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Günther Koch Revisited – Voll In Den Mann

2 CDs

The Bavarian Beatman
If there was ever a man of football, a man of today's, totally shabby media football, if there was ever such a one who managed to become first a so-called "cult figure" and then a figure of art, a subject for media art, an artistic character, then it has to be Günther Koch.
Most people sit up and take notice when art is mentioned, or they parade the title of the work of art (before them), but this does not devalue the attempt made with Günther Koch Revisited – Voll in den Mann (Günther Koch Revisited – Full Frontal Attack), this symphony in twenty-two parts, to pay tribute to, honour and to a small extent, as befits contemporary art, destroy and, as far as I'm concerned, deconstruct a living legend of sports commentary, or more accurately: live radio reporting.
Of course, it would not be totally inappropriate to ask whether Koch, often and quite rightly called a "poet" and "virtuoso" and "artist", this several-times award laureate (including the "Viktoria" from Sport Bild and the Herbert Zimmermann Prize from ARD), whether someone who is his own DJ can be outdone, ennobled, so to speak out-arted. Koch improvises like no other; Koch tuts, shouts, bellows, whispers, sings, implores, blubs, celebrates, curses and extols with passion and fidelity; Koch modulates maniacally, piles up monstrous sentences, assembles and combines the incompatible as one obsessed, the bright tone of hymnal enthusiasm with digression, the dialect touch with an educated bon mot, casual chat with concentrated information, objective description with the tumult of the fans. What and who can do justice to him, this original tenor, the Pavarotti or, hm, perhaps more the Bergonzi of the microphone?
Ror Wolf, the unsurpassed wizard of the medium and art form of the radio play, who attributed to the almost faded old radio "something pleasantly dangerous, something gently forbidden" and had to put together his famous pieces Der Ball ist rund – The Ball is Round and Schwierigkeiten beim Umschalten – Difficulties with Switching Over in days and nights of pasting drudgery – Ror Wolf did not, unfortunately, have at his disposal the most modern equipment and is probably amazed at what an artistic stimulus Günther Koch is for the most advanced authors, tinkerers and musicians; for, apart from the artistic finesse, there is something strangely emotional and melancholic that flows or flickers through even the feverish computer sequences which respond to Koch's quavering voice; or the samples which play their own charming, sometimes confusing game with the art producer and his word cascades, speech rhythms, interjections and metaphors; or the pop song that invites us to indulge or, as the case may be, to dance; or the loops which conjure up, package and preserve for future occasions Koch's private rituals, since nobody will any longer be able to receive such voices and moods on steam radio.
Many, no all the contributions collected here owe a debt of thanks to the delightful first and original recordings of the Bavarian-Franconian beatman with their sheer infectiousness and abandon. On the one hand we share the pain Günther Koch felt at the incredible 99th relegation of 1. FC Nürnberg ("I just can't take any more"), in enhanced, purer form, condensed into an aesthetic expression; on the other, the pure passion of the football afficionado swells and swills and bubbles and wafts, sometimes subdued, sometimes enhanced to a sheer din and tumult, sometimes close to the material, sometimes a long way from it, continuing, transforming, reformulating its notion, making it difficult to grasp the highest and slightly archaic form of journalism, the radio reporter's live commentary.
Yes, a liaison between Koch and radio drama/music, ”that's not totally unrisky” (Koch), not to put too fine a point on it: it's not totally blessed with lack of risk. And since, with the gloomy foresight of a Kafka, football will possibly be over and done with in the near future, the remembrance, blessed consolation, of its most beautiful, wonderful moments ("Babble! Babble! Babble! Babble!") will remain, embedded in our collective memory, preserved in the resounding works of the eternally Olympian art. Something like that, anyway.

Jürgen Roth, Frankfurt/Main, December 2000

intermedium rec. 007
ISBN 978-3-939444-08-4
Very few CDs left
20.- €


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