History Line

The History of Janus

The Janus Project has a long and ardous history line - and work on it has started as early as December 1991, when one of the pieces which is to be contained on the record got conceived. During this time, the recording project has been reshaped, renamed, dropped, taken up again, replaced by other projects, forgotten, remembered and what not else. The record saw its completion with the official date of 1st of December 1997, finally bringing an end to this leviathan project. Below is a short list of important dates in its making.

Dec. 1991 First version of Loisachtal written
This took place at SoundCafé, shortly after No Members had been founded. While some sort of terrible Rockabilly concert went along in the back, Scotty played a few chord patterns to me - whereupon I took the liberty to improvise my own idea of an "Ethnic Noise" song text .
Feb. 1992 Loisachtal Demo recorded (4-track)
A very "plastic" version indeed, as everything except guitar, trombone and vocals was done using synths. This version eventually made it onto my personal "Best of..." record (see below).
May 1992 Best of Rainer Straschill released
The recording contained a broad selection of titles from the first Noizetrash recordings, and some songs "never released before" on a total time of 90 minutes.
Jun. 1992 First version of The Wizard written
8-3-1992 No Members live recording
This event also took place at SoundCafé, and was the second - and last - concert of the group. Although the technical effort for this was very small - only vocals and trombone went over the P.A., and the bass player had to use a really bad amp - even for rehearsal standards, both the sound (in respects of clarity) and the musical quality exceeded that of the premiere recording. Parts of this recording found their way into The Loisachtal Variations.
Sep. 1992 Plans for a No Members record
Oct. 1992 Official No Members split
Nov. 1992 The later Summer Evenings written as soft part for the project "Qui peut aider ?" - video extended version
"Qui peut aider ?" was one of my more successful works - perhaps that´s why it never made it onto an official release of mine. There have been however five different versions - of which the last one never got completely recorded. The only remnant of it is hence the piece mentioned above...
Fall 1992 First plans for new album, working title "NEU!?"
Perhaps this can be called the real starting point for the Janus Project.
Jan. 1993 Project "Rainer Straschill plays Bossa Nova"
This is the project of that time that made it just before completion - whereupon I lost my interest in the Bossa Nova music. Several standards and originals got recorded, and one or the other also made it on the track sheets of the Janus precedessors - and Amazing Scenes actually stayed there until Dec. ´96 !
Mar. 1993 3 Phantasien live recording at OvMG
My (so far) last collaboration with the AG Neue Musik am OvMG - and also the most successful one. The piece had been on the track sheets ever since then - and also got released on lots of "private" recordings for close friends.
Fall 1993 Euphemistic written
The piece had at first been some kind of alto saxophone etude (I had started playing the sax some weeks prior to writing this). Still, the solo is the original first effort of a beginner.
Spring 1994 (?) Album project renamed to "Noizetrash"
May. 1994 Work on KultNET Sampler started
The KultNET Sampler was the last great project of KultNET - just before its final shutdown in ´96.
Nov. 1994 KultNET Sampler released
Some 40 pieces of this Moinlabs production were sold - making it their most successful release so far!
Dec. 1995 Album project renamed to "Premiere Recording"
Mar. 1995 Ein neuer Hut für Paul Dirac written & first recording (then untitled, later renamed "I don´t care")
Again, a kind of exercise - this was the time when I thought about buying Wolfi´s Conn soprano saxophone.
Summer 1995 Feynman´s revenge written & first recording (then without title, later "Get dis funk")
My first experiments with multiple computer drum tracks
Summer 1995 Album project renamed to "Chaos !?"
This was the time when the record really began to take shape. There has even been an elaborate multi-paged booklet for the "Chaos!?" concept.
Oct. 1995 "The Wizard" rearranged and rerecorded
First, I planned on making it "Heavy Metal", but while working on it, it developed into Janus´ complex rock song...
