2016 Complete Anthology (Liner notes)

XYNN - VIVE LA APOCALYPSE!

by: MICHAEL FUCHS GAMBÖCK

"An attack on all the senses" ... "an eerily grotesque vision" ... the "warning before sinking," wrote the press once about the XYNN project, and also: "As long as our world and humanity exists, the XYNN show will never lose its relevance."

XYNN is the pseudonym of multimedia artist Michael Winter. Now in his mid 60s, the Southern German native developed the concept for an unparalleled, terrific but also grim show at the end of the 1970's , in which he combined music, text, light, film projections, mime and fragments of theatre with masks and costumes." , so the Internet portal "Wikipedia".

"Music and lyrics for me are the basis of a single statement, which is then compressed by the use of all elements of sensory perception in terms of performance," said Michael Winter. As an example, during the song "Radioactive Raindrops", at first almost unnoticed, water was dripping down on the audience. "Criticism of society always stood in the foreground, such as environmental issues or the inner loneliness of man in a technologically fraught time." XYNN - a visionary? "No, things at that time were already very obvious, but people refused to believe. Most of these "visions" have already caught up with us: Chernobyl, PCs and mobile phones, the school reform ... "Computed Man".

And because XYNN and its concept has lost none of its relevance, all three produced albums of this unusual and exciting project are now being re-released, complete and digitally remastered. "Dreams About Reality" was published in 1980, "Computed Man" a year later, and "Lost In Space", which was recorded in an English and a German version, 1983. Michael Winter says: "My first two albums are concept albums, interlinked by content and flowing musical transitions. They should be heard in series. In "Lost In Space" on the other hand, each piece has a topic of its own. The album is completely up to date and still gives me goosebumps listening to it after all those years."

Because of the complex nature of music, many suggested a band behind XYNN. It never existed. But there were high-profile musicians who supported him in the studio. Above all, the keyboarder Kristian Schultze, who also took over the arrangements, and the exceptional drummer Curt Cress, who was playing on the last two albums. "It was a brilliant cast which really made my music shine, and produced many incredible highlights," says Winter. "I'm still grateful for it to this day."

Michael Winter incorporated his many diverse influences into XYNN, from Roxy Music, Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd to Peter Gabriel, who at one time he was in discussion as the opening act, and created something completely new. "Actually, I'm originally from the folk-rock scene, and in the sixties I joined the protest-movement," says Winter about his musical career. "In 1972 I wrote my first songs and played in clubs and discotheques. Soon I started to incorporate costumes, tape recordings and slide projections into my stage act. The protest songs mutated into New Wave and Progressive Rock. In 1979 I was part of Marianne Sägebrechts crazy "Rainbow Family" and their legendary "Opera Curiosa".  Soon after the concept for three XYNN shows was developed, multimedia expanded and perfected, and I was doing more than 300 performances throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands."

XYNNs live shows, in conjunction with its original music, were groundbreaking for its time. Therefore, the media awarded him with titles such as the "German David Bowie". In 1995, basically 15 years later, when Michael Winter brought the "XYNN Revival Show" back on stage, the "Passauer Neue Presse" wrote: "Whether as a pantomime or scrapped rock singer, whether as a flower power Heile Welt bard or Astronaut - fascination and disillusionment through illusion: Winter juggles with light and sound effects as clever and uninhibited as with the emotions of the viewer. The XYNN show is a two hours long spectacle, which at times feels like a with a jackhammer compressed, multimedia, high-calorie festive cake, with all senses strained to the extreme, and also highly stimulating, and makes you swallow until you feel like you are about to explode". Winter comments laconically:"I am simply picking up the thread where I left it off."

Was there any criticism of XYNN? "Of course! Mostly regarding my refusal to play by the rules. The public wants an idol on stage, whom it can cheer. But that was incompatible with the concept of XYNN's show. The focus was supposed to be on the statement, not the artist. That's why I acted with masks and costumes. And ... there was never an encore. The show was running like a movie and at the end everything was said. Although I always avoided pointing fingers, everyone should find their own position on things, for some viewers parts of the show probably came across as very provocative. This triggered aggression, and so sometimes beer bottles were thrown onto the stage."

An explosive show and explosive music career, and what happened then? "Well, then the medium CD appeared on the market and brought the music industry to its knees. There was no money left for avant-garde projects. Without record company promotion a XYNN show was hard to pull off. But at that time I had already discovered my fable for alternative theatre. Some elements had already been part of the XYNN shows, and so the transition was almost seamless. It was a new scope in which there was much to discover and which challenged my creativity. As a nice parallel: Here you also had take the audience by the hand at the beginning of the show, and lead it carefully through all the ups and downs until the final curtain dropped."

Why is this the right time now to put XYNN back into the limelight again? "It's perfect timing! The retro wave proves it. Audiences are reminiscent of the qualities of past years, recycle it and create something new from it. The willingness to critical thinking also has returned. Musically and also in terms of content XYNN fits perfectly into the picture now. With the only difference, XYNN is no more Avantgarde, the music now is contemporary pop, and that's a good thing. XYNN has reached the mainstream after 35 years, and in the best sense of the word."

So are we going to see the "ultimate XYNN Revival Show" anywhere soon?! Winter smiles: "No comment". One gets the impression that after the next interview he will say: "I just picked up the old threads again and connected them!"

Translation by Jurgen Engler