It’s always a difficult task to start writing about Pete Namlook and the music universe that he built and expanded throughout his career. A prolific producer of electronic music for more than two decades, Frankfurt born Peter Kuhlmann was one of the most influential figures of electronic and ambient music, with a significant - if not radical - contribution to this colorful and often misunderstood music genre. Namlook is Koolman spelled backward.
’I’m always searching for something, researching it and trying to improve things. I am happy to be surprised by new sounds and just to listen with open ears. That makes me work with many different people, as everyone has their own style and heir own way of making and experiencing music. I learn from everyone just as they certainly take home something of me. That’s the way to always be innovative and see things in a new light, find new stuff, start new experiments.’ Pete Namlook - Slices feature.
Pete Namlook released a huge number of solo albums, as well as collaboration albums with notable artists such as Klaus Schulze, Bill Laswell, Dr. Atmo (real name Amir Abadi), Geir Jenssen (alias Biosphere), Karl Berger, Dandy Jack, Dj Brainwave, Lorenzo Montanà, Robert Sattler, Jonah Sharp, Wolfram Spyra, Steve Stoll, Charles Uzzell-Edwards, Peter Prochir, Jochem Paap, Burhan Öçal, David Moufang (aka Move D), Mixmaster Morris, Higher Intelligence Agency (real name Robert Bird), Hubertus Held, Rob Gordon, Robert Görl, Gaudi, Pascal F.E.O.S., Dj Criss, Dj Dag, Atom Heart, Richie Hawtin, Tetsu Inoue, Atom™ and Tying Tiffany.
In 1992, he founded the German record label FAX +49-69/450464, which he masterminded, and made his first album, Silence (released on Fax in 1992), a collaboration with Dr Atmo (and one of the first albums released only on compact disc). Namlook understood that producing was more important than recording and he set out to discover, encourage and promote music by ambient electronic artists. During the first year alone, his label released over 100 records and CDs.
"I am proud for each and every release/collaboration that I did. It is the same thing as if you would ask a father which child he loves most... forget it..." - interview for Barcode Magazine, 2002.
The label name refers to the "fax" as a medium for fast and cheap distribution of ideas. Its humble weekly releases are equivalent to sending a fax to a group of friends.
’I don’t see myself as someone making a certain type of music and that’s that. Instead I’m someone who ‘s researching music and nature, as nature has helped me so much. It gives me a great balance.’ Pete Namlook - Slices feature.
Although Namlook was frequently pigeonholed as an ambient producer, his music universe is much more vast. ’This term ‘ambient’ was rather easy to use, as many people thought superficially that that might fit with Brian Eno. Ambient, as Eno defines it, and he created this definition, is more or less musical wallpaper. It stays in the background and serves the environment rather than saying something itself. In my definition of Ambient, which has nothing in common with Eno’s definition, it’s about a journey, intense emotions that need to be transported, environmental music, Jazz, Ethno, depending on what project I’m working on. You have to differentiate quite clearly between Ambient in a Techno sense, in my books starting with The KLF’s Chill Out album in 1991, and on the other hand Brian Eno, a purely conceptual thing. I never found myself in that, as that’s a kind of music that goes right through me. This music isn’t meant to touch or move, it’s just ambiance. That’s why I’m happy and always open to new descriptions of this genre.’ - Pete Namlook - Slices feature.
Pete Namlook passed away in November 8 2012, at the age of 51. This audio collage is a long journey through his countless music projects and releases, solo or with other notable artists. Dive in.