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Summer 1999


[Deutsche Fassung]

Like in every good record label, also at GROB in the beginning there was a personal factor. The founder will publish music that they wanted to have published. But this autonomous way of accepting no other commitments than those to the musicians published, does not mean there is no concept about the label's position.
On one side there is an abundance of small labels all over the world that bring out music which otherwise, for culture-industrial reasons would not have a chance to be published. Of course GROB also wants to take part in this network, organizing exchange and documenting rare music. On the other hand we see an unprecedented increase of free and experimental music due to the simpler economic possibilities of production that also GROB will benefit from. This is particularly true to the fields of Improvised Music and non-academic avantgarde at the edges of Jazz, Rock and Electronic Music.

As GROB wants to intervene in these fields to speed up the exploration of these edges, the good taste of the producers is not enough of a legitimating. Whether GROB is able to add something new or even something substantial to the discussion of different musics will come clear after the first regular releases are out. Anyway it is the intention of the producers to support and publish this kind of Improvised Music that is not submitted to the well known clishés of post-serialism, free jazz and free rock but that come up with different perspectives and different insights about commerciality and zeitgeist-compatibility. GROB - like many other labels and editors - want to unveil the productivity of a scene which is in fact too diverse to be called a scene.

The label is rooted in the frustration on the fugitive character of Improvised Music. As a concert organiser, journalist and fan of Improvised Music Felix Klopotek has witnessed many magic moments that later were gone forever. Great concerts that nobody recorded, great groups that did not find their way to making a good recording. Being aware of the simple possibility of copying CDs (by means of CD-burner connected to the computer) Klopotek and his friend Simon Goertz had the idea to fight this frustration and record the concerts according to prior agreement with the musicians and publish them on CD. The name GROB comes from the German word for ROUGH and fits to the recording techniques and as well as to the covers - a simple cardboard folded twice.

The idea to bring out editions of 100 copies manufacturally assembled and giving half of them to the musicians was widely agreed by the activists which means: the improvisers. First releases were: Beastieshopbeach (»yellow album«, GROB 002), Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra (»queue«, GROB 005), Olaf Rupp (»September«, GROB 006), and Eugene Chadbourne (»Any Other suggestions?«, GROB 009).

Soon it became clear that the first idea, to record concerts, did not work. The musicians recorded and selected music especially for GROB - an effort that was not at all justified by the small number of copies published.
What is more the demand for CDs was unusually high. And finally the readable CD is not a rewarding media - it is too expensive and too strenuous a pastime to copy single CDrs and fold each cover by hand...
In Joseph Suchy we found an experienced, although enigmatic musician and a label-founder (among others »Gefriem« with FX Randomiz and Jan Werner). He is the right partner to do the next step: publishing regular CDs on a formally registered label in decent numbers.
Joseph Suchy who was working as a producer in electronic- and world music, is a non-compromise innovator in music and a congenial heir of the post-Hendrix continuum. His inside knowledge is most important to the whole process of production.

Simon Görtz
Felix Klopotek
Josef Suchy
Hans GROB - Founder of GROB
Hans Grob - Founder of GROB
Hans Grob is the original godfather of the Cologne underground scene. It is said that concerts only start when Hans Grob has taken his seat in the first row, drinking his much-too-strong-coffee. As a strong and megalomaniac character he left GROB shortly after he supported Felix Klopotek to bring the label into life - his field of activities had to be wider than "just" producing other people's records. Nowadays he prefers to perform live on stage with his electric Gibson guitar. He plays with the Free Noise Bands Jaruzelski, Electroshock, Koro (w/ Joseph Suchy) and Sensitive Sisters (w/ Peter Brötzmann, Christoph Winkel and Willi Kellers). Sometimes he shows up, sometimes he doesn't.
He refuses to speak in public but he answers emails:

Visit Hans Grob at the GROB Photogallery.

ich gestehe,
ich habe keine hoffnung.
die blinden reden von einem ausweg,
ich sehe.
wenn die irrtümer verbraucht sind,
sitzt als letzter gesellschafter
uns das nichts gegenüber.
bertolt brecht