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Pyrolator "Ausland" Re-Issue

Just two years separate Pyrolator’s 1979 debut “Inland” and the 1981 album “Ausland”. Nevertheless, they could hardly be more different from one another. If “Inland” reflects the industrial decay and politically explosive atmosphere of 1977 and the years thereafter in the Federal Republic of Germany, then “Ausland” is a buoyant, playful and yet groundbreaking pop album.

There had been some significant developments since 1979. The Ata Tak label, which Pyrolator had co-founded, had hit a rich vein of form with the debut album by Der Plan (Pyrolator was also a band member), Andreas Dorau’s hit single “Fred vom Jupiter” and Holger Hiller’s debut single. Pyrolator made his first trip to the USA, travelling the land from east to west over a period of three months. This all paved the way for the production of  “Ausland” and pointed the way ahead for the Ata Tak label as well. On the west coast, Pyrolator met up with the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS), a collective in the process of exploring the frontiers between noise and industrial on the one hand and easy listening on the other. It was the influence of such free spirits which opened up the Ata Tak world and that of Pyrolator to “Schlager” and its American equivalent, easy listening. This mix of electronic elements and supposedly left-field pop music of times past runs through the Ata-Tak oeuvre and, with the benefit of hindsight, can be identified as the label’s trademark.

A further difference to “Inland” is that a long list of musicians participated in the “Ausland” recordings. In the USA, Pyrolator played together with designer Chris Lunch and his brother as support act for the likes of DNA and X. This moved Pyrolator to decide that he would not produce his next album alone, but with other musicians and technicians. With the help of the genius Werner Lambertz, inventor of “Brontologik”, a forerunner of midi systems, and Ata Tak and Der Plan cohort Frank Fenstermacher, Pyrolator recorded the backing tracks on which other musicians would subsequently play their overdubs.

The critics were in agreement when “Ausland” was released. From the progressive “Sounds” to the rather more traditional “Musikexpress”, all the way to the British “New Musical Express” (NME), the album met with universal praise. NME heralded Pyrolator as a “great pioneer” and quite right too. He is still a pioneer today.

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