Artist Wolfgang Tillmans Releases His First Techno Record

The multitalented artist is branching out.

The artist, photographer, and recent activist Wolfgang Tillmans added “techno producer” to his impressive resumé this week after releasing the first track of his EP 2016/1986.

Released on the label Fragile Records, the Turner Prize winner’s foray into music has been a long time coming: Tillmans started working on the EP in 1986.

“After a 26-year pause I started making music again…[2016/1986] contains two songs I made this last year: ‘Make It Up As You Go Along’ and ‘Triangle/Gong/What,’” he explained in an accompanying text.

“The AA side carries three songs I made and recorded with Bert Lessmann in 1986, ‘Fascinating This Time,’ ‘Stranger,’ and my favorite from back then, ‘Time Flows All Over.’”

According to Resident Advisor, the photographer also revealed that Make It Up As You Go Along, includes a sample recording of a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL printing press he used to compile his 2011 Abstract Pictures book.

Anybody familiar with Tillmans’s work knows that the artist has a strong affinity to music. “Some records are just perfect artworks,” the artist told the Guardian before the opening of the first “Playback Room” in September 2014.

Two years ago he turned the Berlin exhibition space he runs, called Between Bridges, into a high-end listening room with the intention of treating pop music with the same reverence granted to contemporary art.

Tillmans operates a project space at Keithstrasse 15 in Berlin. Photo: Between Bridges, Berlin

Tillmans operates a project space at Keithstrasse 15 in Berlin.
Photo: Between Bridges, Berlin

In February, the photographer re-staged the “Playback Room” installation at the Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich to provide a presentation platform for records on a par with visual arts. “While you can play them on your stereo or iPhone there is never a space dedicated to them and you can never listen in studio quality,” he complained at the time.

The choice of the genre of techno is not exactly a surprise. Tillmans’s photographic career was launched by shooting London’s and Berlin’s notorious underground rave scenes in the early 90s.

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