1983 Martin Kolbe & Ralf Illenberger: Tronic
Since all our reord albums so far had been limited to the typical soft Kolbe-Illenberger sound we felt we had to break loose of its constrictions which we then did without taking commercial aspects into account. During one and a half years we booked the studio only when we were full of energy and felt uncompromising. There was no concept, no existing compositions; improvisations led to a first sketch and from then on we just let go; sensually, playfully, always looking to go beyond the limit.
Ralf remembered his piano skills and played synthesizers. After many years I took a seat Ibehind a drum kit and enjoyed playing the fretless bass. Both of us let our Gibsons and Fenders scream through a fully turned up Mesa Boogie amp and we used literally any instrument we could find in the studio. Anne Haigis dropped by one night and sang in an incredibly expressive way to two of our pieces which was perfect because that was exactly how we wanted it to be: extraordinary, awkward, but still aesthetic.
The result was an extremely dense music falling from one extreme into the next. Urban drive and natural sounds string together, from polyphonic and complex harmonies to simple and harmonious melodies, from straight 4/4 beats to intricate metres like 5/4 or 13/8 - you can hear just about everything we were capable of at that time.
Many of our old fans were baffled or startled because this record had almost nothing to do with what they were used to hearing from us. Other listeners knew only this album and were surprised to find an acoustic guitar duo when they came to our concerts. In terms of career or commercial aspects the release of this record was like playing Russian Roulette and probably we are still paying for the extremely high production costs. However, this phase of our progression was definitely essential and logical. We had to explore the extremes in order to be able to return to the basics.