When one looks at his LP covers and listens to the great variety of productions, it is quite surprising to read a – clearly Dutch – name like Jasper van ’t Hof. Ranging from fusion jazz to ambient electronics and tribal house music, the Dutch composer has an interesting discography worth checking out.
Berlin, late seventies. In a divided city characterized by political tumult there was a massive resurgence of young creatives, rebels, forward thinkers – a lively community that left its influence on music and art in all its forms for ages to come.
Predominantly recognized for its post-punk era, this city simultaneously contained more refined and machine-based movement. Futuristic evolutions of krautrock and early synthesizer experiments that fly by names such as New Age and Berlin School (even though genre-dropping is often tiresome, the latter is pretty cool don’t you think?). One label in particular, Innovative Communication, has been a torchbearer of those sounds.
Cofounded by electronics pioneer Klaus Schulze (ex-Tangerine Dream & Ash Ra Tempel) in 1979, Innovative Communication is a magical and shapeshifting label. With hundreds of releases, delving into its catalogue can be a hit and miss; but once you keep digging, you find gems. Pure gems. In 1983 Klaus sold the project. Together with subsequent label owners (e.g. Michael Weissner, one half of producer duo Software) we are presented with an ever-refreshing and timeless output that defines this label. Get started with these six tracks, enjoy digging and while you’re at it, let the beautiful cover art work its way into you too. Welcome to Innovative Communication.
Let’s start with this one. One of the absolute best this label has put out. With Digital Dreams (1988) they have seemingly chosen one of the most on-point album titles ever. If you don’t know this yet, you might want to wait and put it on when you are in your comfiest space today. Float and enjoy.
While Klaus is most known for his ambient and progressive excursions, on Audentity (1983) you see him in a rare mode. Crazy intergalactic party jam - could this be a Berliner nod to the cosmic disco-varieties being made throughout the Caribbean region at that time?
Universal Ave (1986). Perfect album for on the road. Heartbreaker is outstanding – that bassline and those sweeps and guitar licks.
Luna Africa (1981) - Fans of this album remain in limbo over whether this is best played on 33 or 45 rpm. With its atmospheric sounds and pulsating rhythms, Die Drachentrommler is one of those tracks you wouldn’t mind hearing on loop.
O Queen of Saba
Another Clara masterpiece. This track "O Queen of Saba" on the album Memorymetropolis (1983) is a bouncy bassline roller way ahead of its time. Have fun deejays!
As with all albums listed here, listening to them from start till end well adds up to the experience. For one track in particular on Mosaique (1981), Computer Voice, it could be said that it is able to capture the vibe of an entire album within its 13 minute playtime.