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Thomas Fehlmann

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An important man in the German electronic scene, Zurich-born musician and producer Thomas Fehlmann brought several diverse acts to Germany to record and collaborate. Beginning in the early '80s, his group Palais Schaumburg fused dance rhythms to the experimentalist flair of '70s German rock. A Detroit-Berlin cultural exchange through the Tresor label originally brought Underground Resistance to Germany, and Fehlmann did his part by recording separately with Blake Baxter, Eddie Flashin' Fowlkes, and Juan Atkins (as 3MB). A longtime association with another electronica institution, the Orb, gave him a chance to record and produce the group in Berlin. While managing the band Fisherman's Friend, he convinced two of the members to form Sun Electric and produced their Kitchen album. Around the same time, he and the Orb also collaborated with one of his primary inspirations, guitarist Robert Fripp, as FFWD. Though Fehlmann continued recording throughout the late '90s, his profile raised significantly when he joined Cologne's Kompakt roster, at once becoming the label's elder statesman and one of its most consistent artists. Two albums, 2002's Visions of Blah and 2007's Honigpumpe, compiled material from Kompakt 12" releases while adding new tracks. He helped revive the Orb, who also joined up with Kompakt, co-producing a number of singles and the full-lengths Bicycles & Tricycles (2004) and Okie Dokie It's the Orb on Kompakt (2005). As part of Gudrun Gut's Ocean Club, he built up his reputation as a DJ and assisted in the Berlin troupe's diverse radio show. In 2009, Fehlmann was commissioned to provide music for the documentary 24h Berlin. He issued the material, which subtly incorporated assorted elements from his discography, as Gute Luft (quite possibly titled after a Palais Schaumburg song), released in 2010 on Kompakt. ~ John Bush & Andy Kellman

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1957 in Zurich, Switzerland

Years Active:

'70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s