Conrad Praetzel  Bio 1989  

(Scarlet Records promo)
by Mark Kramer

Awe, mystery and wonder are qualities which resonate in folk music of all times and all places.  The very essence of "folk" lies in it's appeal to the childlike spirit within us.  Electronic music offers a contemporary route to the same timeless set of folkways, and this is a principal which activates the compositions of Conrad Praetzel, who defines instinct and emotion through the innovative use of digital sampling and recording technique.

A native of California, Conrad is a self-taught instrumentalist who first took up guitar at age thirteen.  His early musical growth was influenced by the rich intermix of styles prevalent in the San Francisco Bay Area.  As an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, Conrad developed an interest in ethnomusicology, and was further influenced by composer Terry Riley and synthesist Brian Eno, both of whom reinterpreted  traditional and ethnic music through electronic means.  

Conrad attributes his preference to the home studio format to "the luxury of being able to tap into  a moment's inspiration."   Chance and experimentation are brought into play as he orchestrates active, almost cinematic, musical landscapes through the sampling and manipulation of stringed instruments, keyboards, and "found" percussion elements. 

Conrad Praetzel's debut release on Scarlet Records, Between Present and Past, is an expansive interaction of exotic timbres and rhythms.  Twelve tracks, ranging from the allure of "Siren's Song" to the exuberance of "Prayer Flags," presents an eclecticism which has been favorably compared to such artists as Patrick O'Hearn and Patrick Moraz.  It is music meant to engage the emotions as well as the intellect, and to share with the listener the same sense of self-discovery from which it was created.

 

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