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Music Video: Tobias. – 1972

Berghain resident Tobias. marks his return to Ostgut Ton with a self-directed idiosyncratic video for the title track of his latest extended player ‘1972’.

The archival cassette tapes of his family are a poignant counterpoint to the layered and pulsating sound design and are referenced heavily in the accompanying video. The relatively fuss-free construction of the track is trademark Freund; light and sparse with barely any movement to complex or over-engineered arrangements. The kick drum and hissing snare add dynamism alongside the panning synth and sneaky acid undercurrent.

The video is also fairly minimal in its content, with a focus on the waveform of the track visualised through an oscilloscope in combination with some effects from a mobile app, all recorded at his Berlin studio. The playful selfie-shot recordings are chopped up, looped and overlayed with the waveform fusing together the loop-laden, softly atmospheric track and the imagery.

As Tobias. explained in our Q&A discovering the sombre and sincere samples and including them in the track were an emotional experience and an experience he has channelled into 1972 with his own unconventional take on minimal techno.

Interview by Tom Durston

"You have to know that I like machines, any kind
of machines, but mainly old machines"

Hi Tobias, thank you for answering these questions and for premiering your music video on Inverted Audio – firstly please tell us about your initial concept for this music video?

To be honest, there was no concept. I came to the idea of trying out some video effects on my mobile while working on the song. Actually I am pretty fascinated about the possibilities you can achieve just with the camera of your phone and a video app.

The video appears to feature acoustic instruments including the Telefunken Magnetophon 15A and Filbig KG. Was the music video shot whilst working on producing tracks for 1972?

Yes, everything is filmed in my studio, but as I said the VHS camera effect comes from a mobile app.

What is the reason for the inclusion of these instruments into the music video – please give us some context for their involvement?

You have to know that I like machines, any kind of machines, but mainly old machines, hence why I wanted to include them in the video.

Can we assume 1972 is a reference to your birth year? What does the year symbolically mean to you?

Well, actually, 1972 is not the year I was born. The mystery behind this date is that last year my father gave me some cassettes because my parents had to move from their apartment to a new flat, so they needed to get rid of stuff.

In between Nana Mouskouri and Freddy Quinn, I found this tape with the note “Schlussfeier 1972”. It turned out that my father was recording the final celebration of the Olympics in Munich. He had a passion filming with his Super 8 camera and adding sound to the film afterwards, so he actually recorded everything with a microphone from the TV speaker onto this cassette.

Who is speaking – do you remember what recording it came from?

As I alluded to, my father gave me this cassette full of recordings he did with a semi-professional microphone. Aside from the Olympics, he recorded himself whistling to some songs or the sound of his clocks; everything was recorded with pretty bad sound quality.

Can you describe or specify what tape recorder or dictaphone you were using back then to record back these sounds during your childhood?

My father gave me his Super 8 projector but sadly not the cassette recorder, so I have no idea what brand it was.

Did you just have one recorder, or did you have a collection of instruments for capturing sounds?

In the very beginning, I had two cassette recorders doing ping pong recordings but I also had a Walkman with microphones.

Thinking back to your childhood, sounds in our immediate environment change – what sounds or noises do you miss from the past?

I am not sure if I miss sounds, everything is still here you just have to look for it. What I maybe miss is a memory connected to a sound. It is very emotional for me to listen to that recording of my father from almost 50 years ago.

Following the release of 1972, what’s next for you?

Right now I am preparing an art exhibition together with my wife and another artist here in Berlin, something I have never done before. I will show several black and white collages, my wife will do a video installation and the opening is the 14th of March. In April we will perform the next recent arts “Hypertext” audio/visual show in Japan at the Ensō Festival and I am performing as Tobias. with a nonlinear ambient set.

Apart from that, there will be another song released together with Sebastian Mullaert and Neel as well a remix I did for a song of Cassy. In September I am going to release an album that I have been working on for the past 3 years and this will be something special.

‘1972’ is out now via Ostgut Ton in digital and vinyl formats. Order a copy from Bandcamp.

Photo by Stefan Freund


A1. 1972
A2. Schism
B1. The Wisdom Of No Escape
B2. Electric Storm

Discover more about Tobias. and Ostgut Ton on Inverted Audio.

ArtistLabelReleased14 February 2020Genre