Ultrasonic Seraphim
1996 2xCD UK United Durtro UDOR2/3CD
In jewel case
First 1000 copies came with "When The May Rain Comes" (UDOR4)
Track Listing
  1. May Rain I (2:51)
  2. Desert Storm (10:45)
  3. Sarah (12:18)
  4. Power Station (19:41)
  5. Old Loggerhead (12:45)
  6. Helicopter (15:19)
  7. May Rain II (2:51)
  1. Helicopter (13:42)
  2. Old Loggerhead (8:23)
  3. May Rain (4:35)
  4. On the Corner (4:30)
  5. Sarah
    1. Part I (Passacaille)
    2. Part II (Per Aspera Ad Astra)
  6. Vulture I (5:38)
  7. Doncha Feel (6:04)
  8. Moonlightlove (5:26)
  9. Burning House (2:08)
  10. Vulture II (14:08)
Ludwig Papenberg
Ulrich Papenberg
Johannes Vester
Christian von der Schulenburg
Klaus Pankau
Jörg Hahnfeld
Michael Westphal
Dietmar Burmeister
Sleeve Notes

SAND is: Ludwig and Ulrich Papenberg, Johannes Vester

We grew up in a small town in Lower Saxony caled Bodenwerder, not far from Hameln, the town of 'The Pied Piper'. Bodenwerder is famous as the town of the "Baron of Münchhausen". In the eighteenth century the Baron created a lot of pretences and these tales sound rather bizarre and adventurous. The landscape along the river Weser is most beautiful; there are hills and mountains and a lot of woods, and only a few industrial areas.
When we were young, we were quite influenced by this scenic background but also by the rock 'n' roll, beat and hippie scenes. For example, Ludwig formed his first band when he was 13 years old, called "The Original Monsters", a typical beat-band that was well known locally. We also met each other in the woods, in old quarries, and often at night we celebrated parties by campfire and played music. In the year 1969 I entered the band. I was quite influenced by Pink Floyd and other psychedelic groups. I remember that in 1970, when Pink Floyd played a concert in Hannover, after the concert we went on stage and the group were standing there in the dark. We made some small talk with Roger Waters and David Gilmour, but I was more interested in all this mysterious equipment which helped to create these exciting sounds. We often travelled to open air concerts around West Germany. I remember it as a very innocent period. I visited London twice, meeting friends and working in pubs in Chelsea, and making a trip to the Isle of Wight to the giant festival in August 1970, where I saw Hendrix, who impressed me extraordinarily.
Unlike Ludwig and Ulrich, I had not yet learned to play any instrument. On the other hand, I felt indescribable visions of music inside me which urgently needed to express themselves. I perceived it as a creative mixture to work with these guys.
So we founded the band P.O.T. (Part Of Time). We were 5 musicians: Ludwig played the guitar, Ulrich the bass, Yogi the organ, Gento the drums, and I sang and experimented with short-wave radio. We played a lot of gigs in this area, one highlight being our concert with Can in 1971. After this appearance the manager of Can, Manfred Schmidt, invited me to come to Cologne. At that time he had a very close relationship with Ingeborg Bachmann, a contemporary poet and writer who was then living in Rome. With Manfred I spent nights discussing lyrics in relation to new developments in the progressive German music scene.
In Cologne I came in contact with some of the members of Can and for the first time Klaus Schulze. He lived in Berlin and anyway my plans were to settle down there, at that time a centre of the Cold War, student demonstrations and an expanding drug scene. So in 1971 I went to Berlin to continue my studies in psychology. The band 'emigrated' too, but Gento and Yogi returned very soon to Lower Saxony. To survive between walls and surrounded by an eccentric, chaotic society - that was not their intention!
So Ludwig, Ulrich and I remained, and we soon founded Sand, the material on which this town of Berlin is built up.
We developed the conception of the Golem album in a dark basement flat in Claudiusstrasse, near the Tiergarten. These songs had a fundamentally biographical character. Parts had their roots in the music of P.O.T. In a subliminal sense they represent the associations with the fairy-tale landscape from where we came - and where, by the way, the Brothers Grimm collected their famous fairy-tales in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Stimluated by these influences we merged this with the sophisticated Berlin atmosphere and the zeitgeist of the seventies - the Cold War, Vietnam, environmental pollution and individual suffering.
Very intentionally we extended the timing and length of some of the tracks. This was our answer to impatience, abundance and giantism, not least in popular music. Nowadays I recognise implicit Buddhist essentials: Reduction, frugality, monotony, even mantric principles and elements. The correspondence between silence and power, floating sounds. It was our intention to awake imaginations in a minimal manner of expression. Naturally the cover of the Golem album reflects something of this spirit: one night this phot was shot on the autobahn between Berlin and Lower Saxony, through the windshield of our car.
