Who is Stefan Bachmeier? Where does he come from? Is he a time-traveling synthesist following portals to other dimensions leaving albums of wobbly, heady synth music for us to find in various decades and universes? Is he a world famous musician working under an alias, corrupting frontal lobes and right hemispheres of the minds of the curious since the late 60s? Some even say Bachmeier did short stints playing Moog and the Buchla in bands as diverse as Soft Machine, Gong, and a precursor to Yes known only as “Penny Science”.
Of course, none of this can be verified. All just rumors that have shown up in various Reddit pages and synth forums over the last 20 years. What I can say for sure is that this record showed up from those exquisite cats at Spun Out Of Control with a note that simply said “Drop the needle. Take the dive.” After a couple pints I did just that and found myself immersed in some amazing, heady synth music. Deep, circuital vibes. Heady, hot wax tunes for the needle droppers. Whoever Stefan Bachmeier is, his album The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier is one hell of a journey.
So according to Spun Out Of Control, Stefan Bachmeier was a German science fiction novelist who dabbled in electronic music. “The shadowy Stefan Bachmeier was (or is?) both an author of short science-fiction stories and an electronic musician, who, in a short space of time, recorded a rumoured 50 concept albums to accompany his writing”. He had sort of a renaissance in the early 90s when it was reported that his early work was a big influence on Chris Carter’s The X Files.
Bachmeier, however, became increasingly paranoid and worried for his life. He eventually disappeared. Stephen James Buckley, aka Polypores, was a fan and helped restore several of Bachmeier’s recordings which led to Spun Out Of Control releasing them on three different cassette releases. The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier are those cassettes collected on vinyl, with a bonus track that wasn’t on the original releases.
Listening to The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier I’m reminded of library music of the 70s. It’s the kind of music you’d hear on public access shows about astronomy, Bigfoot, or the Big Bang theory. Heady, bubbly synths that soundtrack your journey into deep space looking for life on other planets; or traveling into the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest in search of the Missing Link. It also puts me in mind of synthesists like Rüdiger Lorenz, Klaus Schulze, and JD Emmanuel, guys that captured the visceral, intellectual, and journey aspects of the synthesizer.
“Foreshadowing” is our entrance into Bachmeier’s musical world, and by contrast his literary one as well. I had missed out on his work when it first arrived, so finding myself in the midst of a musical trilogy is quite breathtaking. Kinetic rhythm, urgent feel, and an almost triumphant scope, this track pulls you into the album without a second thought. “The Shape Of Time” brings to mind more contemporary artists like Slasher Film Festival Strategy and Alone 1980, the simplicity of it never overtaking the emotional magnitude. The gorgeous space drift of “Hidden Rooms Within The Facility” guides along on an unwavering melody and a palpable melancholy. This track really hit me on a visceral level, as did “Delusions Of A Sick Man”, which feels both like synth-baroque and sadly a hand from the past reaching for help in some way.
Polypores’ Stephen James Buckley does an absolutely wonderful job here of compiling, remastering, and restoring Stefan’s work. He’s seems to have reached back into the dark past of a troubled but gifted artist and brought his work into a contemporary light. Any fan of classic synth albums or of the modern resurgence of the synthesizer would be remiss not to have this record playing in their ears.
The Strange Worlds of Stefan Bachmeier goes by at a clip. Nearly 45 minutes of heady, dense synthesizer music that locks into the intellectual dialogue between man and machine, and their interpretation of the written word. A writer haunted by delusions(or maybe not), scoring the worlds he built in his mind with synthetic, melancholy precision. If not for the mere sad reality behind this work, then The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier should be owned and played again and again simply because it’s an amazing testament to synthesizer music. A troubled artist’s testament to his creative and emotional world. It’s a dizzying, subtle electronic masterwork.
9.0 out of 10
The Strange Worlds Of Stefan Bachmeier will be available 12/10 via Spun Out Of Control. Preorder it here.