Uwe Schmidt, aka Atom Heart, aka Atom™, is a German DJ and prolific electronic music producer. He works under an ever-changing array of pseudonyms and personalities producing albums for his own imprint, Rather Interesting, and other solo and collaborative endeavours. His catalogue includes works with and for artists such as Depeche Mode, Air, Bill Laswell, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Towa Tei and others.
Schmidt (b1968) started out in Frankfurt in the mid 80s as a drummer and autodidact programmer in various projects. In 1986 he co-founded N.G. Medien, a cassette tape label for diverse electronic music projects. A couple of years later Schmidt began to release on vinyl and CD with his project Lassigue Bendthaus.
During the early to mid 90s, Schmidt produced dance music – techno, acid and trance – under a number of monikers including one of the most well known to date, Atom Heart. He started his own label, Rather Interesting, in 1994 with the aim of developing a catalogue that “didn't follow the traditional paths of electronic music". His work explored electronic music from almost every angle, from the hypnotic minimal house of I, the machine aesthetic of Dos Tracks, the Latin-infused Erik Satin and Lisa Carbon, the spacious ambience of Flextone, and the digital jazz of The Roger Tubesound Ensemble. The mid-90s was also the beginning of Schmidt’s formal association with Pete Namlook’s experimental label, Fax, also based in Frankfurt. Through a number of solo and collaborative projects with Tetsu Inoue and Namlook, Schmidt contributed to the ferment of melodic trance and techno sounds now associated with Frankfurt. He released a handful of Fax titles during this period — including Orange, Datacide, Softcore, and Coeur Atomique — Namlook established the Rather Interesting label as a subsidiary of Fax dedicated to Atom Heart-related projects.
Schmidt moved to Santiago, Chile in 1996 to explore Latin American music and soon launched the satirical Señor Coconut project – a ‘band’ consisting of Schmidt, an Akai MPC3000 and an S6000 – doing covers of 70s and 80s classics in Latin style. The most notorious Señor Coconut release El Baile Alemán, (Emperor Norton, 1999) was a Latin/cumbia reinterpretation of Kraftwerk hits.
During 1999 and 2000, Schmidt earned a higher profile among American listeners with the release of several projects, beginning with the cover album, Pop Artificielle, as, which achieved relatively wide release, and Flanger's Templates (an atmospheric jazz project with Bernd Friedman) on the Ninja Tune sub-label Ntone.
The years 2008 and 2009 saw Flanger do a film soundtrack for the Hungarian movie Bibliotheque Pascal. Schmidt also did remixes for Towa Tei, Bomb the Bass and others and released a critically acclaimed Atom™ album on Raster Noton, Liedgut
was nominated for Germany's highest music award, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. In recent years Schmidt has developed a new Atom™ live show, in which he plays audio (with a vintage Akai MPC sampler) and video in real time.
A new Atom™ album, Muster
, was released through Schmidt’s Rather Interesting label in November 2009.
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