Spinning Motion —

Confidence In The Future

Spinning Motion was a short living studio project by the two school friends Manfred Tappert and Achim Hirsch hailing from West Berlin. Their different musical backgrounds: jazz, beat and rock, provided a pretty unique soil for this adventure. Recorded 1980 at Berlin’s legendary Music Lab studio the result can be best described as a mellow mixture of Jazz and Folk with partly weird and tripped-out lyrics. Originally only 100 copies where pressed but even fewer where ever sold. Seemingly unrelated to the Berlin sound of the early 80s it reminds today of bands like Kings Of Convenience. Mastered from the original session tapes.

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  • A o1 — Blue
    Composed by Manfred Tappert
  • A o2 — Devotion To You
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Achim Hirsch
  • A o3 — Prisoner Of Life
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Manfred Tappert
  • A o4 — Confidence In The Future
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Achim Hirsch
  • B o1 — Naze
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Achim Hirsch
  • B o2 — Answer My Questions
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Achim Hirsch
  • B o3 — Playground Of Burial-Funds
    Composed by Manfred Tappert/Lyrics by Achim Hirsch
  • B o4 — Elegy
    Composed by Manfred Tappert


  • Manfred Tappert — Guitars, E-Piano, E-Bass, Vocals
    Stefan Thimm — Drums, Percussion
    Eddie Hayes — Flügelhorn (A1, A3)
    Joe Kucera — Soprano Saxophone (B1), Lyricon (B3)
    Achim Hirsch — Spoken Words (B1, B4)
    Produced by Achim Hirsch
  • Recorded At Music-Lab, Berlin January 1980
    Mixed and Recorded by: Harris Johns
  • Newly mixed and re-mastered from original multi-track tape by Bo Kondren at Calyx Mastering, Berlin.

Liner Notes —

What happened 1980 in a studio in Berlin can surely be described as ahead of the times

These are strange times indeed. With a great sense of relief the 1970s are laid to rest, and brimming with new confidence and a heart full of hope, one turns to face the impending decade. A decade, which will again turn cultural life upside down in every aspect. But in January 1980, West Berlin is dancing to it’s own rhythm. David Bowie’s sabbatical, including brief visits by friends, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, as well as Nick Cave, have had an enduring impact on the city. Now it is Punk primarily calling the shots. At the most happening clubs (Dschungel, Shizzo, DNC and Risiko) and concert venues (most notably the legendary SO36), bands like Ideal, Die Tödliche Doris, PVC, Einstürzende Neubauten and DIN A Testbild establish the Berlin School of New Wave and soon gain nationwide, and in some cases, even international fame. Running in tandem to this are scores of musicians, in practice rooms from the far reaches of Wedding all the way down to the edges of Neukölln, going about things in their own way. They couldn’t care less about trends, about the scene defining “Geniale Dilletanten” movement and about, the by now ubiquitous, drum machines (most notably the machines built by Roland).



Spinning Motion is a prime example. This studio project, initiated by Achim Hirsch and Manfred Tappert, friends since their schooldays, gathers musicians with origins as diverse as their musical backgrounds, aiming to find common ground between Folk, Pop, Jazz and all of its diversified variations. They comprise, Stefan Thimm, a drummer hailing from Wuppertal, a founding member of Accept, later to become Germany’s most influential Heavy Metal band, saxophonist Joe Kucera, who was part of the Czech RnB/Blues rock band Framus 5 before he, shortly after the Prague Spring, fled via Vienna to West Berlin, and the Bostonian trumpet player Eddie Hayes, who comes from within the ranks of the puristic US Jazz scene, whose heroes are Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. It’s more of a decree of fate than mere coincidence, that precisely these five distinctive characters get together and, contrary to the media hype caused by the Noise/New Wave movement, decide to make music, which isn’t amenable to any whim of fashion.

