The JANUS Flipsides or THE TRACKS WHICH DIDN´T MAKE IT
- PROLOG (the Original) (0:40)
- YEARS OF SADNESS (5:30)
- AMAZING SCENES (7:18)
- DUE REFLECTIONS (3:30)
- HAMMERS DOWN (4:28)
- AIN´T BEHAVIN´ (5:10)
- YEARS OF MADNESS (21:47)
- YASSIR (3:26)
- THE SNIPER (7:30)
- TIDES OF DARKNESS (4:27)
- FAREWELL (7:52)
Total Time: 72:40
The track sheet shown above is the tracksheet for a fictional - yet theoretically possible, quite interesting and perhaps even practically possible - record, comprised of "flipsides" of JANUS tunes. All the tracks listed have at one time or another been on the track sheet for JANUS or its preceding projects (NEU!?, Premiere Recording, CHAOS). Several important questions arise now: first, why wasn´t a complete "first JANUS" released after halftime? second, why didn´t these tracks make it onto the final release? third, will there ever be a record like the one dreamt up above? The following paragraphs shall answer these questions - in this order - to the best extent possible.
B. THE REASON FOR FIVE YEARS
Between 1989 and 1992, I released (under several names) a total of six productions, totalling to a playing time of 390 minutes. Even if we take into account that some tunes have been placed on multiple productions, a more realistic calculation would give an output of 100 minutes of recorded music per year. What´s more, by mid-1992, No Members was full of ideas, and definitely ready to start working on a 60-minute recording. Yet, the five years which followed resulted in only one 70-minutes CD - JANUS.
I have given several different reasons in several different contexts for this lack of productivity, yet some of them are not very convincing: Too few active musical activities after the shutdown of No Members - aside from working for the AG Neue Musik for another year and also writing arrangements for our school orchestra, I auditioned for and played in several groups during that time - and the "Bayreuth Years" fell completely into that period. Lack of ideas - the above track list shows us that I had ideas sufficient for at least 140 minutes of music - and that on a much higher quality level than that of the preceding recordings (this calculation doesn´t take into account the additional contents of several obscure "private tapes" and the whole material created for the "Bossa Nova" project - together adding up to another 60 minutes !). Period of personal changes - one would think that this should actually increase (and actually in some cases DID increase) musical activity. Personal problems - I´m really NOT going to accept an excuse this stupid; not from anybody, not from myself.
Which leads us to the last and only valid reason: technical and scheduling problems. Problems started with the (futile) attemps to revitalize "No Members" (which took up a fair amount of time until the mid of ´93). Together with these senseless activities, productivity bandwith was taken up all through ´93 with my final exams (May ´93), an extended holiday, the beginning of my Physics studies (October ´93) and with the Bossa Nova project - not to speak of another "private tape". Late ´93 and most of the first half of ´94 was occupied by the "KNS" project (which actually functioned as a "test drive" for two JANUS pieces). In the following two-year-period, most of the work for JANUS has been done: and, interrupted by a short break in late ´95 when I had to make some adjustments to my life, JANUS (then still named CHAOS!?) was close to ready for release in April ´96.
This calculation didn´t however take into account that I had a serious bike accident, severly damaging my lips and disabling two front teeth - which brought any activity on the field of saxophone or trombone playing to a grinding standstill. I couldn´t play the saxophone for 6 months, and my trombone playing was "out of order" until March ´97. Of course, the fact that I accquired my "studio extension" during this period made it necessary to re-record most of the stuff - and, of course, to include new ideas which weren´t possible before.
Of course, one could argue about several points, as to whether a few months could have been saved here and there, or production could have been done more efficiently. The important point - and a point well-proven here - is: It wouldn´t have been possible to release a "first" JANUS after half time (i.e. mid-94), because at that time, there wasn´t one complete recording available - there were two half-complete recordings.
