Analogue and digital package design
by Gerald Weitenhagen

.Sleevegum is the online-portfolio for record-sleeves i've designed as a graphic-artist (and musician). In this field i work on (and with) improvised, yet structured and composed music (as well as its graphic transitions).

Below you find a selected querschnitt of some of my sleeve artwork throughout the last years for extraordinary musicians like Keith Rowe, Eugene Chadbourne, Elliot Sharp, Christian Fennesz and Werner Dafeldecker – to name a few (the others are as outstanding). Most of these sleeves either intend to add some new fragrances to the music (and outline the musical ideas and intentions underneath aesthetically) or try to provide a counterpart – if suitable. They are designed to append a certain visual edge.

Nearly all of the sleeves have production-extravaganzas − a few are indicated (like vinyl-colour or super-extended booklets). Even if not indicated − the majority of the sleeves is non-standard, non-digipak & non-jewel-case.

By clicking on the pictures (or the zoom-icon) you see detailed versions of sleeves, trays and / or labels.

Get in touch, if you like (i would appreciate that very much) and have a pleasant time in this galaxy.
Werner Dafeldecker/ Franz Hautzinger/ Sachiko_M/ John Tilbury

Published by: Grob 2002
Format: CD

Photos: Messerschmid + Franzen

In July 2001 the Vienna improviser/composer/producer Werner Dafeldecker and Franz Hautzinger invited the Japanese electronic artist Sachiko M and the dean of British new music, John Tilbury, to Vienna to record together (the recording sessions were coupled with a performance of the quartet at the Nickeldorf Konfrontationen).

Absinth consists of live and studio recordings, selected, produced and filtered again and again by Dafeldecker and Hautzinger. One hears not only the collaboration of these four excellent musical personalities. One hears above all how four individual sounds are synthesized into one-in real time and without one of the individual voices deceived of its content. Improvised music par excellence.

Joseph Suchy

Published by: Staubgold 2003
Format: CD / LP (White Vinyl)

calabi.yau is a music of delicate sounds, in which acoustic guitars and electro-acoustic signals are woven into non-linear, fragile sound sculptures. At times, this music borders on sensory deception (what is this sound? Electric or acoustic?); it is an illustrated broadsheet of a strange, yet familiar reality. Suchy cunningly and imperturbably evades the categorisations of contemporary modern music: What he does is giving his listeners a carte blanche to dream. Or, as the artist himself puts it: 'Music in search of the freakwave'.

In the global improv & avantgarde community, the born Franconian is no unknown person. He collaborated with artists like David Grubbs, Ekkehard Ehlers, Niobe and FX Randomiz; he is a permanent member of Burnt Friedmann’s Nub Dub Players; and he was one of the founders of Cologne-based cult-improv-label Grob. The musical sensitivity of this slightly odd artist in his mid-forties is hard to match.

Ayler undead
Eugene Chadbourne feat. Joe Williamson & Uli Jenneßen

Published by: Grob 2001
Format: CD

One really doesn’t have to introduce Chadbourne, who has been out and about now for over 25 years. He is a virtuoso of the guitar and banjo, a visionary of new and free music (he was a student of Leo Wadada Smith and Anthony Braxton and confidant of John Zorn), a foundational deconstructor of rock and above all of all forms of Country and Western music. He was an alternative rock star, back when no one could make money from this concept, and went further underground when the American independent scene mutated into main stream. He wrote the soundtrack of the first Simpsons series (rejected) and played the role of a horror film expert in Scream I (cut out).

Amidst the welter of the legendary ... Chadbourne releases, Ayler Undead (recorded in Cologne in 2000 and in his home Greensboro) sticks out, not only because Dr. Chadbourne is presenting a new Free Jazz trio with the Berlin improvisers Joe Williamson (bass) and Uli Jenneßen (drums) and recorded a few unconventional overdubs, but more so because Ayler Undead is the first recording that is wholly dedicated to Albert Ayler and his music. The trio plays his compositions with one exception: Hendrix-like they destroy 'La Marseillaise'. Chadbourne makes two aspects of Ayler’s music (again) very clear: the psychedelic and the free jazzy.

sssd (Siewert / Sugimoto / Stanglmayer / Dafeldecker)

Published by: Grob 2002
Format: CD

If one reads the titles of the pieces one after the other, it reads “Home Is Where My Hard Disc Was.” That is not only a paraphrase of an especially tactless saying. It also expresses the impossibility of an experience, but also the approach toward it. The question is not, what is home, but rather, how much is what we call home something constructed, something created by us-and then how advantageous is the emancipation if we would accept this?

