For many the cutting-edge electronic music of the 1970s and 80s formed the soundtrack to their adolescence – much of that music was produced by one man – Conny Plank (May 3, 1940 – December 18, 1987) was a familiar name; indeed, the words ‘Produced by Conny Plank’ could be found printed on a frankly intimidating number of record covers of that era.
Those of Can, D.A.F (the classic Der Mussolini), Kluster, Ultravox, Devo Kraftwerk, NEU!, La Düsseldorf, Brian Eno, and Eurythmics right through to Killing Joke, The Damned, The Bunnymen and Play Dead are just a small sample of Plank’s illustrious career. Plank was also famed for bands he declined to produce; Brian Eno suggested that Plank should produce the U2 album ‘The Joshua Tree’ instead of him. After being introduced to the band by Eno and after a short meeting, Plank turned down the job stating “I cannot work with this singer”
Conny Plank was always a step ahead of the studio technology of his time. He employed self-made devices and equipment and a modified mixing console to realise his artistic visions on tape. Using a complicated recording technique, he created the effects of a polyphonic sampler before its inception. Brian Eno was right when he called him an “inventor”. Midge Ure, lead singer and guitarist of Ultravox, emphasises Plank’s fondness of sounds. “He was much different to other producers I had worked with before because he was constantly musing over sound. He created wonderfully unique atmospheres.”
Now, 25 years after Plank’s untimely death from cancer, Grönland are preparing to release a four-disc retrospective box set highlighting his importance and influence as a producer. ‘Who’s That Man – A Tribute to Conny Plank’ will be a 4 CD box set released in the UK on Monday 11th February 2013.
The box set will be comprised of:
CD1 & CD2 – Compilation of 21 tracks all produced by Conny Plank, including luminaries of the 70s and 80s Krautrock scene such as Arno Steffen, Möbius, Rödelius, Michael Rother, La Düsseldorf, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, NEU!
CD3 – A remix album. Tracks by Cluster & Brian Eno, Eurythmics, NEU! receive remix treatments by current artists such as Walls, Kreidler and Can collaborator Jens-Uwe Beyer (aka Popnoname)
CD4 – A live album taken from a live performance given in Mexico in 1986 by Conny Plank / Dieter Möbius / Arno Steffen. The three formed as ‘Trioformation’ and performed a south American our sponsored by the Goethe Institute. The show was the last taped performance of Conny before his death in ‘87.