Munz, Johannes

German synthesist Johannes Munz was born in 1962 near Aachen, close to the Dutch border. In his early teens he started playing guitar and taking guitar lessons. After switching from acoustic to electric guitar he soon discovered ways to treat the guitar's signals by using effects units and varying tape speeds on domestic reel-to-reel tape machines, as well as employing similarly modified sounds from a small organ and oscillators built from electronics kits. By using this modest equipment and a simple sound-on-sound recording technique, his first efforts at ‘composing' were realized. In the mid-seventies he discovered the early albums by the ground-breaking German group Kraftwerk, who had already been creating and recording sounds and music in much the same way for years and at that time were enjoying their first chart success with the classic ‘Autobahn' album. However, the impetus to further explore the use of electronics in music was provided by two former members of Kraftwerk, who also had worked together in another Düsseldorf-based group called NEU!: Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother. The precise metronomic pulse and heavily distorted guitar sounds of NEU!, the equally tight rhythms and the eccentric yet anthem-like qualities of some of the tunes created by Dinger with his electronic rock outfit La Düsseldorf, and especially Rother's guitar-based dreamily romantic solo recordings provided Munz with the inspiration to try his hand at composing and recording music in a similar vein.Shortly thereafter he also discovered the music of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze, the main representatives of the so- called ‘Berlin school of electronic music', as well as Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis.
Today, however, he regards Michael Rother - and to a lesser extent the ‘Düsseldorf School' as well as the solo recordings by former TD members Peter Baumann and Johannes Schmoelling - as being the main influences on his music. While still at school, Johannes Munz teamed up with electronics boffin Felix Kentgens, who not only provided him with new electronic gadgets, but who also acted as a stage and sound engineer at a number of solo gigs with Munz playing guitar and singing.
He also put together a relatively simple yet sizeable modular synthesizer, to which Munz added some modules of his own. Today Kentgens still occasionally supplies custom-built equipment, such as vocoders, analogue sequencers and special sound-processing devices, as well as dedicated software accessories.
In the early eighties Munz moved to Amsterdam to enrol at the university, where he gained a degree in linguistics and translation studies. Whilst in Amsterdam he maintained his interest in music and electronics, having purchased his first off-the-shelf synths. He joined several short-lived bands as rhythm guitarist, keyboard player and singer, playing his own songs and cover versions of La Düsseldorf's music amongst others.
He also occasionally played and recorded with Anubodh Prem, a former fellow band member and synthesist preferring a more ambient kind of style.
In 1986 another friend and fellow band member, René de Vreng, offered him the use of his new home studio boasting the latest in professional recording equipment and MIDI instruments. Several of the compositions recorded here were performed live by Munz and de Vreng.
Having started working as a translator, Munz soon was able to buy some studio equipment and MIDI synths of his own. In 1990 he moved to Eindhoven to join Philips Translation Services. Feeling confident at last about the material he had gathered over the past few years by working with René de Vreng and in his own home studio, he decided to consult Ron Boots, who at that time already was regarded as one of Europe's finest new synthesists and producers. Ron was fairly impressed by the demo material and offered to produce and release some of it.
Between November 1993 and May 1994 the debut album ‘Gegenlicht' was recorded, mostly at his Dreamscape Studio. Besides engineering and co-producing the album, Ron Boots contributed a blistering synth lead part on ‘Goldener Oktober'.
Unfortunately the release date was postponed several times due to all kinds of difficulties but the album finally came out in February 1995. According to the British EM magazine EMMA, ‘Gegenlicht' features "competent sequencing and decent melodics", while German reviewer Albrecht Piltz (Keyboards) described it as a "display of electronic fireworks, a continuous shower of multicolored stardust", particularly stressing the point that though the album was dedicated to Michael Rother - who had become a friend after he and Munz had met at the Dutch KLEM Festival - "no one dictated this newcomer's music - neither Rother, nor Boots".
One track on the album, ‘Goldener Oktober', is featured on the Radio auf CD compilation, an EM periodical issued on CD by well-known German music journalist and presenter Winfrid Trenkler, who also praised the album's qualities.After upgrading his home studio in 1995 and 1996, Munz joined forces with Dutch synthesist Robert Marselje to contribute an atmospheric track entitled ‘Beyond' to the GROOVE CD ‘Out There lies the Truth', a musical tribute to the successful TV series ‘The X-Files'. This album was sold out just a few weeks after its release.‘Beyond' was also the first track to be produced and recorded exclusively in Munz's home studio.
On 'The Truth is Twisted', the follow-up to ‘Out There lies the Truth', Johannes composed and played together with Rene de Vreng the song 'Current'.
Munz, Johannes
Johannes Munz - Gegenlicht

Artists: Johannes Munz
P: 1994
This album by the German synthesist Johannes Munz was produced by Ron Boots who also plays on one track.
Kinda melodic / rhythmic thing. Johannes Munz was born in 1962. In the 1970's he discovered Electronic Music via Kraftwerk's chart-bursting Autobahn. Many more discoveries followed, including Jarre, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and Schulze, but his main influences were always the Dusseldorf School and the solo music of Michael Rother.
While still being at school Johannes was provided by a friend who was into electronics with a few gadgets, including a basic modular synth. A bit later, Johannes added to it some modules of his own and thus his musical journey began. Michael's school friend (I guess he should be named now, his name is Felix Kentgens) still supplies Johannes with custom-built devices from time to time. In the 1980's Johannes bought a few commercial synths and met fellow musician Rene De Vreng. The two jammed together in Rene's studio for a while, while the job as a translator let Johannes buy himself more synths. Other collaborators during the 1980's included Johannes' ex-colleague and synthesist Anubodh Prem.
In early 1990's Ron Boots offered a contract to Johannes. The album Gegenlicht was recorded in 1993 - 1994.
It got positive reviews from specialized EM press.