Why did we choose the name Golem? As we know, the Golem is a Jewish mythological figure from the sixteenth century. This manlike figure is formed out of the earth or alum-earth or alumina. This German word for this is Ton. Ton in the German language also means "sound".
This association was intended: creating something new out of "Tonmaterial" and breathing into it some of our metaphysical (or ghost) essence, as in the cover: Breathing.
To experience with the "unknown", to give life, form into it-that was our impulse then. The line "forming figures I've never seen before, soon dissolving in voiceless space", ('Helicopter') expresses exactly what was in our mind when we golemned.
How did we come to release the Golem album?
I met manfred Schunke in 1973. he lived a few streets from my place in Berlin-Charlottenburg, and he was working at his sound project "Nasses Dreieck" (Wet Triangle). Due to near-by tube constructions and a sinking ground-water level, a whole block of buidlings was sinking slowly into the Sand. All the blacks of flats were pulled down and Manfredrecorded this noise through an open window of his flat. I was very impressed with this noisy document of fragile civilisation and the power of underground waters.
In that year, Manfred Schunke and Klaus Schulze planned to build up a special music recording studio in berlin-Kreuzberg, Paul-Lincke-Ufer. They wanted to publish a set of albums in Kunstkopf-Stereophonie (Artificial Head Stereo Sound). So we entered into this project as SAND. We produced Golem in a traditional manner on an 8-track recording machine. But the mix-down was different. There was a room full of loudspeakers, hanging and standing in nearly every position that was possible. In the centre stood the Artificial Head with his imitation ear conches. For mixing the master-tape, the tracks were sent through the speakers into the isolation room, and then adapted by the Artificial Head. The aim was to get an illusion of perfect surrounding space. The idea was brilliant but unfortunately not the sound.
We were not really content with the result, in particular because of the loss of dynamics in relation to a normal stereo mix. But there are some amazing effects when you listen to the music wearing headphones. On the other hand we accept the Golem album as a realisation of our ideas under these typical experimental circumstances.
At the end of it we had achieved some reputation in a specific underground scene. Four or five thousand albums were produced and sold, but it was a no-profit release for us.
After this SAND split up. Ludwig started the art project Amelith with another guy from Bodenwerder - a film and music performance. I joined them for one appearance, playing a synthesizer.
I had created songs for a solo project. They were recorded in 1975 in Berlin, Hamburg and Wilster with Manfred Schunke as the producer; it was developed with musician-friends from Berlin. I wrote the music and lyrics, sang and played synthesizer keyboards. This production had a very personal attitude. I tried to continue the spirit of SAND; on the other hand I liked to make the music a little more complex and varied. I was fairly happy with the result, though the Artificial Head technique was still not yet perfected. but this album was never released: now twenty years later, Born At Dawn seems to be a forgotten production.
In 1979 Ludwig and I started a new project - ALU. But that is another story.

Johannes Vester, May, 1996, Berlin.

SAND: Johannes Vester: lead vocals, VC 3 synthesizer, acoustic guitar, chorus
Ludwig Papenberg: guitars, organ, electronic drums, chorus
Ulrich Papenberg: bass guitar, percussion, chorus
With many thanks to Christian von der Schulenburg for electric piano on "Sarah".
All lyrics by Johannes Vester
Created and arranged by Sand

Johannes Vester And His Vester Bester Tester Electric Folk Orchestra:
Klaus Pankau: electric and acoustic guitar Jörg Hahnfield: acoustic guitar
Dietmar Burmeister: drums, percussions
Michael Westphal: bass guitar
and Eddie who played the grand piano

Tracks 1-5 on Disc I recorded for SAND by Klaus Schulze. Tracks 6 and 10 on CD I, and tracks 2-6 on CD II recorded by SAND. Tracks 1 and 7 on CD II recorded by Johannes Vester And His Vester Bester Tester Electric Folk Orchestra
Cover design by SAND
Cover photography by Ulrich Papenberg
All other photographs by Johannes Vester, or his friends
Back inlay painting: "Listening To Sarah" by Steven Stapleton
Mastered by Denis Blackham at Country Masters

TECHNICAL NOTE: Due to the loss of the original master tapes in a fire in the 1970s, the Golem section of this release has been taken from a mint vinyl copy of the album. The vinyl album had three separate pressings, marked as such on the run-off groove on side 1. The first - and best - pressing has A scratched in, the second pressing A II, and the third pressing A III. SAND were unhappy with the first cut - but even unhappier with the ones that followed. All othe SAND material is taken from cassettes and 1/4" master tapes. Material from Born At Dawn comes from the original masters.

