Composers Corner Podcast: 10. Pete Namlook


November 23, 2015

It’s always a difficult task to start writing about Pete Namlook and the music universe that he built and expanded throughout his career. A prolific producer of electronic music for more than two decades, Frankfurt born Peter Kuhlmann was one of the most influential figures of electronic and ambient music, with a significant - if not radical - contribution to this colorful and often misunderstood music genre. Namlook is Koolman spelled backward.

’I’m always searching for something, researching it and trying to improve things. I am happy to be surprised by new sounds and just to listen with open ears. That makes me work with many different people, as everyone has their own style and heir own way of making and experiencing music. I learn from everyone just as they certainly take home something of me. That’s the way to always be innovative and see things in a new light, find new stuff, start new experiments.’ Pete Namlook - Slices feature.

Pete Namlook released a huge number of solo albums, as well as collaboration albums with notable artists such as Klaus Schulze, Bill Laswell, Dr. Atmo (real name Amir Abadi), Geir Jenssen (alias Biosphere), Karl Berger, Dandy Jack, Dj Brainwave, Lorenzo Montanà, Robert Sattler, Jonah Sharp, Wolfram Spyra, Steve Stoll, Charles Uzzell-Edwards, Peter Prochir, Jochem Paap, Burhan Öçal, David Moufang (aka Move D), Mixmaster Morris, Higher Intelligence Agency (real name Robert Bird), Hubertus Held, Rob Gordon, Robert Görl, Gaudi, Pascal F.E.O.S., Dj Criss, Dj Dag, Atom Heart, Richie Hawtin, Tetsu Inoue, Atom™ and Tying Tiffany.

In 1992, he founded the German record label FAX +49-69/450464, which he masterminded, and made his first album, Silence (released on Fax in 1992), a collaboration with Dr Atmo (and one of the first albums released only on compact disc). Namlook understood that producing was more important than recording and he set out to discover, encourage and promote music by ambient electronic artists. During the first year alone, his label released over 100 records and CDs.

"I am proud for each and every release/collaboration that I did. It is the same thing as if you would ask a father which child he loves most... forget it..." - interview for Barcode Magazine, 2002.

The label name refers to the "fax" as a medium for fast and cheap distribution of ideas. Its humble weekly releases are equivalent to sending a fax to a group of friends.

’I don’t see myself as someone making a certain type of music and that’s that. Instead I’m someone who ‘s researching music and nature, as nature has helped me so much. It gives me a great balance.’ Pete Namlook - Slices feature.

Although Namlook was frequently pigeonholed as an ambient producer, his music universe is much more vast. ’This term ‘ambient’ was rather easy to use, as many people thought superficially that that might fit with Brian Eno. Ambient, as Eno defines it, and he created this definition, is more or less musical wallpaper. It stays in the background and serves the environment rather than saying something itself. In my definition of Ambient, which has nothing in common with Eno’s definition, it’s about a journey, intense emotions that need to be transported, environmental music, Jazz, Ethno, depending on what project I’m working on. You have to differentiate quite clearly between Ambient in a Techno sense, in my books starting with The KLF’s Chill Out album in 1991, and on the other hand Brian Eno, a purely conceptual thing. I never found myself in that, as that’s a kind of music that goes right through me. This music isn’t meant to touch or move, it’s just ambiance. That’s why I’m happy and always open to new descriptions of this genre.’ - Pete Namlook - Slices feature.

Pete Namlook passed away in November 8 2012, at the age of 51. This audio collage is a long journey through his countless music projects and releases, solo or with other notable artists. Dive in.


  • 2350 Broadway (Pete Namlook & Tetsu Inoue)

    Raga (1993)

  • Jet Chamber (Peter Kuhlmann & Uwe Schmidt)

    Calm Box (1996)

  • Pete Namlook & Tetsu Inoue ‎- Shades Of Orion 2 (2002)

  • Escape (Amir Abadi, Michael Schaffer, Peter Kuhlmann)

    Trip From Mars (1994)

  • The Dark Side Of The Moog (Klaus Schulze & Peter Kuhlmann) feat. Bill Laswell

    The Final DAT (Part I) (1997)

  • The Dark Side Of The Moog

    A Saucerful Of Ambience (Part X) (1995)

  • Subsequence (Peter Kuhlmann & Uwe Schmidt)

    Healthy And Beautiful (1992)

  • Silence

    Asbendos (2001)

  • Psychonavigation (Peter Kuhlmann & Bill Laswell)

    Telepathy II (1997)

  • A New Consciousness (Charles Uzzell-Edwards & Peter Kuhlmann)

    Environmental Frankfurt (part X) (1995)

  • Synsyl (Peter Kuhlmann & Sylvie Marks)

    Angel (1993)

  • The Dark Side Of The Moog (Klaus Schulze & Peter Kuhlmann)

    Wish You Were There (1994)

  • Synthadelic (Peter Kuhlmann & Uwe Schmidt)

    Secretary (1993)

  • Virtual Vices (Peter Kuhlmann & Wolfram Spyra)

    Tshoogy Beatbox (2000)

  • Air

    Travelling Without Moving Trip 02 (1994)

  • Air

    Travelling Without Moving Trip 03 (1994)

  • Silence (Pete Namlook & Dr Atmo)

    Faith (1993)

  • Outland (Peter Kuhlmann & Bill Laswell)

    From The Earth To The Ceiling - Part IV (1994)

  • From Within (Pete Namlook and Richie Hawtin)

    Homeward Bound (1994)

  • Pete Namlook

    Astrogator - Part 4 (1993)

  • Namlook

    Seasons Greetings - Winter - Part VI (1994)

  • Namlook

    Subharmonic Interference II (1994)

  • Psychonavigation (Peter Kuhlmann & Bill Laswell)

    Mind Tranceference Control (1997)

  • Silence

    The Night Before I Left (1999)

  • 2350 Broadway (Pete Namlook & Tetsu Inoue)

    Art Of Dream Part 2 (1994)

  • Air

    Give Space A Trance (Air 3 - Secret Heritage) (2003)

  • Namlook

    Interview With New And Native Organic Life (2002)

  • Namlook • Montanà

    Labyrinth Path II (2010)

  • 2350 Broadway

    Extended Wave (2007)

  • Silence

    The Bottom Of The Ocean (1998)

  • Escape (Amir Abadi, Michael Schaffer, Peter Kuhlmann)

    Atmosphere Processor (1994)

  • Air

    Je Suis triste Et Seul Ici (1993)

  • From Within (Pete Namlook and Richie Hawtin)

    Silent Intelligence Part IV (1997)

  • Namlook

    Farbwerke II (Music for Urban Meditation III) (2009)

  • Air

    1St Impression (1993)

  • Silence

    Trip (1992)

  • Move D / Namlook

    Für Friedrich, Oskar & Paul (1999)

  • Air

    Jeux Dangereux (Air V + Jeux Dangereux) (2006)

  • Namlook

    Sadness Atoms (1996)

  • Air

    La Nuit De Tous Nos Reves Approche (1999)

  • Sultan (Peter Kuhlmann & Burhan Öçal)

    Yenilik (Part I) (1996)

  • Sultan (Peter Kuhlmann & Burhan Öçal)

    Yenilik (Part VII) (1996)

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