RIP Ambient and Electronic Music Pioneer Pete Namlook

This week we learned of the passing of electronic music giant Pete Namlook. His real last name is Kuhlmann, with Namlook being the sound of that name pronouced backwards. He was 51.

I am often amazed at how I come to listen to certain artists – it is like a game of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ at times. Pete Namlook is one of those. As my musical horizons began to expand in the late 70’s and into the 80’s I discovered a great number of musicians, and as a bassist I was directed to Bill Laswell. Laswell released a solo album called ‘Basslines’ in early 1982 and I read about it and bought it soon after release – and was hooked.

Fast forward some years and I still tracked Laswell’s efforts (he is astoundingly prolific, releasing hundreds of recordings), and came across a project called ‘Dark Side of the Moog’, a collaboration between Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook (Laswell collaborated on later editions of the series). Schulze had also grabbed my attention as a primary member of Tangerine Dream and for the classic ‘Moondawn’ recording. On ‘Dark Side of the Moog’ you get some clear Schulze influence, but there was something else … and that was Pete Namlook. I was intrigued.

Over the years I kept up with Namlook and grabbed occasional recordings, and my favorites remain the ‘Dark Side of the Moog’ series and the masterpieces ‘Air 1 & 2’ (which had already been combined by the time I bought it … and is sadly out of print now).

His passing is a loss to his friends, family, colleagues and the electronic music community as a whole. Here is a statement from MusicRadar:

Namlook’s daughter Fabia has issued the following statement: “It is with much grief that we announce the passing of Peter Kuhlmann, AKA Pete Namlook. We are still shocked and are working on an official announcement that will follow soon to bring clarity to our minds. As word spreads on the internet more and more we just want to make clear that he died peacefully from as yet unspecified causes on 8th November 2012. We will announce more details as and when they surface.”

And here are a few Youtube videos highlighting his work, the first featuring mostly an interview with Namlook:

Pete Namlook’s Slice (Part 2)

Pete Namlook & Klaus Schulze: Careful with the AKS, Peter

Pete Namlook & Klaus Schulze — Set the Controls for the Heart of the Mother Pt 1

Lost in Passion – Pete Namlook (Air I, 1993)

Our thoughts go out to his family.

Categories: Music Diary, News