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Peter Michael Hamel biography
Peter Michael Hamel is a German musician who was born in 1947. He is mostly known around these parts for his Krautrock band Between, which he founded back in 1970. Already then he showed obvious penchants for the Eastern way of thinking ? along with the more freely flowing music such as Indian ragas and the improvisation these could entail.

He studied musical composition, psychology and sociology in Munich and furthermore attended several workshops with Karlheinz Stockhausen. This is conveyed both through the music of Between, but also in his solo works that tend to explore meditative, improvisational and easternly tinged music that incorporates dreamy atmospheres and influences from all over the world.

During his studies he also got to work with artists such as John Cage, Morton Feldman and Terry Riley ? who all shared his love of the abstract and unfathomable in music.

Also known for his work outside of music, but still evolving around the same, Hamel wrote a book about no-European music in 1976 called Durch Musik zum Selbst (Using music to reach the Self) These thoughts around fx Indian vocal styles and tonal systems ? were catalysts on which much of work sprung out of in the 70s, and incorporating these with the improvisational approach of Krautrock.

Later on he tried removing himself from the improvised ? focusing more on the compositional side of things ? and almost eliminating the Eastern influences that were the foundation of his early work.

Since 1997 he has been functioning as professor for composition at the music academy of Hamburg. His orchestra and chambermusic is published by Schott, Bärenreiter and E.R.P./Celestial Harmonies. He composed four operas, many pieces for orchestra as Gestalt, violin and piano concertos, spiritual compositions as Missa for soprano, choirs and orchestra, Shoah (radio-composition about the Holocaust), a lot of chambermusic like four stringquartets and he is constantly working as a selfperforming artist (piano, prepared piano, pipe organ, voice and live-electronics). His first symphony has been premiered by Sergiu Celibidache in 1988, his second symphony had its premiere in April 2008 with the Munich Philharmonic.

In 2007 Hamel's Of the Sound of Life for great pianist Roger Woodward has been published by Celestial Harmonies.

Biography written with inspiration from Celestial Harmonies webpage.

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Kuckuck Schallplatten 2009
Audio CD$12.00
$10.00 (used)
Colours of Time / BardoColours of Time / Bardo
Kuckuck Schallplatten 1992
Audio CD$21.40
$4.94 (used)
Let It Play / Selected Pieces 1979-83Let It Play / Selected Pieces 1979-83
Kuckuck Schallplatten 1992
Audio CD$6.90
$3.87 (used)
De Visione Dei by Peter Michael Hamel (2001-07-30)De Visione Dei by Peter Michael Hamel (2001-07-30)
Celestial Harmonies
Audio CD$42.19
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Peter Michael Hamel Nada LP Record 1980 CEL 001 USD $50.00 Buy It Now 12h 13m
EX/EX !! Peter Michael Hamel/Hamel/1972 Vertigo Double LP/German Issue/Krautrock USD $334.39 Buy It Now 3 days
PETER MICHAEL HAMEL - Organum - CD - Import - **Mint Condition** USD $17.49 Buy It Now 9 days
PETER MICHAEL HAMEL - Arrow Of Time / Cycle Of Time - CD - Import - *SEALED/NEW* USD $19.95 Buy It Now 10 days
PETER MICHAEL HAMEL - Colours Of Time/bardo - 2 CD - Best Of Import - SEALED/NEW USD $47.95 Buy It Now 11 days
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Peter Michael Hamel Aura LP NM SM1009 1981 German USD $59.99 Buy It Now 15 days
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PETER MICHAEL HAMEL Organum CD West Germany 1986 Kuckuck Avantgarde Organ Cymbal USD $8.00 Buy It Now 21 days
PETER MICHAEL HAMEL: Transition LP Sealed (Germany 2 LPs, co) Rock USD $25.00 Buy It Now 23 days
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PETER MICHAEL HAMEL: The Voice Of Silence LP Sealed (Spain, reissue, limited ed USD $35.00 Buy It Now 28 days
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PETER MICHAEL HAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.92 | 7 ratings
3.00 | 5 ratings
The Voice Of Silence
2.00 | 1 ratings
Buddhist Meditation East West
3.93 | 5 ratings
3.05 | 3 ratings
Colours of Time
3.00 | 3 ratings
3.95 | 3 ratings
3.95 | 3 ratings
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Arrow of Time / The Cycle of Time
0.00 | 0 ratings
Violinkonzert / Diaphainon / Gralbilder
0.00 | 0 ratings
Piano Performance
0.00 | 0 ratings
De Visione Dei

