R.I.P. Pete Namlook

When I was in college, experiments with hallucinogens led to a pronounced Bill Laswell phase, and through Laswell, I was introduced to a world of incredible jazz, funk, electronic, dub, and ambient artists. Among those in the latter category was Germany’s Pete Namlook, not only a composer of gorgeous and immersive Eno-esque ambient, but one of the scene’s key figures; since 1992, his label, FAX +49-69/450464 (aka Fax Records), has released countless albums (usually in limited quantities) of experimental music, many of which are now part of the ambient genre’s bedrock. The list of artists who released work on Fax could double as an ambient hall of fame, including Richie Hawtin, Tetsu Inoue, Atom Heart, Laswell, and more. The contributions to ambient made by Namlook (whose real surname is Kuhlmann, for which “Namlook” is a phonetic reversal) can’t be overstated; they can probably barely even be completely understood at this point. Namlook passed away last Thursday, at age 51, due to unknown causes. His daughter, Fabia, released a statement today to electronic music magazine Resident Advisor. Here’s the statement in full:

“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.”


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