The music project Software had been closed 2002 by selling most rights of the project to label da-Music, Diepholz. 2007 remaining titles had been sold to da-Music.
SOFTWARE - the language of tomorrow! - TEN years SOFTWARE!
Creativity & high tech. It is impossible to overlook the new generation in a genre of popular music which was established by German artists. Now that we are standing on the threshold of a new millennium, the term "electronic music", coined in the late 60s, has become completely inappropriate for this category, which has become highly complex. What is more, none of its once pioneering protagonists set the tone today. Most of them are only living off the glory of days long gone by.
As far as innovative ideas are concerned, the stimulus now emanates from complete multimedia works of art. The previous "pacesetters of the sounds of tomorrow" have been replaced by makers of new sounds who indulge in artistic innovation instead of commercial repetitions of a successful recipe.
By far the most relevant pioneers of this new sound are the members of the Software Formation. The status of this group is underlined not only by their sales figures, by the masses of fanmail and the positive reviews, but also by various awards, such as in the "Schwingungen" radio show (literally 'swingings'), aired by the Western German Broadcasting Company. And rightly so, since with their diverse creativity, an unceasing flow of ideas and consistent quality Software have blossomed to provide the most interesting stimulus around. Software's audiophile goody bags of highly colourful sound creations break through the old barriers of style. The consequence: a new word had to be found in order to categorise them.
The result is called: "NewEmotionalMusic". Anyone taking a close look at Software's career over the ten years of their existence (with titles on roughly 450,000 copies which have been sold worldwide) can see a model of continuous development. The beginnings, with sequentially created sound trips ("Chip-Meditation", 1984) have led to a work of art which is complex, conceptual and complete ("Cave", 1993). In Software, naturalness blends with technology, and history with futurism; a fusion which is made comprehensible and experienceable in a multimedia framework of feelings which is as high in quality as it is in entertainment value.
Looking for sensual clues on the trail of the beauty of high tech. Michael Weisser, the multimedia man from Bremen, is in charge of Software. He studied the history of art and communications science, and not only has he published voluminous art books, but also provocative science fiction in the Suhrkamp Verlag. On 15 September 1984, he founded the project with the aim in mind of "fathoming the beauty of high tech(nology)".
The search for clues is carried out in parallel on various levels in a most sensual way. On the one hand you have the music. It speaks to the feelings. On the other, the acoustical experience is supplemented by literature (high tech poetry) and by visual stimuli (complex computer graphics).
The rather lavish artistic computer graphics (by world-renowned artists and scientists) on the cover and in the booklets, together with a new form of literary poetry, offer optical and intellectual enjoyment. The interaction of these different components leads one to form a coherent picture. What it reveals is just as impossible to overlook as it is to overhear: man and his machines in an era which is characterised by the latter.
Why music computers? They are the contemporary instruments of the electronic age. If one takes a closer look, the fact that the Software Formation prefer to call computers to their aid in order to transpose their higher themes is hardly surprising. It is simply the method of the age!
We are well aware that electronics are ever present in so many ways in everyday life in the late 90s, from sensor-controlled washing machines to computer-controlled cars. Where is the argument against also using this new technology in order to make something artistic and creative?
The potential is understandably at the same time a unique challenge: this technology is able not only to create entirely new tonal colours, but also at the same time to be processed in unconventional ways.
Or, to put it differently: the stimuli for artists like Software lie in the never-ending tonal cosmos made available by computers. Then you have the fact that this sound spectrum has a universal quality!
There are no synthesiser sounds typical of one particular country, especially since the instrumentalists buy their chips from the same manufacturers, who distribute their products world-wide. The sounds, however, do have individual differences!
Here, it is the creativity of musicians like Software alone which decides! This is the conclusive point, and definitely requires of the listener to be prepared to openly confront what is as yet unknown.
Artistic creativity is decisive for emotional computer sounds. A question which is as old as computer music should not go unanswered in this context: how is it possible to make something which is as full of feeling as music by using sober technology, instead of with natural instruments? The answer is simple. There is no nature left which is untouched by humankind – what we do nevertheless have is merely a vision of the natural world, untouched by man.
Even the traditional forest horn is manufactured by technological means as a metal brass instrument, and its sound within the orchestra is recorded using complicated technology, so that it is possible in the end to hear it on a compact disc, which in turn is made by applying technology, and then we consider its sound to be natural.
The concept-maker Michael Weisser and his crew have an uncomplicated relationship with machines. They work with them as if in a landscape, they feel at home and stimulate their feelings.
For the Software team, the music computer is just as natural or artificial, as alive or technical as a cello. Of course, all instruments have been created by humans with the aim in mind of expressing themselves on them. What really matters is the artist and what he or she has to say. An instrument is thus brought to life for the first time, and the musician formulates feelings by playing.
At Software, this process has always been associated with a striving to tread new ground within networks, something which can be achieved in a wide variety of ways.
Either through putting the science fiction novel "Syn-Code-7" (published by Michael Weisser in the well-known Suhrkamp Verlag / Frankfurt) to the music of the same name ("Syn-Code"), or the curious idea, which came after talking to the fashion queen Jil Sander at the "Creative house in Worpswede", of reproducing various perfumes in music, as shown on the CD "Fragrance".
In teamwork with a series of different musicians, ranging from Peter Mergener, Georg Stettner and Klaus Schulze, to Fran White and Billy Byte, Michael Weisser, as the mastermind of Software, has always been able to realise his ideas impressively and consistently: whether it is the 'cassette book' "Dea Alba", published by Suhrkamp, written by Herbert W. Franke and Michael Weisser, with a supplementary music cassette by Software, the sensor-controlled light-and-sound object "Night Light", made together with the artist Klaus Geldmacher from 'Dokumenta' (an annual art exhibition organised in Kassel), the first futuristic CD packaging with embossed holograms, or the first multimedia cupola projections in the planetariums in Bochum and Stuttgart, or the creative samples forming the basis of the Software Sound... this formation was always in the lead when it was a question of innovation, art and ideas.
The fascinating journey into natural-synthetic sound dimensions. Software's combination of synthetic sounds and the tones of nature and culture, creating a symbolic and even mythological quality, gave rise to exciting acoustic novels somewhere between high tech and soft touch.
The significant role played by Perry Rhodan for science fiction is taken on board by Software in its NewEmotionalMusic. Software dare to face adventure, sails uncharted seas. The trip through the dimensions of what is possible can take a wide variety of courses.
In spite of all this, it is the element of surprise which, nevertheless, has the upper hand over a superficial, sleepy, 'nice' sound. Instead of dumb machinery, there is a live heart beating at Software!
The listener benefits from the expeditions launched into with sensibility and a fine feeling for the right dose of provocation. In a tonal Universe full of moods and atmospheres, he or she is led off to a variety of his or her own associations. Each Software disk as a soundtrack is therefore the guarantor for a completely personal film which fascinates us again and again!
Thomas Hammerl, 1994 - STEREO
(Music-Journalist, Stereo, HiFiVison a.a.)