“Currently I make 6000 marks a month.
That shows what an idea of mine is worth.”
(Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, 1968)
The Cosmic Jokers is not really a band per se but a supergroup of several German musicians and personalities from the 70’s psychedelic philosophies. Among the participants we can find names such as Manuel Göttsching and Klaus Schulze of Ash Ra Tempel, Jürgen Dollase and Harald Grosskopf of Wallenstein, and Dieter Dierks (the inventor and patent holder of the DVDplus).
Their music was created from sessions produced and recorded by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser and Gille Lettman in early 1973. Kaiser arranged some acid parties at Dierks’ studio, where they were offered drugs in exchange for recording tracks. Eventually Kaiser took these recordings and released them on his own label, Kosmische Musik with the musicians’ pictures on the cover (see below) – without asking for their permission.
Manuel Göttsching only found out about this record when he heard it by accident in a record store in Berlin and asked them what was playing. After this first record, Kaiser released five more under the name The Cosmic Jokers in 1974, his girlfriend Gille Lettmann speaking over sounds taken from previous releases. (“The time ship floats through the galaxy of joy. In the sounds of electronics. In the flashes of light. Here you will discover Science Fiction, the planet of Cosmic Jokers, the Galactic Supermarket and the Sci Fi Party. That is the new sound. Space. Telepathy. Melodies. Joy.”) None of the musicians were happy with these recordings, and Klaus Schulze even sued Kaiser. In 1975, Kaiser was forced to discontinue and withdraw all the releases and fled the country, abandoning his record label.
No matter how messy this issue was, their “flight through the cosmic music” is still a remarkable collection of sounds and we can warmly recommend it if you’ve missed it earlier. Especially if you are interested in some proper krautrock and you are familiar with the works of Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching.
Artist: The Cosmic Jokers (Dieter Dierks, Gille Lettmann, Harald Grosskopf, Jürgen Dollase, Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Rosi Müller)
Title: Sci Fi Party
Label: Kosmische Musik
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation, Quadraphonic, Stereo
Genre: Electronic, Krautrock, Prog Rock
Design: Peter Geitner
Photography: Claus Cranz, Marcel Fugère