Klaus Schønning’s 1979 debut was a pioneering cosmic voyage on electronic instruments – inspired by Ray Manzarek, Wendy Carlos and Denmark’s nature – the Frederiksberg Records reissue marks 40 years

Don’t miss this essential reissue of the privately pressed Lydglimt, by Klaus Schønning, it’s one of the most beautiful albums of the year and repressed to the highest standards by the ever-trusty Frederiksberg Records. It joins the dots between prog, folk, new-age, ambient and electronica, as an innovative young artist started a visionary career in music.

“Frederiksberg Records is proud to announce the 40th anniversary LP reissue of Lydglimt, done in close collaboration with Klaus Schønning,” says label head, Andreas Vingaard. “In contrast with the loud musical landscape of jazz, rock and punk, which dominated Denmark in the late 70’s, Schønning took a different path. He chose to combine the serenity of nature with futuristic machinery. He bought his first electronic organ at the age of 13 and, guided by his heroes Ray Manzarek and Walter Carlos [now Wendy – Ed.], was determined to make his own kind of music on electronic instruments. With the introduction of the first Roland synthesizer and a Teac 4-track recorder, Schønning was well-equipped for the task.”

The story that Andreas explains conjures up a magical image of the snowy winter in 1979 in Denmark – a wild-haired, 25-year old Schønning was biking around Copenhagen with a box of records to sell. It was his debut album Lydglimt (meaning ‘glimpses of sound’), musically illustrating Denmark’s natural surroundings and separated into two suites – Skoven (‘the Woods’) and Stranden (‘the Shore’) and with field recordings of birds and waves.

Schønning continued releasing music, both on his own and on established labels and continues to compose to this day – also releasing a follow up – Lydglimt II, in 2018.

Based in New York, Andreas adds: “One of the secrets to its peculiar sound is the lack of any drum machines. Lydglimt is awash with droning and almost danceable rhythms. Bordering on obsession with doing things his own way, Schønning devised a technique of using white noise and the keyboard itself as a percussion instrument. His aim was to humanize the technology while making the most of his limited means.

“40 years since its initial release, Lydglimt has lingered on as an obscure classic, tracing the missing links between the heritage of folk and prog, the ancestry of classic composition and the early promise of electronic music.

“With lyrical and symphonic elements mixed with experimental ideas, Lydglimt stands a part as a statement of its time. A precursor of sorts to what later became known as new age music, Schønning has been embraced as a pioneer and Lydglimt has proven itself to be timeless in its appeal.”

In 1981, he received a letter from Suzanne Menzel, a fellow musician who heard his music on the radio and proposed a collaboration. The result was Menzel’s sole album release, the privately pressed Goodbyes And Beginnings (reaching triple figures on Discogs and re-issued on Frederiksberg Records in 2018). The label has reissued some expertly selected albums, this 40th anniversary reissue follows Sons of Ethiopia by Admas earlier this year – another privately pressed album by Ethiopian ex-pats, in Washington DC, in 1984.

WTM has loved this label for a few years now, whether it’s private press fusion, or sublime Scandinavian jazz – we interviewed Andreaas when he dropped the label’s debut reissue, the amazing jazz album by Carsten Meinert Kvartet, To You.

For more visit the Frederiksbersg Records Bandcamp.

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