Non Toxique Lost at the 'Berlin ATONAL 2 Festival', (at the 'Pankehallen', located in Berlin, Germany), 1983-12-02 20:30.


PA & lighting by ??

thank you: Dimitri Leningrad (for invitation and organizing), Tanith (for the recordings) "The annual Berlin Atonal festivals from 1982-1986 (although not exclusively featuring ‘atonal’ music, in spite of the name) quickly became the local forum for tracking the developments in this culture. Footage of past ‘Atonal’ festivals, if nothing else, at least displays the potential for bracing volume and bewildering abstraction to be used in a number of different ways. The group Non-Toxique Lost, performing Ich Sah Hanoi Sterben at the 1983 edition of the festival, offer a fine introduction to the “Berlin Atonal” aesthetic: a propulsive and emotive attack guided by enraged shouts from the curiously named Sea Wanton, and with the ironically placid, bespectacled Achim Wollscheid generating guitar noises that bring to mind radioactive worms quivering on a steel floor..." (Thomas B.W. Bailey, how gray was my 'mauer': the nostalgia for berlin aesthetics) translation: The relevation of the 2nd BERLIN ATONAL festival, where the band is based. They have produced an unbelievable amount of D.I.Y. compact cassettes, and many of them document their live appereances. Than, NON TOXIQUE LOST rises above the community with an astonishing strength: a very intensive "sound-movie", wild screams, going into an unexpcted attack, "primal industrial-punk". NON TOXIQUE LOST: trance music, sounds more like "die Berliner Krankheit" then the "Neue deutsche Welle" =NDW

(the original notes come from a belgium ? or french ? fanzine) Lucrate Milk

thanks for the image its me on the picture ! we had a brief existence as a underground band assimilated with the punk scene. 2 of us went on with the Berurier Noirs wich were quite famous. One of our "satellite" became the singer of "les negresses vertes" (and died). The main thing about our music is that there was no guitar and it was squeeky and fast, lots of screaming and noise with a children's touch. A bit of a show on stage ! a quick look at : ... In Berlin we were not at our best, without our audience and it was towards the end... best whishes nina  ZE'V sorry but ive got no posters etc. from the fest and wouldnt know what to write -- it was like another lifetime ago -- vague afternoon left next day - dont remember even seeing ptv -- all the best in any event sorry im not much help -- z

left to right: Achim Wollscheid (guitar), T.poem (steeltubes) image courtesy of P. Schmidt aka "cherrypop" (live at the ATONAL 2 festival, Berlin 1983)

...retrospective Berlin Atonal 2 festival, 83 2.12.83 (story by Sea Wanton)

a CAN CAN product 
best soap you eve bought 
Left (Mainz) at 8:30 a.m. (Arrived) at 1 o'clock p.m. at the borderline of "Helmstedt".  BERLIN ATONAL 2  (image of the poster from the private archive of Manfred Weiss, thanks to manfred)

