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Conny Plank

Conny Plank was one of the most important and influential music producers to date. His style of production shaped, and continues to shape, the sound of today's legendary bands and set the standards in the world of music. As a tribute to 'Mister Sound' Grönland Records will be releasing a special compilation of his works.



A first excerpt from an interview with Karl Hyde from the upcoming documentary "Who's that man".

Teaser - "Who's that man" documentary



Ich hatte ein Interview von Conny Plank gelesen indem er über seine Arbeitsweise sprach. Dabei blieb mir vor allem ein Satz im Gedächtnis: 'Craziness is holy'. In Verbindung mit diesem Satz haben die Song-Spuren zu diesem Projekt einen sehr starken Eindruck auf mich gemacht. Sie waren sehr chaotisch und wild aber auf einer anderen Ebene auch extrem stimmig.


Erinnerungen an Conny Plank (SWR Dokumentation vom 13.04.)

In den 70er und 80er Jahren stand Conny Planks Name auf vielen wichtigen Rock und Pop Platten aus Deutschland und Europa. Jetzt ist eine große akkustische Retrospektive erschienen und auch Landesart erinnert an einen großen Sohn des Landes.

Video - SWR



Yes, Conny Plank, one-of-a-kind, unbelievably important for many projects, especially from the early 1970s: Kraftwerk, NEU!, La Düsseldorf. With all certainty I can say that, without Conny, NEU! would have been impossible. Without NEU!, La Düsseldorf would have been impossible – and in all likelihood a whole list of other things. No question, at least in my opinion. Conny had a heart, even for the crazy ones. Conny made a lot of things possible.



Conny was a very resourceful man - part-artist, part engineer, part inventor. I remember being impressed by an invention he’d made, and invention that bore the stamp of his unusual and oblique mind. One of the problems with making complex mixes of music was that, if you wanted to come back to a mix and change a few details you were forced to start from scratch- unless you have some way of remembering the state of the mixing desk when you left it after the original mix. There are now numerous solutions to this problem, but there were non that worked really well in the seventies. Conny came up with one. He mounted a camera above the mixing desk, which looked down over the whole surface of the desk and could take a picture of it. But the clever part was that the same camera could also double as a projector and project the image that it had taken back down onto the desk that way you just hat to adjust each knob so that it matched its picture, and then you were back to the original mix! Another great Conny idea was to have a little radio transmitter mounted in the studio. We would go for a ride in his car, out to the forest, and at a certain time his assistant would start transmitting the music we’d been working on from the studio to the car radio. I remember it was a big old Mercedes with a single elliptical speaker mounted on top of the dashboard. This was such a brilliant invention- because you listen so differently to this when they are in a casual setting like a car.

(p. 50 in 'Pop Kultur, Das Jahrbuch der Musikkultur, Musikmedien & Medienindustrie' published by Dieter Gorny & Jürgen Stark; Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag)



Lernte Konrad Plank erst relativ spät kennen. Aber von dem Moment an verband uns eine tiefe persönliche Freundschaft. Mir fiel sofort sein Interesse an den unterschiedlichsten Musikrichtungen auf, was unter Rockleuten eher die Ausnahme war. Ob das Duke Ellington war, Eurythmics, Brian Eno oder Zupfgeigenhansel, allen ließ er seine ungeteilte Aufmerksamkeit zukommen. Und alle fühlten sich bei ihm heimisch und verstanden. So auch ich. Geradezu frappierend war sein Verständnis für die Einbindung von Musik in Medien. Lange bevor es digitale Steuerungen und Aufzeichnung gab, entwarf er bereits Design, Konstruktionspläne und Einsatzmöglichkeiten für diese Technik. Jemanden wie mir überließ er gern sein Studio als „aktiver Nachtwächter“, und bevor es Frühstück gab, musste er erst einmal wissen, was die Nacht so and Tageslicht geschaufelt hatte. Dann schmeckte auch der Kaffee gleich dreimal so gut. Neben seinen visionäre und fachmännischen Fähigkeiten und ausgestattet mit einem geradezu universellen Musikverständnis machte er aus seiner menschlichen Seite nie eine Mördergrube. Konrad Plank war einfach nicht käuflich, und das ließ er die wissen, die genau das versuchten. Ich selbst habe es erlebt, wie er einem der größten Plattenbossen Hausverbot erteilte oder auch David Bowie bei einem Antrittsbesuch abblitzen ließ. Bis zuletzt hatte er sich eine geradezu kindliche offene Menschenwärme erhalten. Konrad und mich verband unter anderem unserer Liebe zum „Horror mit Komfort“, der sich bei den Les Vampyrettes, wie wir uns nannten, voll austoben konnte. Als ich das Stück Biomutanten mal im BFBS nachts um 2 laufen ließ, klingelte das Telefon. Eine Dame bat, doch umgehend diesen Horror abzustellen. Sie hätte solche Angst. Nichts macht Musik genüsslicher, als wenn man vor ihr Angst hat. Stimmt ́s, Conny?