C. THE ACTUAL FLIPSIDES
Prolog (The Original)
A Gabrieli-Style trombone aequal which got recorded to fourtrack and was the official opener when JANUS was still CHAOS!? (grin). During early ´97, when I already had my HD recording gear, but wasn´t able to play the trombone, it got replaced by the JANUS "Prolog"...
Status: tracks need re-recording
PROs: nice, pathetic sound, fits on any kind of production
CONs: needs to be rerecorded
Years of Sadness
A pure synthesizer track, initially planned as a background for a free baritone sax improv, which soon acquired its own synthetic "guitar" lead track. Not a "very strong" piece, yet a good opener - and for that reason (and also because of the name) got used as the opener for the "Years of Madness" private tape.
Status: ready for release
PROs: good "soft" opener, synth-only contrasts to the other "acoustic" tracks from JANUS.
CONs: not very challenging, became a "signature" piece for "YOM" private tape.
Originating from my Bossa Nova era (and the corresponding recording project "Rainer Straschill plays Bossa Nova"), it stayed on the JANUS track sheet all the time until Dec ´96. It was definitely the strongest track on the Bossa Nova project, yet the easy-grooving (if not to say easy-listening) style didn´t fit into the JANUS context. Also, the drums sounded really plastic. The acoustic tracks I had already recorded were quite good - I would´ve done some re-arrangement in the middle section, perhaps with a clarinet solo...
Status: ready for release (except see above)
PROs: good tune, good solos recorded
CONs: unavailability of clarinetist, boring drums (needed rerecording), stilistic misfit.
An experimental piece conceived during early ´96, based on the idea of a trombone improvisation cut together with backward-played voice recordings and samples. Andreas "Zara" Winterer (lyrics) and Jan "Scotty" Bejenke (DJ) were planned as musicians on this one. The idea got lost when I lost my teeth...
Status: only basic idea
PROs: very experimental, definitive trombone-based
CONs: not yet available
This piece had already been recorded for the "Best of..." production - however, this version should´ve contained a sound more like the "original" arrangement for the AG Neue Musik. This idea was disbanded mainly because of the lack of a sufficient band to record the acoustic
Status: most tracks need re-recording
PROs: very interesting AND groovy piece
CONs: inclusion on "Best of...", problems with ensemble
Another one of my crazier ideas, this piece was to combine agressive rap lyrics with heavy sampling/cutting tracks and tight section-play. Everything got arranged to the detail on paper - however, first attemps to realise this production on 4-track convinced me that it couldn´t be done on that technological level. (In the meantime, I´m convinced I could´ve done it had I just used my brain a little bit more).
Status: only complete arrangement available
PROs: funny lyrics, (in this context) unconventional style
CONs: "not _another_ sampling piece"...
Years of Madness
This plus-twenty-minutes suite is my longest coherent work so far - and was the center of the private tape of the same name. Perhaps that is the only reason why it wasn´t really considered for the inclusion on JANUS - otherwise, it´s a great work, including use of the "El Duende" handclap library, multi-voiced trombone section, a long acoustic piano solo and interesting "fake section play".
Status: ready for release
PROs: really an outstanding piece of music - and a showcase for my multiple talents and interests.
CONs: except for its dedication to "YOM" - none, really...
Material: the ultra-hip piano solo breaks into the sax weirdness, the acoustic piano solo piece, the ending
The structure of an Anton Bruckner symphony movement packed into an airplay timeframe - that´s perhaps the best description for this techno-style track, which soon became a favourite of many of my friends. This one could really hit the market - marketed properly.
Status: ready for release
PROs: short, danceable, commercial
CONs: short, danceable, commercial
Together with "The Wizard" and "Loisachtal", another remnant from the "No Members" song list. Planned was the use of a heavily edited and overdubbed version of the original live recording. I did already do some cutting and recorded a two-voice sax section to fourtrack, but the result wasn't "good enough for release".
Status: needs re-editing
PROs: the most "Straschillesque" No Members tune
CONs: well, the "original live recording" really wasn´t _that_ good...