Winter 95/96 Work on "The Loisachtal Variations" started, first recording & edits
This was inspired by a much earlier work - Christian "Jiffy/Joshua" Peter´s "Loisachtal Dance Remix" of ´92.
Spring 1996 First plans to release recordings on CD
Spring 1996 (?) "Summer evenings" trombone tracks recorded
A fill-in occupation, I recorded the four tracks of the old arrangement (see above) onto the four-track for later reuse...
4-19-1996 Bike Accident
This was the notorious accident where I lost one and a half of my upper front teeth and seriously injured my upper lip - bringing any activities on the field of wind instrument playing to a standstill. I wasn´t able to play the trombone for nearly one year, although I restarted playing the sax some months after the accident. And at that time I got the idea to grow a beard, as I wasn't able to shave...
May 1996 Moinlabs Studio Update
These technical improvements paved the way for several things in Janus - the extensive edits in the intro, the extended solo of "Dirac", and of course a vastly improved sound quality.
Summer 1996 Album project renamed to "Janus"
Jul. 1996 Tides of Darkness written & recorded as a birthday gift for "Janus" featured musician Anna Bejenke
The piece was intended as a parody on several dancefloor/techno/rave pieces, as well as a hommage to the great computer game "Warcraft II", from which several samples are taken. Otherwise: everything artificial
Aug. 1996 Second recording of "Feynmans Revenge"
...and my first completely digital recording.
Oct. 1996 Moinlabs website & Janus page started
Nov. 1996 "Feynman´s revenge" third recording
Nov. 1996 "The Wizard" digital recording, flute added
A start of a new collaboration with former band colleague Wolfi Schlick - and together with "Dirac" the first extended use of digital cutting techniques.
Nov. 1996 "Ein neuer Hut..." digital recording, bass clarinet added
Same recording session as above.
Dec. 1996 "Yassir" written & recorded
Again, this was inspired by a computer game (Cannonfodder 2)...
Jan. 1997 Soprano solo for "Ein neuer Hut..." recorded
The first recording using my new Cuesnon soprano saxophone - and imho a quite successful effort, which nicely contrasts to the bass clarinet solo.
Jan. 1997 "Summer evenings" transferred to digital and renamed to "Kackkopf", soprano solo recorded
While Wolle stayed with me the week after New Year, I recorded several conversations and phone calls on DAT and disk. From these, the "Die Platte" talks were extracted, as well as the "Hallo Dave" and the humming during Euphemistic. An expression heard quite often on these recordings was the forementioned title.
Mar. 1997 "Kackkopf" renamed to "Variations on the Simon Prentis thesis regarding Varèse´s views on absolute music"
People who let themselves guide by the hints presented on these pages might easily recognize the inspiration for this awkward title...
3-31-97 "Years of Sadness" written & first recording
This piece was created when I browsed through the preset sounds of my Proteus 1/XR+ in search of a basis for something to accompany an improvising baritone saxophone with. Basically, the song is made up of four presets: Proteus´ "Blue Ice" through StudioQuad´s "Psychopan Chorus", and MediaFX´s "Distortion Guitar" through SE-50´s "Lead 1". This piece made it - prior to the Janus release - onto the "Years of Madness" private tape...
4-2-97 "SCSI Blues" re-renamed to "Weißbier"
When John Benedic agreed to sit in for several baritone parts the following weekend, I decided to finally start the re-recording of the forementioned song. When it came to putting down the vocals, I realized that a) I hadn´t written a new text that went with the SCSI title, b) I liked the old text quite a lot. So the old title was put in effect again...
4-5-97 Baritone saxophone parts recorded featuring John B. Appleshyme
The recordings included the section part & solo for "SCSI Blues", a solo for "Variations on the Simon Prentis thesis regarding Varèse´s views on absolute music" and the "free" solo for the fourth part of "The Loisachtal Variations".