PETER MICHAEL HAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PETER MICHAEL HAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PETER MICHAEL HAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings

PETER MICHAEL HAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nada by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.93 | 5 ratings

Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars I found a copy of this for cheap, the 1980 American pressing of this on Celestial Harmonies. This album was first released in 1977 in Germany on Wergo, and when it was released in America, the artwork and packaging made this album look more like what you'll be expecting is insipid New Age. Had I known nothing about this album prior to purchasing, I'd probably pass this by and end up regretting it. By this point he moved away from the Terry Riley-type minimalist music of his 1972 double album Hamel (I am not familiar with Between, but I should remedy that if I can find a copy) and in Nada went right in the world of Schulze style electronic music. The title track features minimalist synth patterns utilizing the Elka Rhapsody (amusingly the album states it was an organ responsible for this, and there's not a single jot of organ in this album). It has that nice '70s feel to it which I really like. "Silence" sounds more like abstract avant garde to my ears. "Slow Motion" sounds like a piano variation of the title track. It's all played on piano, and I usually find the piano boring and overrated, but this was surprisingly effective piece of minimalist piano music. "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" takes all of side two, and it really isn't too different from the title track, except longer, and it starts off slower and then picks up speed as it progresses and then slows down towards the end. There doesn't appear to be much in the way of world music influences here, the Berlin school and minimalist music is most dominant, and it actually works well. Nice album well worth having.
 Bardo by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.00 | 3 ratings

Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second of two closely related solo albums from German professor Peter Michael Hamel is close enough in style and presentation to his "Colours of Time" (1980) that it might have come from the same recording session. Both albums were performed in collaboration with producer/synthesist Ulrich Kraus, and follow similar formats: in vinyl terms tracing side-long synth-and-organ journeys reminiscent of a minimalist KLAUS SCHULZE, circa "Picture Music".

Astute fans of Hamel's Indo-Krautrock ensemble BETWEEN might spot a brief quotation from the 1973 album "And the Waters Opened", just before the 16-minute mark of Side One's "Dorian Dervishes". The moment provides a nice touch of continuity in the middle of an otherwise loosely-organized improvisation drawn from Indian musical traditions: meditative drones under light-fingered synth arabesques.

The effect is dreamy and drifting, but there's a rigorous intellect behind the music that keeps it at arm's length from anything resembling New Age narcissism. Hamel is no DEUTER, in other words, despite the obvious parallels: two German composers finding inspiration in the Far East, both represented on the Kuckkuck record label.

The 26-minute title track breaks that mold, with its massive chords from what sounds like the largest cathedral pipe organ in Europe. It can't begin to approach the empyrean rapture of Florian Fricke's likeminded "Vuh", but when played loud enough this is transcendental stuff: lighter than air but totally grounded, anticipating the even richer tapestry of Hamel's upcoming "Organum" album in 1986.

It may not leave an indelible impression, but the album is evidence that challenging electronic music didn't become extinct in the 1980s.

 Colours of Time by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.05 | 3 ratings

Colours of Time
Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Peter Michael Hamel never aspired to the popularity of kindred spirit Klaus Schulze, instead preferring the relative anonymity of scholarship over the impermanent rewards of Rock Music stardom. But it's still possible to hear the influence of Schulze and other Progressive Electronic pioneers in his fourth solo album, released in 1980.

The two long tracks, each filling one side of the original LP, are equal halves of a unified synth, sequencer and organ improvisation, flowing over its forty total minutes like a braided mountain stream: turbulent on the surface but placid underneath, and deeper than it first appears. The spirit of the music is entirely Eastern, reflecting Hamel's years of travel throughout India and Asia. And the mood throughout approaches a plateau of not-quite-blissful meditation, hypnotic in its gently agitated monotony.

Despite the apparent lack of any direction there's a larger structure to the overall album, albeit stretched so far over two complete sides of vinyl that it's hard to recognize. But in the end there's very little to distinguish the music from a crowded field of likeminded keyboard explorations, dating back more than a decade to the obvious taproot of Terry Riley's "A Rainbow in Curved Air" (1969). Hamel and Riley were in fact label mates on Kuckkuck Records in the early 1980s, and the Munich composer was a guest on two Riley albums recorded shortly after this one.

