- Bureau B
Rolf Trostel is a protagonist of the so-called Berliner Schule / Berlin School (Tangerine
Dream, Klaus Schulze). On his first album “Inselmusik” (1981) he explores the sonic
possibilities of the recently introduced PPG wavetable synthesizer. The music is based on
live performances from the late 1970s by Trostel and Krautrock guitarist Günter Schickert.
Formally speaking, “Inselmusik” is a demonstration of the PPG Wave Computer 360 A synthesizer.
Rolf Trostel had worked briefly as a distributor for the manufacturer, affording him ample opportunity
to play the instrument for presentation purposes. In terms of content, “Inselmusik” is minimalist,
meditative and contemplative music, enriched with remarkable choral sounds, flutes and effects.
Overlapping sequencer lines and dominant expanses with feel-good harmonies are carried along
on calm, soothing beats. Trostel described his music at the time as “Klangfarbenkompositionen” -
tonal, textural compositions.
Wavetable synthesis is commonplace now—in considerably advanced form—and integrated in
many a soundcard or digital synthesizer. The version which featured in the PPG Wave Computer
360 was puristic, to say the least. The clanging tones it created could be harsh or brittle at times.
This highly distinctive sound, particularly in combination with the charming Roland CR-78
CompuRhythm drum machine amounted to a real surprise package back then. The latter's mighty
kick has stood the test of time, sounding no less powerful today,.
Our ears have long since grown used to digital sounds and patterns crafted with wavetable
technology. But the filterless, puristical methodology deployed here serves to emphasize the work's
unique sonic qualities. “Inselmusik“ thus allows us to grasp just how astonishing these often
raucous sounds must have seemed when first unleashed.
Trostel's early releases have legitimately assumed the status of valuable contemporary documents,
rarities amongst the few albums which illustrate how the sonic pioneer of wavetable synthesis
played such a fundamental role in sonic development; Rolf Trostel recorded “Inselmusik“ exclusively
with this very synthesizer, a corresponding sequencer and CR-78 drum computer in his own
home studio. The initial pressing of 1000 LPs sold out in no time, encouraging Trostel to continue.