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Last Farewell: Andreas Leifeld

img  Tobias

On February second, the Ozella label issued a sad statement: "We are very sorry to tell you that Andreas Leifeld our friend, musician, VJ, DJ and recording artist died yesterday in hospital. For all who know him from our work & time we spent with him together and for all who know him through his music. Yesterday night we stood with a few friends around a fire and said farewell to him."

Leifeld was one of the earliest pioneers of the budding German techno-movement and one of the main creative visionaries who would take the music away from its primitive and smiled-at-beginnings into new directions. Closely connected to the Frankfurt-scene (there was a second big one in Berlin, which would turn out to be more commercial, when compared to the hard, spartanic Frankfurt-school tracks), he built up a reputation as a DJ and a producer, releasing vinyl-maxis on stand-out label Harthouse. Harthouse, which would later develop into the more melodic and absolutely groundbreaking Eye-Q, was a driving force, acts like Hardfloor heroes among club-visitors. Leifeld, who had learnt to play bass, guitar and keyboards, always attracted attention as a proponent of the more "musical" branch, which was, in those early years, clearly outnumbered by acts, which knew how to fiddle their knobs on a drum machine, but were lost when asked about musical theory.

Dissatisfied with the limitations of the genre, Leifeld built up a new catalogue in the early 90s - albums like "Discoveries" or "Mysterious Messages" were still driven by a rhythmical imperative, but they allowed for more complex arrangements, warmer textures and more varied melodic and harmonic progressions and hinted at a deep interest in the creative splurge of German Synthesizer wizards Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze back in the 70s. Of "discoveries", music page "artist direct" writes: "Futuristic in conception and execution, this album still harkens back to the sequencer-driven sound of the German electronic school. Yet unlike Tangerine Dream, Leifeld has managed to add rock and pop influences without losing his progressive edge." Success remains limited, even though he manages to secure a distribution deal for the USA, and he establishes himself as a video director and an expert on the field of visualisation of musical material.

The new millenium sees Leifeld's comeback with a new project: Natural Frequencies and a CD: "Ornamental Journey" is a delightful album, free of all expectations and full of harmony and ondulating symmetries, released on Dagobert Böhm's Ozella label. To me, it was one of my favourite works of 2005 and a real discovery. I contact  Andreas to arrange an interview and he gladly accepts. I plan to talk to him about the personal nature of "Ornamental Journey, the power of minimalism and repetition and whether he believes that there is a natural harmony or principle around us and that this principle can be translated into music. Questions are sent, but not answered. After twice trying to get back to him, I send a mail to Böhm, who then phones me to tell me Andreas has died just two days earlier. He had been chronically ill for a long time, with only his closes relatives and friends knowing about his condition.

We will do an extensive feature on Leifeld's disocgraphy and musical legacy soon. Until then, it's a last farewell to a sympathetic musician, a pioneer and a messenger between musical categories.

Homepage: Andreas Leifeld
Homepage: Ozella Music
Source: Andreas Leifeld at Artist Direct

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