Manikin Records of Germany is one of Europe's many Electronic Music labels that wait until KLEM Dag to release new CDs. Several months ago Mario Schonwalder contacted my friend Peter D Gulch about re-releasing the three legendary Nightcrawlers LPs as a double CD retrospective on Manikin. An agreement was struck and Peter sent copies of the master tapes to Manikin and waited.
As planned, on October 11th, at KLEM Dag '97, The Nightcrawlers CD Traveling Backwards was released and for the first time their music is available on CD. It is hoped that now The Nightcrawlers will receive the recognition they deserve and that their place be known in the history of Spacemusic.
The group began as two brothers who, in the 1970s, were so influenced by the then new Electronic Spacemusic coming out of Germany that they gave up all other pursuits to focus attention on searching out more music by the heroes of the day: Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Popol Vuh, Ash Ra Tempel and even Kalheinz Stockhausen.
Upon acquiring their own means of expressing themselves musically in the mode of the Berlin School, The Nightcrawlers formed and began taping jam sessions in their garage, ultimately producing 35 cassette releases and almost single handedly launching the cassette underground.
Throughout the 1980s The Nightcrawlers were prolific concert performers and should be given credit for contributions to the then dawning Electronic Music scene here in Philadelphia. Before the introduction of MIDI and today's more stable and compact music equipment, performing Spacemusic live was a considerable task. Always showing up at concerts with a truckload of gear, The Nightcrawlers would take hours to set up. Through their concert efforts, they influenced many individuals to explore the idea of making their own music, helped develop new venues, and brought to the attention of an unaware public that Electronic Music existed and was more than just a studio art.
At the time of their first self-titled LP, The Nightcrawlers were one in a group of only about three or four American Spacemusic artists who independently released their own music on vinyl.
A total of three LPs were released by The Nightcrawlers: The Nightcrawlers (1983), Space Walk (1985) and Shadows of Light (1987). All tracks from these three LPs fit onto the Traveling Backwards retrospective.
Thanks to Mario Schonwalder of Manikin Records for working hard to bring to light a piece of Spacemusic history.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 16 October 1997