A city like Berlin, especially with this perceived sense of optimism about the future, offers every creative artist, as well as the technical and well-versed musicians with a certain down-to-earthiness, enough leeway and opportunity to play live in numerous concert venues and bars. The range is so wide (from the Tarantel in Kreuzberg, to the Quasimodo, Flöz, the Quartier Latin and the Jazz Galerie, as well as the Eierschale in Dahlem), that some are able to live from these gigs and as session musicians. It’s exactly in this looseness of this scene that the highly gifted, multi-instrumentalist Manfred Tappert is at home. Since the early days of his youth he has devoted all his spare time to music, and at every creative chance he throws himself into it, and joins all sorts of projects (i.e. the Jazz fusion band Prisma) and jam session constellations (in the late 1970s more and more frequently with Eddie Hayes). As soon as his former classmate and childhood friend, Achim Hirsch, tells him about a recent self-discovery trip to Denmark, and floats the suggestion to work his new impressions and worldviews, collected in Scandinavia, into an album, Tappert is hooked. The last time the two of them played music together was in the late 1960s when, driven by the shared fascination for the legendary British Garage Rock band The Pretty Things, they formed the student combo “The Busstop 4”. Whilst since the early 1970s, Tappert has been turning more and more towards Jazz, Hirsch is still wallowing and reminiscing in the golden era of Beat music and Psychedelic Rock. So, after more than a decade, despite or maybe thanks to these different individual developments, the time seems to have come for the next mutual musical adventure which is given the significant name “Spinning Motion”.