The names of the musicians, Martin Siewert, Burkhard Stangl, Taku Sugimoto and Werner Dafeldecker, speak for themselves. In the last five years they have fundamentally influenced the (post) improv scene. The way they deal with silence, the emphatic avowal to precision-precision in the articulation of sounds as in the processing of music in the studio-the intimate knowledge of new music, the farewell to the “wild,” “ecstatic” improv attitudes, without letting the music sound aseptic and unfeeling: these characteristics are what the participants have achieved. Their meeting, which was two years ago (they took their time with the post-production), is a stroke of luck. But even more: they present here their meeting not in a documentary way, but rather as if they had played together for years. If that were true, they would represent a group that has existed forever, but only comes together to play after long periods of time. And then they concentrate so much on their common sound, that every (of course, improvised) sounded as if it were played for eternity.

Eis 9
Werner Dafeldecker/ Boris D Hegenbart

Published by: Grob 2001
Format: CD

Eis-9 [Ice Cream 9] is a summer record, no hermetic structures, no gloomy sounds, no wallowing in stagnation and hardening (= cold). Ice cream melts.

Dafeldecker demonstrates here once more how he dissociates his strict instrumentalism (dealing with the instrument as essential sound material) from his original instrument, the contra bass, and transfers it to others: guitar, percussion, found objects, PowerBook. Just as gropingly as definite.

Eis-9 is above all the product of an intensive cooperation with the Berlin/Viennese electronic musician Boris D. Hegenbart. Coming out of nowhere, he published the CD Hikuito in 1998, music developed in hand made paper that came to fragile melodies once peeling away its (apparent) influences (Carl Stone, Oval).

The groping and the definite flowed into the Eis-9 cooperation. Improvised music as symbiosis, as something that does not only come into being in the instant, but rather that grows. Eis-9 also means “ice cream” is not an unambiguous fixed construction, but one that dissolves in various forms, structures, and, well, states.

Apples of Gommorah
John Butcher & Phil Minton

Published by: Grob 2002
Format: CD
John Butcher and Phil Minton are two regulars, two internationally celebrated greats of the London free music scene. Both have their roots in jazz-Phil Minton as a singer and trumpeter, strongly inspired by Chet Baker and John Butcher as a saxophone player in the Cool Jazz tradition. When looking back on this long history, one clearly sees how much both have swum freely. Today they have at their disposal an unmistakable, equally idiosyncratic as well as hyper-precise expression. Minton, who has given up playing the trumpet, has developed his singing style such that it encompasses all the possible articulations of a singer, from pure noise explosions to a respectfully performed worker's song, thereby not returning to any prescribed style. Phil Minton constantly sings: Phil Minton. This does not found any sort of complacency, rather a sincere radical nature.

John Butcher has completely absorbed his influences, if that's what they were, into his playing. Wayne Marsh, Steven Lacy, Evan Parker-these masters may have played an important role for his playing, but in his very dry articulation, knife-sharp sound research as well as in the phrasing from (atonal) melodies, Butcher sounds only like É Butcher. As soloists (Phil Minton has two, Butcher three solo records) as well as players in demand (Minton among others with Peter Br&tzmann, Four Walls, Tom Cora, Fred Frith, Bob Ostertag, Franz Koglmann, Bill Dixon and Pat Thomas; John Butcher among others. with Phil Durrant, John Russell, Derek Bailey, Polwechsel, Georg Graewe and Chris Burn), they have been around for over 20 years. Together they play in a trio with the guitarist from Münster, Germany, Erhard Hirt and in Minton's Quartet (with Veryan Weston and Roger Turner), a group that, i.a. has worked through James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.
The Prisoner's Dilemma
Eliott Sharp / Bobby Previte

Published by: Grob Year: 2002
Format: CD

Photos: Messerschmid + Franzen

They have known each other since 1973 and since then have played together in numerous groups and ad-hoc combination, there have been countless recordings and still they have never made a duo record together. We’re talking about Elliott Sharp-guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer-and Bobby Previte-drummer and percussionist.

