TV Victor

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We are happy to present TV Victor’s sonic exploration “Deep Entry“.

Udo Heitfeld aka TV Victor was a member of the fabulous No Zen Orchestra in the 1980’s, during this time he became one of the first artists on Tresor Records. Over the years he has released several albums on the reputable Berlin imprint.

He creates experimental and abstract sonic spaces that invite the listener to temporarily escape reality. Other-worldly sounds, music in its own sphere, arrives from the distance, creating a veil over our bodies and minds.

‘Deep Entry’ is an incredibly immersive work, what’s the story behind your contribution to LFI…

I like to listen to music without groove and so I like to make music without groove. I want to create imaginary spaces with my music. More like abstract, narrative music that takes you on a journey through unheard acoustic dimensions. Rhythm disturbs in that way. Rhythm is much too concrete, too rigid. In 2005, I started my deep ambient project. I created a technique I called “time zoom“. Zooming into time of a sound by pitching down the acoustic material down to 100%. This opens a totally different experience of the material. And now I see this is a consequent development of TV Victor’s work. I am very happy with 3 releases of this project during the last 3 years.  I want to thank the people running the labels that realized these releases, they all are enthusiasts in music beyond mainstream and of course fans of TV Victor. I am really glad they chose to work together with TV Victor. That strengthens my confidence in people who like the kind of music I (and of course many other people) make and those who have courage to invest in the music we as artists make. Like you did, Izabel.  “Deep entry“ on Lullabies of Insomniacs is another step on this trip through the deep ambient universe.

You performed with No Zen Orchestra in the late 80’s alongside Dimitri Hegemann, Günter Schickert, Alexander Fusco, Piers Headley, Nadja Molt, and David Boysen. Can you tell us about the band and your involvement?

David Boysen formed this group in the mid 1980’s. We did some remarkable performances, totally free with 2 drummers, 2 bass players, 4 or 5 guitarists and the fabulous Nadja singing. I was one of the bass players. In 1987 we had the chance to make a record. In the 1980’s the Berlin Senate had a commissioner for rock music. Every year he organized a competition for Berlin rock bands. Then a few bands were chosen to perform at the final. The winners of the competition got some studio time paid. We luckily belonged to the winners and recorded “Invisible College”. That was a chaotic and colorful constellation of members, as a band No Zen spontaneously booked musicians I never met again, like the two Nubian guys playing percussion. Dimitri Hegemann met them, I guess, one or two days before studio work by chance and invited them to join us. Or Rick Garcia the brilliant guitar player from New York. I am glad that young people are interested in No Zen today. Now Dimitri plans to make some remixes of the old studio material. We just converted the 24 track tapes to digital hard disc. We made some rough mixes focusing on the tracks Nadja is singing on. It will take a little while until we will finish this work. But I guess the results will be quite exciting.

Your first solo production ‘Moondance’ (1989) is a particularly interesting album which combines elements of cosmic and pop, what were your inspirations for this?

In 1988 I bought my first little studio. My first computer was an Atari st 1040. 1MB RAM. The software was Creator, which later developed into Logic. I had the idea of a futuristic sound. Music from a future civilization much more developed then ours and capable of space migration.  I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, one big influence of this time was the Nasa Apollo project and of course Star Trek and a German science fiction TV series called Spaceship Orion. I remember in Spaceship Orion they had a submarine station, there was a club and people carried out a strange dance to a strange futuristic sound. That had a deep impression on me as a little boy. 20 years later I was concerned with the writings of Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson. I always had a tend to utopistic ideas and so I created the album Moondance. Moondance and zero gravity were chiffres for the utopia of a developed future, a different kind of reality and consciousness. Moondance was the soundtrack of the anticipation of this future. I remember we did a performance where the girls designed some space suites and danced to my music like in Spaceship Orion.  I wanted to make a statement against the rough, much too loud and aggressive rock music of late 80’s in Berlin. Sure, Moondance was orientated towards pop music, it had elements of pop music like song structure, lyrics and vocals. You can also hear the elements which became later the defining characteristics of the development of TV Victor’s ambient music and individual interpretation of trance.

Interfisch records and UFO seem to be where it all started. Can you share some memories from these earlier days?