Since Manfred Tappert has cultivated contacts with several Berlin recording studios, the decision is made to record Hirsch’s rough sketches properly, accompanied by the sound of Tappert’s befriended musicians. In none other than Harris Johns Music Lab Studio. And this Harris John is not just anybody. After a year as a recording engineer in Berlin’s famous Hansa Studio, he has now installed his own “Music Lab Studio” in a former stationary store in Moabit, and has recorded bands like Ideal, Einstürzende Neubauten and Foyer des Arts here. Later on, his re-located to Kreuzberg studio, becomes Germany’s number one address for Metal and Hard rock. This is where acts like Helloween, Sepultura, Voivod and Tankard among others, record style-defining albums under the direction of John. But what Hirsch, Tappert and the whole entourage put on tape, over a weekend in January 1980, has nothing to do at all with what usually represents the massive reputation of Music Lab. It also contradicts every other common conception of what reflects life in the “front line city”. Unusually, at the request of Spinning Motion, John has 100 records of these sessions pressed at Presswerk Pallas in Diepholz. Harris is also responsible for obtaining reproduction film of the cover art, painted by Hirsch’s girlfriend and bestowing on the release the ominous catalogue number ML002. By the standards of the time a rather rare endeavor, mainly because in Germany, unlike in the USA, it wasn’t common practice for hobby musicians and fantasists to have their dream of creating physical copies of their own records realized. Since the 1950s there were labels on the East Coast of America, like Century, RPC and Mark Studios, which you could simply send a tape of your recordings, and they were pressed at low-cost in small editions on vinyl. The essential thing about the music industry, the distribution, was left to the artists themselves. If you didn’t intend to sell your own record via mail order or at live gigs, most of the time hundreds of copies ended up in one’s cellar, gathering dust from the time of order up to the present day. That’s pretty much what happened to Spinning Motion. Probably no more than ten copies of the 100 delivered records have been given to friends and acquaintances (including Phil May of The Pretty Things of course). As spontaneous as it has been to turn the ideas for “Confidence In The Future” into a proper album, as relaxed and without expectation, this left the musicians involved able to pursue other projects, after this weekend in the Music Lab Studio, without looking back. Tappert, for instance, records under the name „Fences“, together with Ralph Billmann, Stefan Thimm, Christof Griese and Eddie Hayes, and produces the album „Maikäfer“ in 1981, which is also under the radar and never really finds a market. All of Spinning Motion’s participating allies (with the exception of Achim Hirsch) remain active in the music business till this very day, collecting dozens of releases and a wealth of live gigs between them. Nowadays none of the participants can recall exactly why the Spinning Motion project was over as fast as it had begun. Achim Hirsch just had a simple plan and an idealistic notion, to bring a project to life, manifesting the experiences of his Denmark trip, with the help of Tappert’s musician friends – sonically somewhere between trippy, bizarre Psychrock and poppy 60’s Folk. The possibility that something more might come out of it was probably never his intention, at any point, at any time.
As you are listen to “Confidence In The Future” today, it quickly becomes clear what kind of worlds must have collided here. A stunning amalgamation of aural treats, created by making subtle compromises between Pop, Jazz, Rock and Folk, that exists in every single track across-the-board. Due to its stylistic complexity “Confidence In The Future” is an album that is somehow never really able to settle on any one taste, inevitably opening up new dimensions to the listener. Imagine how this was in 1980. Especially in Berlin’s commercial music scene. And especially when the involved musicians treated the project after its completion, more like a matter of personal importance than a career move. And for Hirsch, Spinning Motion’s initiator, all of this seemed to be fulfilling enough. Prophetically the record is named after the most significant song of the eight-piece collection “Confidence In The Future”. 35 years on the title finds the verification it deserves. It unleashes its bottled power no sooner than the day, Jazzanova member and Notes On A Journey co-founder, Stefan Leisering finds the record in a crate at the flea market on the Strasse des 17. Juni. Like a bottle of Château Lafitte-Rothschild unearthed after 35 years, forgotten about in an abandoned cellar, do we get to experience the quiet composure and savage intensity of a treasure brought to light. It takes Leisering another ten years to comprehend what kind of music historical treasure has been hiding in his record collection. He acquired “Confidence In The Future” sometime in the early noughties and only by re-listening to this oddity one day in 2010 or 2011 did everything finally click into place. A lost gem of Berlin Pop history, one that could almost never have happened. Compositions so ahead of their time that you can only understand and classify them today properly. There’s a sense of inadvertent (and therefore unaffected) ingeniousness in songs like “Devotion To You”, “Prisoner Of Life” and “Playground Of Burial-Funds” that you have to live in the 21st Century to appreciate fully. Each of the eight tracks (maybe apart from the instrumental closer “Elegy”) has some sort of melancholy, introverted reflectiveness, and yet still always something conciliatory. Manfred Tappert’s voice lends his lyrics, written by him, but preconceived by Hirsch, something utterly personal, intimate even. Every single song, particularly within the framework of the oeuvre, tells a story, and due to this intimacy, and the adventurous arrangements touches you deeply. No matter the time or place. To add to all of this, this incomparable record has also an entirely different facet, which only becomes apparent with today’s perspective. The title track, “Confidence In The Future”, and “Answer My Questions” remind one eerily of Kings Of Convenience, and the cosy “Naze” resembles Turin Brakes. So evidently that you’ll find yourself, while listening, in a quaint retro-retro-loop, the musical equivalent of a time paradox. But this is exactly the beauty of music. Music doesn’t abide by the rules of time and space as we do, and therefore each listen to each piece of music is unique and purely based on the context of the listening. And every once in a while times have to change just so music can find a new determination and new listeners. Confidence in the future ultimately means: Good music is patient, outlives everything and will sooner or much, much later find its destination. NOTES ON A JOURNEY is looking eagerly forward to finally celebrating the first proper release of Spinning Motion’s “Confidence In The Future”. We know for a fact that now more than hundreds copies of this wonderful album have been pressed. But even if this time around no more than ten copies are be sold, it doesn’t really matter knowing that you are reading these lines and listening to the wonderful music and history of Spinning Motion.


Our Exclusive —

The original versions

Have a listen to the first demo versions from 1979 by Manfred Tappert for the LP “Confidence In The Future” by Spinning Motion. Enjoy this exclusive material at Notes On A Journey.