In retrospect the saving grace here is a welcome lack of symphonic pomposity, synth-pop commercialism, and vapid New Age other words, it's a work of rare integrity for the nascent 1980s. Hamel's solo career was always closer aligned with academic trends in electronic minimalism, and can be enjoyed on the same erudite level.

 Organum by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.95 | 3 ratings

Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A recent ProgArchives forum discussion asked the leading question, "Does religion belong in Prog music?" The debate revolved more around lyrical content, which is really a different topic altogether, and in the long run a less interesting one. Paraphrasing the great Yogi Berra: "If someone doesn't want to sing about religion, how are you gonna stop 'em?"

As a cheerfully heathen Proghead I suppose I could have added my own 32-cents to the dialogue (2-cent opinions having lost their value in these tough economic times). I would have argued that music, by itself, has always been a sacred thing, and cited this 1986 album by Peter Michael Hamel (not to be confused with Peter Joseph Andrew Hammill) as a textbook example of pure instrumental divinity.

Hamel was a kindred spirit to Popol Vuh's Florian Fricke: a visionary keyboard artist possessing a wide academic knowledge of world music and musical theory (he would later gain renown as an author and educator). This was his eighth solo album, essentially a one-man live performance on a massive pipe organ at the München Academy of Music, enhanced by discreet overdubs of Tibetan cymbals and Vedic conch. The music is closer to legitimate Western classical sources than to modern Progressive Electronics, presenting 56-minutes of truly celestial Old World minimalism, with the occasional Oriental accent reflecting Hamel's interest in other cultures and alternate beliefs.

The album is generally very quiet. And like any true piece of devotional music it doesn't require any Born-Again bombast in order to reach a higher plane. But what truly separates the effort from the usual keyboard-based New Age karmic noodling is the depth and integrity of its scholarship, and the powerful serenity (not an oxymoron) of the music itself.

The album's cover illustration was borrowed from a 17th century allegory, "The Harmony of the Divine Creation"...the perfect title for any true act of musical invention, and in particular this small miracle of spiritual understatement. "Sic Ludit in Orbe Terrarum", reads the cover inscription, in part. In other words, Play it Loud.

 Transition by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.95 | 3 ratings

Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A masterful exercise in modern classical piano mostly composition.

It is not surprising that Peter M Hamel's musical route always stood closer to contemporary classic music songwriting than prog, any kind of it. Adopted here in PA in the electronic sub genre, does not change that fact a bit.

So "Transition" 1983, as guessed, has all the type of qualities and attributes, to be forgotten or underrated by the average prog audiophiles, who dig mostly unending repetitions of the same formulas with their respective preachers.

As mentioned, this work main proposals run in a different musical universe. Piano, pipe organ, PPG Wave and synthesizers conform the instrumentation, but soloing fast and slow micro-minimalism piano compositions are the frequent environment found, among an excellent electronic percussions song and a 20 minutes, obscure and massive, pipe-organ and organ composition.

Musical references for those interested in this small-masterpiece of an album are Claude Debussy, Steve Reich, Phillip Glass and of course another invited master figure here in PA, Terry Riley.

****4 "if you like contemporary classical music" PA stars.

 Hamel by HAMEL, PETER MICHAEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.92 | 7 ratings

Peter Michael Hamel Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A true disciple of John Cage and Morton Feldman!

Maybe also, a not so distant connection to Terry Riley's ideals and aesthetics in music composition ("Fire of Holy Eyes", track 4 is proof of it).

Michael Peter Hamel founder member of "Between" a Krautrock 70's band, kind of got his way out of the average "prog" scene, due to his actual work with not exactly "rockers" or "proggers", John Cage could hardly be considered neither.

In short, "HAMEL", 1972, has everything in terms of proposals in musical language. Some are true to the progressive electronic spirit (his own of course), others are more inclined to Cage's sonic experimentations with unorthodox approaches and intervention of their acoustic instruments. (eg: the use of the acoustic guitar's body as a percussion instrument.). Others are slow minimalistic "drone-like" pieces, which as Riley's music, also project a more "spiritual" cadence with enticing and mysterious musical lines.

Rich and sober, original in its variety of musical ideas and true to its own musical quest, this project has stood the test of time, by sounding in this 2014, fresh as new.

What else is needed to become an "essential" Progressive Electronic lost jewel? For electronic proggers only.

****4 PA stars+my review.

Thanks to philippe for the artist addition.

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