle I, Klangfarbenmusik zu Bildern von Karl Freyer, part 1” (1974). Mundigl also experimented with interaction between human blood pulse and synthesizer, and computer-generated images inspired by the chaos theory for a film by Ernst Lanke. When he suddenly died in 1999, aged 57, he was working on an electronic adaptation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Two Part Inventions.
♫ Mundigl self released his unique LP in 1981. It was technically produced at Internationales Musikstudio in Nürnberg, a professional studio who worked with composers like Peter Thomas and Martin Böttcher. Considering the LP’s title, it seems fair to assume Mundigl wanted to assert his own conception of Elektronische Musik with a selection of his latest compositions and, indeed, his warm and poetical style is at odds with more abstract and authoritative efforts by fellow German composers of the time. Mostly recorded on the EMS Synthi-E and possibly self-build filters, the music is mildly experimental, with a rounded edge to the sounds that make it very listenable. With a minimum of means, Mundigl creates mysterious, immersive, multi-colored soundscapes drawing the listener into otherworldly meanderings, though there is a surprising reminiscence of a Bach fugue 21:20mn into #1 Glasperlenspiel. The track’s title itself is inspired by the Herman Hesse novel of the same name, though I believe Mundigl also took some inspiration from German artist Manfred Sillner, an engraving of whom ornates the cover.
01 Glasperlenspiel, 1976 (23:42)
02 Interludium, 1975 (3:28)
03 Quartett Nr.1, 1980 (22:30)
Total time 49:40
Private release, LP, Germany, 1981
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