In 1987 we had a place called Fischbüro. That was a little store in Kreuzberg where we met every Saturday night. It was a kind of Dada Club. The rent was very cheap, some 150 or 200 Euro a month. The store had coal furnace and in winter time we asked the people to bring some coals with them to heat the place. People were very creative. We had a speaker’s desk and strange performances took place. That was a lot of fun and there were definitely no commercial interests. Everybody who had an idea was invited to perform. Fischbüro was a place for young Berlin creatives, a lot of these people later made their way in the music business. The Fischbüro was a nucleus of what happened a few years later…  Some months after opening we changed the place. This new place had a big cellar and somebody had the idea to organize some acid house parties. That was the beginning of the UFO Club. Later Dimitri Hegemann and Achim Kohlberger founded the Fischlabor and in the early 90’s the Tresor Club. The wall came down and the triumph of techno music in Berlin started. The rest is history. But it all started at Fischbüro.

How has Berlin’s music soundscape changed for you over the last 3 decades?

30 years is a long time. I came to West Berlin in 1980. West Berlin was a total different city than Berlin today. West Berlin was provincial and placid and immured by the wall, the situation was very special. Flats were very cheap and a lot of young people, artists, intellectuals, came to avoid military service or to escape the smugness and narrow-mindedness of West Germany. That made West Berlin a unique place, a hotspot of sub-cultural and social experiments. The young generation was much more political, in the 1970’s and 80’s there was a huge number of squatted houses. Punk and No Wave dominated, the early Atonal Festivals were happening as was the Genialen Dilettanten Festival and figures like David Bowie and Iggy Pop were attracted by the special atmosphere. David Bowie recorded his album “Heroes” in Berlin. I guess West Berlin was a place you never found twice in the world… Then the wall came down and everything changed. The youth of both parts of the city melted together in a new movement called techno. It all started with acid house and techno house, then techno exploded. Over night, clubs were founded in lost industrial compounds in East Berlin. Mostly illegal because of a lack of public control and regulations. It was a time of anarchy and relief and techno music was the soundtrack. It was a huge success. In the short time of 3 or 4 years techno became the biggest youth movement after World War 2. The Love Parade started with 400 or 500 people a few years later there was a million people. The early 90’s laid the foundation for the later development of Berlin’s concerning club culture and night time economy. Before, music was made by musicians playing instruments. Techno established an electronic dominance. Computers and DJs substituted the traditional ways of producing and performing and later mp3 technology changed the whole music business, the ways music was consumed and listened to. Today club culture and of course Berlin still has an outstanding output and remains a very important economic factor. But the avante-garde and anarchistic scenes of the early years has changed into a mass tourist and easyjetset party movement. Many people are stressed fromthis development because it leads to gentrification and destruction of cultural and sub cultural diversity. Now Berlin has lost some of its uniqueness by destroying what created this uniqueness. And concerning music: we face a kind of techno mono-culture. With increasing costs everywhere the clubs are forced to be successful and that means no experiments, just party. For example, in the 90ties nearly every club had a chill out room, now those rooms are abandoned.  However there are promising attempts to establish places for different kinds of electronic music, for example the new Atonal Festival at the Kraftwerk, Berlin or The Long Now. I also heard about a special Ambient Festival which might be organized next year. Don’t forget: music is the message, not the medium.

Speaking of new ventures, in previous conversations you mentioned your plans for some music and lifestyle projects, can you shed some light as to what these might be?

 It is more about music and history. We are planning to build an exhibition focusing on the early years of the techno movement in Berlin, from 1990 until 1994, (1991 being the summer of love in Berlin). The name of the exhibition will be Berlin ’91 Techno und die große Freiheit, which means techno and the great freedom. That is a perfect description of the feeling of the time. The exhibition documents the early years after the wall came down in Berlin, the special situation and atmosphere which were the basis for the techno revolution. The exhibition will not only be a tribute to the techno music but also to the movement of techno and all the people who were part of this movement. These 5 years after the wall came down were very special, techno was the dominating culture of young people and had a huge charisma on people around the world. Furthermore techno had a great impact on the image of  Berlin in the world and for the development of the city over the last 20 years. We want to commemorate this remarkable period in history, the spirit, the experiences, the love, the tolerance and the creativity of the time.  To remember what is possible and what can happen when we decrease regulations on the creative scene and encourage cities to support and give people the freedom and space to evolve their creativity.