(p. 47 in 'Pop Kultur, Das Jahrbuch der Musikkultur, Musikmedien & Medienindustrie' published by Dieter Gorny & Jürgen Stark; Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag)



It́s hard for me to refer to Conny in the past tense. He „was“ such a powerful man in both stature and presence that his impression is still immense and lasting. I have a mental picture of him sitting at the control desk of the studio in Neunkirchen (but is wasńt really Neunkirchen, it was our own special music planet). He had a certain way of rocking his shoulders from side to side when the music started to inspire him. You always knew you were onto something good when Conny started shaking, a satisfied grin spread across his face. He was a huge inspiration for Dave an I, in so many respects. A thought provoker... full of unique opinions insights and humour. He hated bullshit, could smell it from miles off and was suitably unimpressed. He spoke at times of the thrill of the electronics sound potential of technology and machines. He made us think... stimulating the creative processes to go further. Over the years we became really good friends, exchanging similar ideas, we were „comrades in arms“, with a shared mistrust of music industry systems, antiquated conventions, consumer hype and corporate culture. In a way, his views could have been described as somewhat „anarchic“, but he conformed to no other group or creed... they belonged to his own unique thought patterns. I always felt the world was a fascinating place to be when Conny was around in him we found a lime minded soul brother-agent provocateur. On one particular trip to Tokyo, he discovered that the Japanese „racist“ term for white people could be roughly translates as „butter stinker“, so Conny went out immediately to print up a T-shirt in Japanese, to wear on the subway which read... "I am a f.... white butter stinker“. It created the desire response. Some people leave this world too soon, creating a massive space behind them that can’t be filled. I wish he was still here, and I can’t really accept that he’s gone because it just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

(p. 48 in 'Pop Kultur, Das Jahrbuch der Musikkultur, Musikmedien & Medienindustrie' published by Dieter Gorny & Jürgen Stark; Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag)



I think that if I had not done recording work at Conny ́s Studio, I would not have continued making music till now. I can’t measure how much I learned from him. What he taught me was not a particular musical style, but something belonging to what can’t be visually expressed, what is beyond verbal description, and what the essence of my existence as a musician is based on. At the time I first visited him, I was merely aggressive; I was unaware not only of the inevitability of my musical career, but also of what I wanted to express in music. He recognized me as a singer, although I was chaotic and impulsive. That has been a strong driving force in my musical career. The memory of my experience at Conny ́s Studio is still growing beautifully, as a pearl does in a shell.

(p. 50 in 'Pop Kultur, Das Jahrbuch der Musikkultur, Musikmedien & Medienindustrie' published by Dieter Gorny & Jürgen Stark; Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag)


'who's that man' - to be released by Grönland Records

In February 2013 Grönland Records will be releasing a 4 disc CD Box called 'who's that man' as a tribute to legendary German producer Conny Plank. Included will be a selection of Plank's most iconic work, along with a series of productions that exemplify his unique sound design. CD 3 features reworks by a host of contemporary artists of the original 24 track magnetic tapes found in the Plank-archives. As a previously unreleased gem, the box will also contain a live concert by Moebius / Steffen / Plank recorded on tape while touring Mexico in 1987.


Michael Rother speaks about Conny Plank

Conny Plank was a unique innovator of sound production. Just like the musicians he chose as collaborateurs Conny was driven by the desire to explore unknown territories and to create a new musical identity. I was fortunate to meet Conny when I played with Kraftwerk in 1971. Later that year Klaus Dinger and I set about recording the first NEU! album and Conny was our logical choice for the part of co-producer, not only because of his amazing skills at the mixing desk but also because he was willing to share the financial risks with us. This was especially impressive because we had no guarantee that any label would want to release our music.

I will never forget Conny Plank´s decisive contributions to the recordings of tracks like Hallogallo, Negativland or Flammende Herzen and Feuerland. It was inspiring to talk with Conny about life in general and to watch him organise our sometimes fuzzy musical ideas into the soundscapes fans know from the first three NEU! albums, the second Harmonia album Deluxe and my first three solo albums. All of these albums (and many more, like e.g. the early ones by Kraftwerk and Cluster) owe Conny Plank so much that it is hard to imagine how these productions would have turned out without his wonderful contributions of creativity, energy and enthusiasm.

Thank you - Für Immer, Conny!