reached the "Pankehallen" at 5 o'clock p.m., approximately.  It's cold in the big hall.  A huge P.A. and everybody is very busy. "Where is Dimitri (HEGEMANN)". "The guy at the stage, over there". "Hello, this is NON TOXIQUE LOST". "Nice to meet you. alright,  you are the first to play. Put your gear behind the stage.  Complimentary tickets and everything else will be available from 'Kaspar'. Your soundcheck will be the last". 
Above. Backstage. There, it's warmer and there's some catering. Unknown faces are smoking their joints and the disgusting smell will be everywhere in the hall, afterwards. After having a snack, I go downstairs behind the stage  to set up our stage-equipment. it's still very cold. at 8 o'clock p.m. the soundcheck starts. The main-mixer calls T.Poem (aka Steffen): "Hey, you violin-man !" That's why he gets some feedbacks, which produce some confusion. "KRIEGSTANZ" is played (on sound-check) with tape, guitar, vocals, synthesizer and violin. NOISE. Above, backstage, the disgusting smell is permanently alive. We meet HEINO (support SCHEISSLADEN !), who is to announce the bands. At 9 o'clock p.m.: the performance starts. Bullshit. Fortunately, our tape recorder is out of order already at the first song: no rhythm- or backgroundtape available. We must stop. The mixer lends us his tape-recorder (thanks, tanx, TANX !). The whole affair has doubled our nervousity, but we must start. Besides tape, synthesizer and my own vocals I don't hear anything. And, starting to sing, the stagebox at my left beats the lyrics with the power of a steamhammer on my left ear. But alright. We start with "MSEQ". Steffen plays on the steeltubes, which are hanging in a 'steelcage', which is set on the podest of the drumset (see image above). Achim Wollscheid is positioned right to this and I can realize, that he's playing his guitar. But I can't hear anything of it. The rhythmtape is playing and I'm partly recognizing the loops of the sequencer. Then, we play "KRIEGSTANZ" and BLIXA "Falschgeld" (BARGELD) is told to have simulated some vomit-gestures. The industrial-rhythm by the tape is not sounding very well and at the end, there is the audience's reaction: "Fall apart" -  and there must have been some "hippie"-insults, but these were likely more addressed to me than to the others !). Thus, Steffen leaves the stage and Achim and me play "MIGHT IT BE SAILING?" I don't hear ANYTHING of Achim's guitar, and enraged, I scream my words throught the microfon, and, later, I learn, that they could not understand ANYTHING. 
Sea Wanton, image taken from the "ATONAL 2" VHS-video

"Bullshit - Bullshit", some voices  out of the audience shout. Seems not to be very agreable for their eyes, if actors on the stage don't move as the rock-cliche  demands it (especially in the sense of 'body movement'). no KRAFTWERK - no GABI (DELGADO-LOPEZ) "Freundschaft".  no liver and no cow-stomach. No show: NO: THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Cool and dissociated we offer "GA LESCHI GAMBI". I had planned to play some trumpet in it, but hearing the rhythmtape only indistinctly, I decide to avoid it.  My mood is 'on ground zero' and at "NACH DER ARBEIT" my voice is detuned, too. Steffen is working with his violin and I am only experiencing some silent sounds. But I'm not willing to walk to the stagemixer all over the stage. No wonder, that we fail at "ICH SAH HANOI STERBEN". There are some difficulties for me with the rhythm and only at "ICH KANN - ICH WILL" everything's ok. The song is applaused and I will come to an end, finally. That's why my vocals at "WER KEINEN SCHMERZ MEHR SPÜRT" are far too cool. Finally: our last song. "MIT RITA ÜBER DIE GLEISE". Suddenly, the rhythm of the tape isn't correct anymore, but all  hold it out to stay on stage. Done. We remove our gear and while carrying the instruments from the stage, "Graf Haufen" (MR. SLUT) approaches and declares, that the performance hast NOT been convincing. frust(ration). Again, we go upstairs to the 1st floor and I get us the cash (400,- DM fee and 100,- DM for gas) and 
Dimitri (HEGEMANN) says, the show has been very fine, and some SPEX- and TIP-guys do have the same opinion. I can't agree to this. The shepherd's dog in the organizer's bureau smells my (west-german) dog and is sniffing wild at me. ---image from backstage --

press release of the organizers of the "ATONAL 2" festival in Berlin (1983)

"ATONAL is an independent event of the non-conformists, an atonal opportunity for creative musicians, painters, film producers and female hairdressers. the stinking attempts of conceited cynics and phonies working in the mass-media and behind the scenes every attempt at alternative action with business methods will be overcome. they will not be allowed to force upon ATONAL their unorientated "bla bla". this is
confronted with the serious motivated musical and artificial cooperations. ATONAL means to listen for yourself.  the freedom to develop thoughts and opinions of your own and not to enter into this miserable, prefabricated system of these idiots. listening and watching. ATONAL iswhat we need to understand what we are doing. ATONAL is not a comfortable fiction and not a regulated agreement. there will be a new way to listen and to see..." (adi atonal) /
  NON TOXIQUE LOST driven to Berlin, entered the 'Pankehallen', performed and forgotten ?