That is reason why The Prisoner’s Dilemma sounds like a conversation between old friends about plans for the future and stories from yesterday, but at the same time sound new and unheard-of. It is a conversation that has never been carried out in public before in this breadth and with this love of details.

Of course, neither Previte nor Sharp care about trends or hip attitudes, they know each other too well to do that. And moreover, they draw their music from an extremely rich history. Both are influential figures of the New York Down Town scene-from the very beginning. They haven’t just played with the greats (John Zorn, Bill Laswell …), but they themselves count among these musicians, without exception. In addition they have proven themselves as band leaders, label makers and composers, they helped make The Knitting Factory what it now is, and now, where they have passed their 50th year in the best health, they have enough energy to take on new large project.

Gert-Jan Prins / Peter van Bergen / Christian Fennesz

Published by: Grob Year: 2002
Format: CD

Dawn is a classical improvisation record, everything but post modern. It was recorded at the legendary Total Music Meeting of Free Music Production in November 2000. Dawn is a composition played off the cuff of nearly 42 minutes. All the highs and lows of a longer composition are on this recording: searching and finding, restrained groping and violent erupting…

The decisive factor, however, is that this music is played by people who have nothing or very little to do with this attitude, by Gert-Jan Prins (see his solo record Prins Live, GROB210), by the saxophone player and composer Peter van Bergen (Ensemble LOOS but also projects with Georg Graewe or Wolfgang Fuchs) and by Christian Fennesz, one of the superstars of the electronica jet set (see his current MEGO CD Endless Summer; he can also be heard on the GROB CD (also on Mimeo-Electric Chair + Table). Via their strictly “electronic thinking” (one hears a saxophone, of course, but the appearance deceives), these musicians break away from the approach on musical material developed within free improvisation in the last 40 years. On the other hand, this thinking does not lead to a “clicks ‘n’ cuts” aesthetic, but rather to a musical process that has been worked hard for, provisional, not completed, but gripping at every moment: what will happen next? What is coming? What breaks off and grows anew afterwards? Hybrid music.

Dafeldecker / Lang

Published by: Grob Year: 2003
Format: CD

When talking about the music of the Graz-based composer and organ player Klaus Lang and the Viennese bassist and multi-instrumentalist Werner Dafeldecker , one could briefly say that there is a form of velocity so fast one no longer perceives it as such, but rather as stagnation. The speed of light is such a case.

The music of Dafeldecker and Lang also appears to be stagnant. It doesn’t get going anywhere. A powerful, droning organ chord, a bowed bass and both are perceived as if they were chiseled for eternity. Music that sounds irrevocable, great and sublime, fascinating and off-putting.

And yet it isn’t true: the monolithic is not everything that these pieces have to offer. Whoever listens carefully will soon discover that the big picture assumes the fine-kinetic work on the detail, that the music boasts a fine nerve center and subcutaneous branches that one does not find in many other minimal musics. One really has to be even more radical and ask oneself if the concept of minimalism has anything to do with this music.

Joseph Suchy

Published by: Gefriem 2004
Format: LP

If Clinic can be touted as "innovators of modern music" then the being that claims to be Cologne based guitarist Joseph Suchy must be some trans-dimensional hyper-entity who beamed back here from the future to show us the true path to giddy innovative heights. Herr Suchy seems intent on pushing the six strings through as much laptop grop as he can, and he can play the ass off the plank to boot. His busy soloing is still just about recognisable as such much of the time despite persistant machine deconstruction and particle accelerator bombardment.

