Faitiche is ten years old. October 2008 saw the release of Ursula Bogner - Recordings 1969-1988, for which the label was created. While working as a scientist in the pharmaceuticals sector, Ursula Bogner experimented with electronic music, undiscovered, for over three decades. When Jan Jelinek first heard Bogner’s work in 2008, he was enthusiastic. The resulting album, compiled by Jelinek from Bogner’s extensive oeuvre, is being reissued in a remastered version (LP/digital) to mark the label’s tenth anniversary. The new version also includes four bonus tracks that were previously only available on a vinyl 7" single (Ursula Bogner: Pluto hat einen Mond, Maas Media Verlag 2010).
From the reviews of Recordings 1969-1988 in 2008:
Most of Recordings 1969-1988 sounds simultaneously like pop and art. Bogner's M.O. is to take a few simple loops - rumbling bass, watery plops, chirping squalls, laserlike blasts - and overlap them, producing songs so sweet they'll make you laugh (the elephant-march opener "Begleitung für Tuba"), so repetitive they'll hypnotize you (the swinging "Inversion"), and so inventive they sound alien (the robotic "2 Ton").
The Wire Magazine
Despite Bogner's status as a bona fide outsider artist, her music opens up a surprising number of connections. It's terse, yet playful; cosmic in reach, yet human in scale. Much of the strange, laconic material collected here would fit seamlessly alonside the recent anthology of work by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's John Baker - and there are occasional, skewed parallels with the gentle pulsations of Cluster and Harmonia.
Recordings 1969-1988 collects 16 of these early electronic collages, many of which clock under two minutes, and presents them as a crate-digging, proto-techno discovery along the lines of BBC Radiophonic Workshop alumni such as Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire. Raymond Scott comes to mind as well. Bogner's work exhibits that same kind of curiosity with what those machines could do: it's simple and short and imperfect.
Original press info from 2008:
It seems almost incredible that Ursula Bogner’s musical talents should have remained undiscovered until now. Yet in view of her biography, this might have been just as inevitable.
It was on a flight to Vilnius that I met Sebastian Bogner, Ursula’s son, who told me he was on a business trip for a pharmaceutical company. The usual small talk soon led to the topic of his mother Ursula, who also ‘liked to play around with synthesizers’, albeit purely on an amateur level and in a dedicated music room fitted especially for this purpose in the parental home. Among her acquaintances, it was simply considered one of her many eccentric hobbies and not paid a great deal of interest. At a cursory glance, Ursula Bogner’s life seemed simple and bourgeois to the core: a pharmacist, wife and mother, firmly ensconced in a detached house. A setup that made her obsession with electronic music all the more bizarre - an obsession that drove her to build her own studio for extensive recording and experimentation.
According to the usual chronological benchmarks, Ursula Bogner’s biography appears short and conventional: Born (*1946) and raised in Dortmund, she moved to Berlin at 19 to study pharmacy. Degree in hand, she immediately went to work for pharmaceutical giant Schering, followed by marriage, children and a successful yet by no means sensational scientific career within the multinational heavyweight. At the same time, she developed a keen interest in electronic music. Throughout her early twenties, she followed the activities of Cologne-based Studio für elektronische Musik, attended seminars by Studio founder Herbert Eimert, exhibited great enthusiasm for Musique Concrète and, later on, shared her children’s enthusiasm for British New Wave Pop. Nevertheless, Ursula Bogner never involved herself in any scene, never made her music public. Maybe this can be attributed to her boundless curiosity. Besides composition, she also tried her hand at painting, printing (the LP features reproductions of two of her linocuts) and developed a strong fascination for Wilhelm Reich’s orgonomy, the sexual researcher and psychoanalyst’s bizarre late work on his discovery of orgonenergy. Reich aimed to focus resp. collect this particular type of solar energy and use it for healing purposes. To this end, he created an apparatus, a cabin of wood and metal otherwise known as an orgon accumulator. Inspired by several trips to Orgonon (Maine, USA) – Wilhelm Reich’s former workspace and home - Ursula Bogner decided to construct her own accumulator and stored it in the family’s backyard. At this point, it becomes increasingly hard to shake the suspicion, later confirmed by Sebastian Bogner, that his mother was drawn to all things esoteric. Mounds of New Age literature and fringe science works would litter the Bogner household. And yet, throughout all this, she remained a Schering employee and thus firmly rooted in the sciences. Her compositions, too, betray few signs of esotericism, in fact they are closer to studies and sketches: humorous and - in view of her biography - almost silly rather than tied to any particular school of mysticism or science. Nevertheless, it is remarkably hard to grasp or classify her work as a whole. Over the course of 20 years, she dabbled in many different styles leading to a huge wealth of work and a bewildering variety of titles.
In the late 1960s, Ursula Bogner started to record her own music on reel-to-reel tapes. With some of these titles, we only found individual tracks of pieces recorded on a four-track-recorder – in these cases, I had to recombine the separate tracks to recreate the original piece. Unfortunately, I could not involve Ursula Bogner in the mixing process as she passed away in 1994. Invoking the original’s authenticity might seem insensitive, yet there was no other way to release them in their entirety. Ultimately, only three of the tracks featured on this LP are such 'reworkings’. All other titles were taken straight from the original reels. Covering a fairly short period of her creative career, they also convey a peculiar coherence in both form and content. A coherence that reflects her accessible, rhythmic and sometimes even poppy side. Naturally, my own preference played a part in the selection process. All my personal favourites made it on the LP, and whenever I listen to this collection, I invariably succumb to the titles’ light-hearted nonchalance. This might leave many hours of undiscovered gems, but a further compilation is already in the works.
My thanks go out to the Bogner family, especially Sebastian Bogner, who was generous enough to grant me access to the reels and supply me with invaluable insights into his mother’s life. I hope that listeners will enjoy the same exhilaration I experienced on discovery of Ursula Bogner’s music.
Berlin 2008, Jan Jelinek
released October 26, 2018
graphic design by Jens Reitemeyer, mastering by Rashad Becker, Copyright control, faitiche 2018