notes by Sea Wanton

confidence is the source of everything. thus the 'Deutsche Bank' starts its big promotion campaign to win the youth of this world. we (the non-musicians of 'Non Toxique Lost', short: 'NTL') of course believed, at the 2 nd of december in the year 1983, that the sun will warm up furthermore our earth planet for 20 billion years and the american GIs would defend 'our' 'Westberlin' against the 'Red Army'. we were armed with a guitar (FENDER, type "Telecaster"), a violine (equipped with a contact microphone), a synthesizer 'MS-20' (from 'KORG'), a stylophon , a compact-cassette player (brand 'AKAI'), a rhythmbox (MFB-501) , a sequencer (MFB-601) , an organ-amplifier (NOVANEX), a guitar amplifier (FENDER "Reverb"), a trumpet ("Made in the GDR") and last not least:  with a twang- / art object, which we hat lend from the ' Institut für
Kunst' (from the university of Mainz). Someone of the art students had got the idea to check ca. 20-30 steeltubes for their 'sound quality', collected on  wasteyards, on construction sites, from dustbuns, etc., to shorten each tube to a length of ca. 1 meter. to construct a six foot tall steel-frame (something like a 'grid-' or 'twang' cage and then hang up inside all these metalpieces with steel drawn wire: so you could force the construction to sound all around by beating at the tubes. we, Achim Wollscheid, T.poem and Sea Wanton, lived in the back provence (as far as it concerned the 'new experimental german music'), in Mayence (Mainz) and eager to bring our sounds, our ideas to the Berlin audience.  P. Prieur (POGO),  shortly before, hat quit the band, and we removed ourselves more and more from the "1-2-3-4" attitude of his vocal style by more integrating 'real', 'concrete' samples into our songs. but why Dimitri Hegemann, the organizer of the "BERLIN ATONAL 2" festivals had invited us to participate (besides a demo-tape and a short, kind mail nothing had been exchanged in the direction to Berlin), stayed mysterious to us: after all, PSYCHIC TV, ZOS KIA und ZE'V had been announced as 'top-acts' !! - who had voted for us ? by the way, we were already at this time very active in the 'cassettes-only' scene.  I wrote for the german SOUNDS (a magazin about music) as 'GEN-82' about cassette-only productions. R. Schönauer (he owned a TEAC 4-track tape recorder, member of SELEKTION and playing bass with "PD" or "P16.D4") had recorded some of our songs and thereby allowed us to produce our first (with good quality) compact-cassette. more acceptance for our performances and products were found by the so called 'Punks' and 'Artists', less in contrast by the 'Jazz' or 'New Wave' audience, none by the fans of the "NdW" (NEUE DEUTSCHE WELLE). A. Wollscheid studied art sciences, T. poem served in the Army, and me was vacant. but we got a superb rehearsal room (in the midth of the university areal), a girlfriend with a car (Volkswagen, VW-PASSAT), some friends who looked forward experiencing Berlin. many collages, noises, sounds, rhythms, sequences and 'field recordings'had been recorded on data media (the 'compact-cassette') and rehearsed to play lve. such a mixture from tape-interludes and sound-production in realtime - this was the way, we wanted to present to the audience.