F.X. Randomiz

Published by: a-musik Year: 1997
Format: CD / LP (White Vinyl)

Featured in: Discstyle - The Graphic Arts Of Electronic Music and Club Culture
Edition Olms Zuerich

the wire (issue 5/97) wrote: 'slow an unsung electronic masterpiece, an outstanding pre-oval example of capsized sampling virtuosity.'; both musicians appear as dü on the highly appreciated mille plateaux compilation in memoriam gilles deleuze. some may remember the my bloody valentine-inspired 7" by four square logos (randomiz/suchy/werner).

now it's time that his solo-album goflex will show his talents to the wide public. recent releases were remixes for microstoria's reprovisers cd and the schlammpeitziger 10"; (a-musik) as well as the duoproject holosud (12"; on a-musik). goflex is a state of the art example of software-engineering of sound transformation and manipulation. a groovy, sometimes melodic album but radical treated sampled and synthesized sounds will catch your attention. possibly it will satisfy groovers and headphone-listeners at once.

a record for consumers and producers.


Published by: Zuckerzeit 2004
Format: LP

Carsten Schulz was born in Cologne in 1968. Since 1990 he has worked as a musician & filmmaker. 1996-2001 he studied media arts at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne (Diploma). 1999 he took part in an exchange semester with Prof. Tony Hill at the University of Derby, School of Art & Design, GB.

From 1995-2001 he has worked as an assistant director at the Studio füpr Akustische Kunst, WDR. Since 2002 he works as an author, director and composer for the WDR in the field of feature, Ars Acustica and electro- acoustic music.

F.X. Randomiz

Published by: Sonig 1999
Format: 12"

After the exquisitly complex work of his debut album 'goflex', his collaborations with mouse on mars and schlamm-peitziger (as holosud) cologne's electronic mastermind f.x.randomiz is back on the scene with his new 12" stack.

a one man deterritorialisation commando hitting the minefield with chopped up, high energy start stop editing manouvers. extratopped with catchy hooklines. richly textured and riddled with micro bombast events. randomiz rewrites the manual of electronic music with his left foot. music that produces future. things run out of time and collide with big bursts of unheard intensity. midi and harddisc recording fuse to become one big pulsating brain of musical conceptions which reach far beyond the boundaries of styles and genres.

stack is randomiz's comment on contemporary club music and number four in the sonig dance perversion series'


Published by: Grob 2003
Format: CD

In Vienna, Berlin and Tokyo musicians are working on stillness, reduction, non-expressivity and micro-differentiation. In Cologne, London, New York, Chicago, Paris, Warsaw, this music is performed and written about. But up to now the most exciting of this scene has been happening outside these large cities. For example, in Boston. That this city possesses a young and rather large improv scene including labels and venues is well known. There are even a few âÄùsuperstarsâÄù like the saxophonist Bhob Rainey and the trumpeter Greg Kelley, two musicians who have easily liberated themselves from established improvisation patterns.

What has been missing till now is a recording that clearly exemplifies the Sound of Boston. Such a thing can hardly be forced, it always seems to happen casually, e.g. when one listens to a concert recording again and again and then suddenly discovers how definitive it is!

Good is a 37-minute, improvisation process recorded live, which creatively draws on the resources from the reduced parameters of this new improvised music. Despite all the stillness, the music is also surprisingly dense and tightly woven together. The music captivates via a noisiness radical maintained throughout the whole piece, and in spite of this (or because of it?), it is lyrical and surreal. The melody of metallic shimmering tonal colors can be heard from the very beginning.

Steamboat Switzerland

Published by: Grob 2001
Format: CD

Liner notes by Dietmar Dath

Over two years after Steamboat Switzerland hit the (post) improv and (post) noise scene with their “Live” CD, only now do the long awaited follow up CDs appear. If the debut CD presented a patchwork of improvisation, own and foreign compositions and rock pieces, Budapest and ac/dB [Hayden] are compact, integral and equally imploring monolithic works. And yet the two CDs couldn’t be more different. Budapest is the result of a purely improvised concert they gave in Danube metropolis in the Fall of 1999. The noise and prog rock roots have been compressed so much that there are no more cliches nor more citations, only tension that bursts asunder.