David Tibet and Steven Stapleton would like to thank: Johannes Vester for all his help, enthusiasm and hospitality, and Ludwig and Ulrich Papenberg - SAND; Steven and Alan Freeman; Klaus Müller; Edwin Pouncey; John Balance; Peter Christopherson; Akiko Hada; Christoph Heeman; Alan, Alison and David at World Serpent; Kat; Edward Ka-Spel; Chris Bohn; Thomas Ligotti; Denis Blackham.

I first heard of SAND ten years ago, when I noticed a copy of an album entitled Golem in Steven Stapleton's vast collection. I was - and am still - a great admirer of the works of Gustav Meyrinck, whose novel Der Golem is his most famous publication, and which inspired the wondrous film of the same title directed by Paul Wegener. I hoped the record may have been a muscial evocation of the book. it wasn't, but was instead an album of haunting, dreamlike songs, quite unlike anything I had heard then, or have heard since. The album obsessed me, and i eventually tracked a copy down for myself with the assistance of Edward Ka-Spel, another connoisseur of this scarce recording, and it established itlsef in my Top Ten Albums Ever. I listened to the album again and again, trying to work out just how SAND - a group whom, as far as I knew at that time, had done this one album and then disappeared forever - had created this most bizarre ghost of a sound. At one point John Balance of Coil and i discussed doing a remake of the entire album, but decided it would be impossible to equal it. teh only attempt we made was on "May Rain", which turned up on Current 93's Thunder Perfect Mind album in 1992. I had tried, on and off, to get in touch with any of SAND, but no-one seemed to know who they were, never mind where they were. Eventually Steven and Alan Freeman, Krautrock experts, editors of the Audion magazine and proprietors of the Ultima Thule shop, gave me the telephone number of Klaus Müller, the manager of Klaus Schulze, who had recorded the album for SAND in 1974. Klaus Müller at first thought I was trying to arrange an interview with the group, and patiently pointed out there was no point in interviewing them as they were no longer together. I explained that my wish was to release the album, not to interview them, and Klause swiftly came back to me with Johannes Vester's number in Berlin. I went there to meet him, and he played me a vast array of extra material that they had recorded towards Golem, as well as his unreleased solo album, Born At Dawn, recorded under the wonderful name of Johannes Vester And His Vester Bester Tester Electric Folk Orchestra, and hours of music recorded with P.O.T. and his friends in the still earlier halcyon hippy days. There had been several near-meetings between Steven, Johannes and myself, it transpired: Johannes had once lived just behind in a house just behind mine when I was involved with Psychic TV; and had once holidayed in Éire and walked up the mountain behind Steven Stapleton's house, situated in the wilds of ireland. he had visited Rough Trade Distribution in 1983 with copies of the ALU record, and had just left the shop - Johannes had taken a photograph of the warehouse and asked me if I knew the person staring out of the image: it was Douglas P. of Death In June! All proof that we were destined to meet and that, ten years after first marvelling at Golem, Steven and myself could release it on United Durtro, VerySound of VerySand.
David Tibet, TinyLand, 16 April 1996.

I first came across SAND in '74 when a batch of Kunstkopf Delta-Acustic LPS hit the import shops; the 'Artifical Head' mixing technique vastly overshadowed by the music in the promotional campaign. Most of the albums were interesting, but SAND's Golem towered way above the rest. Here was something totally unique: a weird mix of surreal hallucinatory visionary and out of this world Kraut minimalism, existing in some vast empty void. I was spellbound.
SAND were a music that is still quite unlike anything anyone else. Johannes, Ludwig, Ulrich - I salute you!
Steven Stapleton, Cooloorta, 16 April 1996. What a strange album.
Booklet includes lyrics
First 1000 copies came with "When The May Rain Comes" (UDOR4)
Related Items