Out on June 25th via Bureau B is the Heiko Maile CD/LP “Demo Tapes 1984-86”. These recordings actually present the beginnings of Camouflage if you check them out. Most of the tracks on this album were recorded with a basic stereo (2-track) cassette recorder. The studio set-up looked more or less like this: a drum computer (no Midi) and a sequencer were connected to each other and synchronized rhythmically.
For this reissue Heiko used the latest studio technology and audio restoration algorithms to get these tracks back into listenable shape. 15 tracks were selected to be included.
Here’s what Heiko says about the way he worked back in the early 80s: “Ideas, compositions, arrangements, sound and not least the technical question of the recording process – this was all completely new ground for me. Getting to grips with songwriting and studio engineering without any form of training or professional guidance involves a great deal of trial and error and, above all, plenty of time. Any spare minutes I had were spent with our synthesizers and recording equipment. Every demo, every attempt to imitate the sound of a favorite record or device rang true to the mantra of “learning by doing“… equipment with no memory function (please do not touch!!!), the constant humming of cheap wires and cables (soldering is a must-have skill!), rotten-sounding cassettes (which had been recorded over several times, of course), a healthy degree of overconfidence (who needs a Fairlight CMI?) or the frequently unpredictable vagaries of analog technology on a home studio budget – there were many lessons to be learned.”
As for recording the demo material presented here, Heiko reveals this: “I crafted melodic sequences and rhythms and usually transposed them to the desired pitch manually, using the keyboards. Other live instruments were played over the top. Then everything, the sum of all the sound sources, was put together in a kind of “live recording” with the aid of a mixing desk. Just a single mistake would mean having to start all over again. Reconfiguring many of the sounds once the controls had already been adjusted was a painstaking process. I ended up with heaps of cassettes, often featuring seemingly endless versions and variations of the same track.”
- Beat For Ikutaro (Tape 52)
- Vega Drive (Tape 13)
- Heizungskeller (Tape 66)
- Ear Piercer (Tape 48)
- Murky Water (Tape 02)
- Floating Bottles (Tape 04)
- Spoken Letter (Tape 75)
- Wavy RX (Tape 57)
- Nachtspaziergang (Tape 40)
- Grandma’s Kitchen (Tape 29)
- Steam Engine (Tape 40)
- Bike Spokes (Tape 02)
- Fernsprecher (Tape 75)
- Submarines in Space (Tape 07)
- Film Drei (Tape 09)
About Heiko Maile
Australia born Heiko Maile is a German musician and composer who is best known as a member of the band Camouflage and as the composer for the score of the films “The Wave” and “We Are the Night”.
Growing up in Bietigheim-Bissingen (Germany), his first musical steps were at a young age when he started taking classical guitar lessons. His career as a musician and producer began in 1983, as one of the founding members of the synthpop band Camouflage.
Camouflage consisted of lead singer Marcus Meyn, Heiko Maile and Oliver Kreyssig. Their only Billboard Hot 100 hit was “The Great Commandment”, which earned No. 59 place in 1988, and earned three weeks at No. 1 on the US dance chart. They also had two additional minor dance hits in 1989.
In the 1990s, Maile founded with Marcus Meyn the music publishing company, Areu Areu. During this time, he met the music producer Mathias Willvonseder. They formed a long-term partnership, resulting in numerous commercials and films, which were often awarded prizes at festivals.
He is also a member of the Composers’ Collective Gutleut, where he met composer and arranger Torsten Kamps, and the two began working closely together. During this time, Maile started to develop a desire to compose for films and approached producer Christian Becker. Maile finally began composing for films in 2006 when he did the music for a short film called “Basti”. Maile was then hired by Becker to create the score as well as a few original songs for the teen-thriller “The Wave”.
Maile went on to work with Christian Becker and “The Wave” director Dennis Gansel and composed the music for “We Are the Night”, which was nominated for German Film Prize (the German Oscars) in 2011.
Heiko Maile now lives and works in Stuttgart.
The last Camouflage album was “Greyscale”, their eighth studio album. The record was released on 6 March 2015 in Germany and on 27 March 2015 in the rest of the world via the Bureau B label. It was the band’s first studio album in nine years, following 2006’s “Relocated”.