4-6-97 Janus Page reworked
Changes in the track list, as well as additional featured musicians made it necessary to rework the entire page contents - the structure, however, has been left unchanged. Also the Appleshyme short bio had been rewritten by request of the artist.
4-12-97 Alto parts recorded
Although Wolfi´s alto saxophone had been lying around at my place for some time again, it wasn´t until 4-12 that I started to use it (a technical dilemma too embarassing to be explained here held responsible for that). Top of the list issues were of course the alto section part for "Weißbier" and the "Loisachtal Part 4" alto solo.
4-14-97 Trombone parts recorded
This was the first time for over a year for me to pick up a trombone. I´m still not up to full proficiency (due to the status of my teeth), but things went better than I thought. I recorded the section parts and the trade-fours for "Weißbier", the latter being the only place on Janus to feature my Hüttl Jazz trombone...I just like better the sound of the Bach concert babe.
4-15-97 to 4-17-97 Edits for "Loisachtal Part 4", "Weißbier" and "Summer Evenings..."
During these two days, I cut together several hundred megabytes of material obtained during the last recording sessions. In the end, three songs were finished: "Variations...", which had during the process of editing been re-renamed to "Summer Evenings", and which contains a "traded" soprano/baritone solo as well as a beautiful baritone intro, "Losiachtal Part 4" in complete digital quality, where I gave my alto solo preference over John Benedics efforts on baritone sax, and a (also fully-digital) version of "Weißbier", containing the old organ solo, a trombone-organ-trade-part, and a heavily edited baritone sax solo instead of the old (terrible) trombone solo. Only the last of these songs will see further editing if and when I´m able to get some acoustic drums and bass tracks, and perhaps after enhancement by Simon Pauly´s vocal prowess...the tracks had their "road test" when I went for a weekend holiday together with Janus contributor Antje Juchem and terrorized her with the advanced tape !
May 1997 Drum recordings
A tape was sent out to Guido Kremer containing the drumless tracks for "Weißbier", "The Wizard" and "Euphemistic".
5-30-97 Bg. vocals for "Loisachtal" - first session
Anna Bejenke, sister of the famed No Members guitarist, sat in for the eight bars of background vocals in the finale of "The Loisachtal Variations". Another session was planned... (but never realized)
6-2-97 Digital Remix for "Loisachtal" Part 1 & 2
Most of the samples had been transferred to harddisk earlier - I just finished the preparation (i.e. PitchShift/Timestretch) and did the compilation/synchronisation as well as the MIDI recording. Several things have been changed in comparison to the old version: first of all, the live part (Part 1) has been left completely "as is" (i.e. no Enhancer effects, and no cut in missing guitar chords). As all of my old (i..e. older than May ´96, with the exception of some files used for the ongoing projects in the meantime) sequencer files have been jeopardized, I had no access to the original sequencer bass parts; hence, the bass parts have been rearranged - together with some additional samples and a new sequencer line to make up for the left-out original guitar ...
5-7-97 "Bavarian Solid State" recorded
This happened during my first rehearsal with Lebendig when after a short break, guitarist Nico and I started to just jam along - only to be joined by the rest of the group. As everything in this song, also the text got conceived "on the fly". Luckily, I had my portable DCC with me, and so this little work of art got conserved, and - with minimal edits - transferred to disk the very next day.
August 1997 First experiments with "Frippery"
While still waiting for the drum tracks from Köln, I started to experiment on yet another field: Inspired by a post in the Elephant Talk newsletter, I started to experiment with techniques sometimes referred to as "Frippertronics" (after King Krimson founder Robert Fripp). This refers to the use of long delay loops as a base for extended improvisation. As the first experiments sounded very reassuring, I will follow this lead some more - perhaps a first cut will make it onto the final Janus release (as with the decision to release it on CD-R, I suddenly have another fifteen minutes at my disposal), and this might be the musical direction which the planned followup Die Platte will point to...