The CD was mixed and co-produced by Stephan Wittwer, who contributed the intro, a little gem about the state of being chopped up. The grunge track that the band played following their improvisation, as an encore, is also a composition from Wittwer.

The liner notes to this CD were written by Dietmar Dath.

ac/db [Hayden]
Steamboat Switzerland

Published by: Grob & Moon Rec. 2001
Format: CD / LP + Ltd. Edition

ac/dB [Hayden] is a clash of two compositions: “dB” is a work that the English composer Sam Hayden exclusively wrote for Steamboat Switzerland. On the CD, “dB” alternates with “ac,” a collective composition of the band’s members, Dominik Blum, Lucas Niggli and Marino Pliakas. Both pieces rub against, wash around and contrast each other as well as radically questioning each other. Thus, an uncommon tension-filled opus comes into being, that (as dumb as it may sound) is more than the sum of its parts. ac/dB [Hayden] demonstrates how powerful, explosive and, well yes, swinging new music can be. Or is it really the progressive music of the “now time” that simply blows away the entire postrock of the last few years and makes us forget it all?

Two CDs (Budapest & ac/dB [Hayden]) were necessary (they function autonomously) in order to give a halfway decent picture of the band. It was worth it. Deeper and deeper in the uncanny intimacy of abstraction!

Unknown Song / Zone
Steamboat Switzerland

Published by: Moon Rec. 2001
Format: Single

Unknown Song / Zone was a complementary single to the special limited edition box set of the two above cd's.

The ultimate and worlds only Avant-core Hammond trio Steamboat Switzerland creates its own way of a chart song, written by the english composer Sam Hayden, released also as a vinyl single at Moon records and GROB, and, similar to the Melvins single editions, added by a improvisation track on page two. The members of the band (Dominik Blum, Hammond / Marino Pliakas, bass and Lucas Niggli, drums) and as a special guest, the marvellous young indie rock singer Simone Vollenweider, combine elements of hard core with avantgardist and free improvised experiences.
Keith Rowe

Format: CD + Extensive Booklet
Published by: Grob 2000

Illustrations: Keith Rowe

After an early stay in Mike Westbrook’s big band, this London Pop Art painter developed the table top guitar in the middle of the 60’s. He laid his guitar flat on the table and prepared it with all sorts of mechanical objects (springs, paper-clips, pliers, sheet metal, brushes) as well as electronic ones (contact microphones, radios).

He discovered this instrument anew as an electro-acoustic tonal source. Via these techniques and the improvisational stance that went along with it-ones that no longer referred to free jazz, but rather to noise and sound-he has influenced musicians like Fred Frith, Jim O’Rourke, Mike Cooper, Jean-Marc Montera or Kevin Drumm.

In 'Swingin London' of the late 60s, he made a lasting impression on Syd Barrett, who even later considered Rowe his teacher. Rowe became legendary thanks to his work in AMM (since 1965) and to his work with composers such as Christian Wolff, Howard Skempton and especially Cornelius Cardew (Scratch Orchestra, People's Liberation Orchestra).
There are quite a few excellent recordings of Keith Rowe at the moment: with Taku Sugimoto and Gúnther Múller, with Peter Rehberg and Christian Fennesz, with the Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra (see also their double CD Electric Chair + Table, GROB 206/7) or with the saxophonist Jeffrey Morgan.

Harsh is, however, pure and uncut Rowe! Over 60 minutes of solo music, recorded live in Cologne on 11 December 1999 in a cold garage. Markus Schmicker led the recording session and mastered the tapes. The music is like the CD’s title, harsh and unforgiving. But surprising again and again and eluding the classical improvisational dialectic of tension and release.

An extensive booklet adorns the CD, which shows one of Rowe’s painted comics of the guitar preparation. In the meantime, the pictures have been in exhibitions.

Harsh is his second solo recording, after 'A Dimension Of Perfectly Ordinary Reality' (1990).