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Krautrock • Germany

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Human Being biography
An obscure footnote in the development of krautrock, Human Being were a late-1960s German electroacoustic music collective based in then-West Berlin. Human Being were an octet comprised primarily of "non-musicians," whose lineup featured former child actor Hans-Joachim Roedelius, drummer Boris Schaak, saxophonist Norbert Eisbrenner, organist Christoph Sievernich, vocalist Elke Lixfeld, guitarist Broderick Price and performers Beatrix Rief and Verena Schirz. The group improvised live soundscapes with electrified string instruments, organs, wind, brass and all sorts of bric-a-brac, including alarm clocks. As Roedelius later explained:

"Human Being was more into free music. We weren't bound to any genre or style. We just fiddled around with feedback, echo machines, prepared tapes and loops. None of us were academically trained. We had big meetings to talk about our methods, but nothing was written down. In performances, we just had to listen carefully to each other. It could be accidental and mysterious and we were happy with that."

Human Being became a fixture at the Zodiak Free Arts Club (casually known as the Zodiac Club), a two-room countercultural music venue in the basement of a theatre in Kreuzberg, founded by Roedelius, Schaak and experimental musician Conrad Schnitzler in the spring of 1968. Only open late at night after the above-ground theatre company was closed, the Zodiak was the literal spot for underground music, where early iterations of Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Agitation Free, Ton Steine Scherben and Klaus Schulze's Psy Free appeared and performed regularly. Schnitzler's vision and aesthetic dominated the Zodiak, in line with Human Being's promotion of amateur musicians and a decidedly anti-bourgeois attitude, a reaction against the musical orthodoxies of the older generation which the German working youth invariably associated with the atrocities of World War II.

The restless Schnitzler departed the Zodiak in early 1969, with the club subsequently closing in his wake (primarily, according to Roedelius, due to the constant cannabis smoke annoying the upstairs patrons). Human Being, however, carried on for a short time afterwards, touring street festivals in France destined for northern Africa, before running out of money in Morocco and ignominiously disbanding after a bout of food poisoning in Casablanca.

In 2004, Roedelius was contacted by an anonymous fan who provided a fifty-seven-minute audience recordin...
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Live at the Zodiak - Berlin 1968

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