13,75 EUR
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Various Artists - Four, the Truth

Artist: Various Artists
P: 1998
This is no. 4 in the ongoing, very successful series of electronic music inspired by the X-Files. Same as for the former parts, several teams of e-musicians teamed up in the studio, bringing adventurous music to life that wouldn't have happened otherwise. On "Four, The Truth" you this time can hear the stunning results from e.g. Ian Boddy, Vidna Obmana, Mario Schönwälder, Detlef Keller, Kees Aerts, Harold van der Heijden,Volker Rapp, Eric van der Heijden and of course Ron Boots. Those who already have the former three CD's, don't miss this one. If you're not yet familiar with it, do buy this one and become an addict of this unique concept music too!
"Four The Truth" was voted "Compilation Album of the Year" for 1998 by the listeners of the Canadian Radio show "The Nightflight" hosted by Scott Brodie and Matt Gilbo.

13,75 EUR
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Various Artists - Out there lies the Truth

Artist: Various Artists
P: 1996
This is the first CD in the series of music inspired by the popular SF- series "The X-Files", being a overall succes untill now.
The album blends out with catchy electronic music ranging from dynamic and up-tempo tracks to fascinating, overwhelming soundtextures, ending with the great, dancelike track "The Machine" by Ron Boots and Eric van der Heijden.
In 1996, the good folks at Groove Unlimited, set out to do a CD of music inspired by the internationally popular television series, "The X-Files." Rather than leave the project to a single artiste, they gathered a group of talented electronicians and turned them loose in the studio. The result was "Out there Lies the Truth" (a very subtle pun). The CD features Ron Boots, Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel (a.k.a. Hemisphere), Johannes Munz, Robert Marselje, Kees Aerts, Jean Paul van Engelen, Eric van der Heijden and Harold van der Heijden.
The pairings were inspired and dynamic! The diversity of electronic styles delivers a melange of eclectic grabbers. This CD has it all - and then some! The styles range from dense atmospheres to rhythmic ambience to overt sequences.
The feelings evoked are mysterious, scary and ethereal. (Being only vaguely familiar with the show, I can only relate to the sci-fi atmosphere in general.) The soundscapes are majestic; the atmospheres are expansive; the experimental overtones are eerie.
I had feelings of impending doom juxtaposed by feelings of joy at new discoveries. The limits of my musical boundaries were stretched and I found myself listening again and again (and again!) to this electronic treasure.
Finally, the excellent production and sound quality of the album makes it a feast to listen to.

10,90 EUR
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Various Artists - The Truth is Twisted

Artist: Various Artists
P: 1996 / 2010
Part 2 has again some new couples of talented nowadays e-musicians were formed, which led to some amazing new compostions in the studio. A wide range of atmospheric and more rhythmic/sequencer oriented music is featured throughout the album, which makes up for over an hour of excellent electronic music that shouldn't be missed. Kees Aerts, Ron Boots, Jean Paul van Engelen, Robert Marselje, Harold van der Heijden, Johannes Munz and Eric van der Heijden all returned for a second shot. Harold Teunissen, Volker Rapp, Alpha Wave Movement (nee Gregory Kyryluk) and Rene de Vreng joined them for the fun.
The chance to create new music beyond their self-defined boundaries appealed to these artistes too. The sci-fi arena allows for expansive atmospheres and experimental textures not normally heard in "mainstream" European sequencer e-music. Do not misunderstand! This CD has plenty of sequences and loads of rhythmic ambience. The unique blend of those styles with the minimalist atmospheres more often associated with American e-music gives this album high marks for originality and creativity. The CD also features some cool voice samples, presumably from the show.

13,75 EUR
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Various Artists - Truth or Dare

Artist: Various Artists
P: 1997 / 2010
Part 3 of the "Truth" CD-series is digging even deeper into mysterious sound world inspired by The X-Files. Several different couples of musicians were put together in the studio, and again the outcomes have turned out both unexpectedly & fantastic. Newcomers on this CD are the guys from Airsculpture and the talented Amsterdam-based musician James J. Clent. This amazing collection of electronic music takes us deeper into the mysteries and nuances of Scully's adventures. It also takes us into the quirky soundworlds of some of Europe's finest synthesists! The fun and playful sequences and atmospheres are here. The experimental and avante garde textures surrounds those qualities. The journeys are beyond the sci-fi. Deep listening extends the tendrils of this music into my heart and my soul. Not only is this great music, it is also a meditative and contemplative listening experience.

13,75 EUR
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