then, at the check point 'Helmstedt', the first confrontation with the second german state.   the border guard (from the 'GDR') isn't amused about T.poems white hand gloves (although it was very cold at the 2nd december in 1983 !!). "...look there, a real Lord..." he says and he controlls the passports and the conduction licence very carefully. but: no vehicle check ? I can't remember ... anyway, the transit freeway is a bumpy road, the speed rate (permanent ?) of 100 km/h is permanentely controlled by the 'GDR' police by speed traps. in any case nobody will stop in this country and almost by chance, hardly observable this so-called 'freeway' divides into the directions 'Berlin - capital of the GDR' and 'Berlin (West)'). but noticed at the right time und not gone into the to the right. the 'Pankehallen' is a red brick building. fastly discoverd. and it's so cold, that I only can think of the term 'sibirian winter'. anywhen, we find ourselves at the backstage area. some of the musicians we know by name ( from the 'Sounds', 'Spex', etc.). 'Heino' and 'Blixa Bargeld' are sitting around. met 'Graf Haufen' ('Mr. Slut') there for the first time personally - while we assembled our gear for the soundcheck. the festival is to be recorded by the radio station 'SFB' (now: 'RBB')...moreover it's planned to record the festival with cameras. in front of the stage is a small 'sea' build up of tv-cameras and other recording gear. the stage is dunked into a 'hippie'-like lightsea ('stagelight', spotlights without a limit), it blinks and flashes like in a diskotheque. on the drum-podes we have build up our 'sound-cage'. front to the audience: at the left A. Wollscheid is standing with his guitar, at the right me and my synthesizer. T.poem will beat the 'sound-cage' and from time to time, treat his violin. the soundcheck for us is the last. because we're booked as 'opener'.  everything's ok. then we have to start: 'Heino' announces the performance.

the performance starts with a desaster - the tape recoder is out of function. we get a substitute by the (audience) mixer. tanx, tanx, wherever you are now !! again the announcement: now we get the signal by 'Theo'

we start again. and now the stage boxes scream at us enormous loudness. nevertheless we manage to play the complete set - we could muddle it through ! 45 minutes we have to stand in a bitter coldness on stage. noisy stageboxes, no connection to the 'stage-mixer' and and ...somehow we had overrated our strength - lack of condition...never thougt of this before ? little applause, no encore. we remove our gear. the next one will be

'Lorenz Lorenz'

in the meantime, I get the fee. Dimitri gives us a small praise (thanks Dime, was fine). unneccessarily, we are attacked by 'Clarissa' (from 'Mannamachine') in the backstage-area, with slogans like 'music must come from the soul'. OK. boring...

but for a good defense we are too weak...someone has organzed a sleeping location for us (also here: tanx, tanx !!). the next morning, I repair my (car) boxes.  pull up the volume (only to 30 watts, I swear it!) and am attacked by one of the residents that " shouldn't terrorize the whole street...". in the afternoon (it becomes dark at 2 o'clock p.m. in this city), I'm willing to visit the 'anti-imperialistic wall' and I drive as long until I'm in front of it, because the street simply ended. anyway you got the impression as you know from the 'agent thriller' movies: hazy, dark, spare street lights, wall, dull, empty, sometimes a searchlight, which touches the peak of the wall. calm murmur of the city in the back. then: 'Zev' and 'Zos Kia' (3.12.83). and the next morning we payed a visit in the 'Madonna' (Kreuzberg). very fascinating to experience a so called 'alternative scene' without a closing hour. back t. Mayence (Mainz). the frustration is gigantic: we had forgotten to record our performance. some days later I write down my impressions and these notes later are published in the 'Handbook Of Fun' (NTL's own fanzine). but 'Amok' (aka 'Tanith') had been in the audience, had documented the performance of 'Non Toxique Lost'). he leaves the recordings to us (again, praise and thanx !). we publish these songs on a compact-cassette (C-60, Dolby, CrO2) and advertise the tape in our 'Handbook Of Fun'.  some months later, we get a mail out of Berlin, containing a cassette with the stagemix (SFB) of this performance. somewhen (1986 ??) I ask the company called 'K7' (this company had recorded the video-takes during the festival) for the material ( it's said, that there is something available on 'U-Matic'). and really: we get a reply and they say, we could buy this piece for DM 500,-. no,  can't afford this: my dole is DM 500,- the month.  where to take it if not to steal ? 

the video BERLIN "ATONAL 2 FESTIVAL" 1983, VHS (part 1 & 2) video featuring: