Geheimnisvoll aber nicht Geheimniskrämerei


“Geheimnisvoll aber nicht Geheimniskrämerei” from Ember Glance - The Permanence of Memory
by David Sylvian & Russell Mills
original source unknown

This line plays with the German word “geheim” which can appear in “geheimnisvoll” as something mysterious or arcane, something that is just hidden to some people due to lack of exposure, but not necessarily hidden by someone for a specific purpose. It can also appear in “Geheimniskrämerei” as secretiveness, something that is kept in secret by someone with a specific intent. This quote could perhaps be translated as “mysterious but not secretive”?

It was used in the instrumental soundtrack to the Ember Glance installation by David Sylvian and Russell Mills. I found its appearance always very fascinating, not only because it is a quote in German which I would not really expect in David Sylvian’s work. But it also seems to fit so perfectly to the subject of their installation which dealt with those seemingly forgotten memories, that from time to time still manage to reach to the surface of consciousness for a very brief moment. Just like embers’ glow would become visible in one moment and fade away in the following. I also liked how a closer, more careful look reveals such a subtle difference… just like a closer, more careful listen to music can reveal so many subtleties over time.

The voice sounds familiar, but I have never heard anything more about its background story or origins. During this time David Sylvian worked with Holger Czukay on several projects and I think that Holger may be responsible for this voice fragment. Was it Holger Czukay himself, or was is a quote by Karlheinz Stockhausen? Or somebody else?

I still wonder who said it originally, when and in which context. Or was it really specifically recorded for Ember Glance?