Tides of Darkness
My first experiments with Techno. Inspired by (and also containing samples from) the computer game "Warcraft II", this is a sweep through many styles of modern dance music - making it a little bit incoherent. The typical "Straschill" freak-out has been limited to an eight-bar synth solo on this one. This was also the "signature piece" of the "1996" private tape, which also contained several JANUS and JANUS outtake tracks.
Status: ready for release
PROs: funny, and at some points very groovy
CONs: incoherent, signature piece of "1996"
This was the last real "synth-only" creation so far (except for "Years of Sadness", which was really an improv) - still, it dates back to the beginning of ´93. Basically, this really is nothing more than a great improvisation over an interesting harmonical progression, with some gimmicks included regarding instrumentation, and a very tricky chord progression scheme in the coda - and it even sounds better with my current equipment than the original (released on the private tape of the same name) did.
Status: ready for release
PROs: good schmalz, making a good last tune.
CONs: too "synthetic", signature piece of "Farewell"
D. THE FUTURE OF THE FLIPSIDES:
As discussed above, the JANUS project left in its five-year birth period an overhead of eleven pieces of music, of which about fifty minutes are marked "ready for release" - enough to fill another CD ! Together, these pieces (all of which can be credited 100% to me, in contrast to the "Feynman" and "Loisachtal" credits on JANUS) would create an entity apt to equal the artistic quality _and_ musical diversity contained on JANUS - in fact, one wouldn´t be able to tell which "JANUS" was the flipside.
Indeed, there are actually other reasons besides artistic value and "readiness" which affect the treatment of these works in a Moinlabsian release policy - which leads us directly to the misterious concept of the "private tapes".
EXCURSION: The Concept of "Private Tapes"
The Moinlabs "Private Tapes" are musical productions (up to now always released on tape, although the "Years of Madness" release featured a CD-style booklet) produced for and dedicated to a single person, and presented to this person as a gift (birthday or other). A typical private tape contains one or more "signature pieces" (pieces which were produced specifically for this private tape), and is filled up with other current Moinlabs recordings, making these tapes also another form of test drive for the upcoming productions. The JANUS period has been quite active in the sense of these Private Tapes. One counts four private tapes, plus two independent "signature pieces" produced for other people´s tapes. The tapes range in lenght from 35 minutes to 60 minutes and contain eight to 35 minutes of signature material (one has to exclude the "achtzehn" tape here, because it doesn´t really contain a "piece" in the common sense).
The problem with this material however is, as these signature pieces are regarded as "gifts" to the persons receiving the tape, I´m somewhat unwilling to reuse this "gift" in another context (although this procedure has been widely accepted by musicians from Beethoven to Elton John). However, the exclusion of signature pieces from the "JANUS Flipside" list would shorten it for close to forty minutes - leaving only about 35 minutes of mostly half-completed music.
Which brings us back to the essential questions of this section. Number one: Will there be a recording like "The JANUS Flipsides", with a track list like the one shown above ? No, simply because unless some (unlikely) event forces me to reconsider the inclusion of "signature material", the tracks wouldn´t suffice to fill a complete recording. Number Two: What will then happen to the other (i.e. non-signature) pieces on this track list ? I will definitely consider (or re-consider) the release of some of the pieces, at least the stronger of the finished ones. This would make "Amazing Scenes", "Yassir", "Due Reflections", "Ain´t Behavin´" and the original "Prolog" apt for future release - or even a completely new version of "The Sniper". However, there are few chances that all of them will land on a single record. Tracks will get used according to their compability with future projects (i.e. "Die Platte" and "1974").
There is still one last hope for the fan (okay, frankly: if you´ve read _that_ far, I can call you a fan, can´t I ?) longing for the release of this here utopia project "THE JANUS FLIPSIDES": If any future developments will lead to a reconsideration of the "signature" status of the "Years of Madness" material ("Farewell" is already in a "half-signature" state), AND if I haven´t released most of the above material in the meantime on other occasions, I will release a recording like the one constructed above.Time will tell...