September 1997 Final Phase of Production
Janus has now entered its final phase: The audio is ready safe of the Köln Master Tapes and a vocal track, the cover has been designed (mainly) - so I just keep waiting for the missing bits, and after my holiday in October, will start to compile them...
9-19-97 "Metamorphosen/Leere Bierdosen" completed
This is actually the piece to fill the Janus tracklist, and it contains several bits and pieces intended for release on this production in one form or the other. The 13-minute-opus is divided in five sections, "Solitude", "Another Hairdo for Mr. Bob", "Bavarian Solid State", "Spiked Balls" and "Lunar Eclipse". "Hairdo" is basically a part of one of my "Frippery" experiments, "Bavarian Solid State" is an edited version of the title described elsewhere, and "Spiked Balls" contains (among other things) the baritone sax solo recorded for Loisachtal Part 4. The remaining pieces are new ideas - the latter one inspired by the lunar eclipse visible here on 9-16-97...
9-26-97 New vocals/4-on-4's for "Weißbier" edited
I killed some time while waiting for the dreaded drum tracks with the recording of new vocal tracks and trombone trade-fours for "Weißbier" the last day, both of which got edited today.
Early Nov. 97 "Weißbier" renamed to "Weißbier (in my house)"
A short discussion with Florian Wolf convinced me that the latter made a much better title for the track than the former.
11-17-97 to 11-22-97 Mixdown
Mixing in this case extended over several days. On monday, I listened through the material and worked out the details for the mix, as well as effect and dynamic processor settings. Tuesday to wednesday saw the mixdown of most tracks, leaving only "Weißbier", "Euphemistic" and "Prolog", as I still waited for the drums tracks and Duschls "hints regarding temporal order".
When on friday the drum tracks arrived, I quickly synchronized them to the respective pieces, and, after tweaking them a bit (especially in the case of "Weißbier"), I mixed the remaining songs. The master DAT was finished on saturday, when after mixing "Prolog" avec Duschls sample, I redid the mix for "The Wizard" and "Dirac".
11-20-97 Final Layout Session
I used this day for most of the image processing for the back cover, the booklet back and the CD itself, as well as for the final editorial chores. Two things were left to be done: the front cover (which was done when D.C. Becker provided the image on saturday), and the timing sheet, which was completed on 11-25. Some smaller mistakes were alltogether purged for the "final" layout way until 12-6, however...
11-23-97 First Master Cut
This was done at Flo Hockels place, using Audiowerk hardware. It turned out to be a real drag, as this hardware refused to work with any softare safe the logic audio, which is a fine sequencer, but not apted for CD mastering. It took us about three times as long than we had intended to burn the master CD, and this one even turned out to be ridden with mistakes...
11-24-97 Master Retouch
Because of the problems with the master (see above), I rushed to Duschl the very next day, reading the error-ridden master into the computer, editing and removing all the problems (cut-off beginnings and swapped stereo channels mostly). I then transferred the WAV files onto DDS, took them to my place and extensively listened through them, later in the evening OKing them for production.
11-25-97 Begin of burning
Duschl started to burn the "final" CD this very day, on which I also finished the timing sheet for the booklet. I picked up two pieces the same day - the first CD went to John B. Pipebender-Appleshyme the same evening. The next day, I picked up three more pieces, travelling with a few to hamburg for a well-earned holiday...
12-1-97 Official "Janus" release date
This was more of an "official" date than a real landmark for the project, as the real completion had occured nearly one week earlier. Small festivities were held in Hamburg, where I spent some time then.

The Janus Project has been worked on for over five years. During this time, it has had four different names. The final listing contains a list of nineteen contributors (musicians and others). There have existed at least twenty different track lists. The tracks which have been on them and have been dropped in the meantime would suffice to fill two albums. Some songs have remained unchanged for four years, others have been completely remodelled several times (including fantastic renames). Basically, it all comes down to a giant madness...

Moin the Milkman the project leader, drinking a cup of milk after having completed his work the night before...