Pete Namlook and his Fax

George Palladev 25.09.2023

Pete Namlook and his Fax

Peter Kuhlmann (who kept his first name, but reversed his last name, becoming Namlook for foreigners) created German label Fax +49-69/450464 to share tracks with his friends. To say: “Look, guys, what a sound I made yesterday!” In 1992, there were no messaging apps, no Skype, not even ICQ—no modern Internet whatsoever. How could you get discovered in that case? Namlook was refused by one label, then another, so he created his own. He sent out music from his number, and you could message him if you wanted to participate. Very convenient! And the fax itself is very convenient: you insert a piece of paper with a text or a photo into it and the device remembers the attached information and transmits it to the addressee in its original form over the telephone line. This is how communication used to work.

Namlook repeatedly called himself a music researcher, and his colleagues were surprised at how quickly the owner of Fax was able to work. In collaboration and alone, Peter prepared hundreds of releases. This is at least ten thousand tracks over twenty years of his writing alone. He’s the one to blame for the fact that there is so much music in the world! The tracks recorded by Peter weren’t supplemented or edited; they immediately went to print. “What’s done is done,” said Namlook, and started another work. Of course, he immediately got the reputation of a scribbler.

Color code in Fax releases

But Namlook replied that he wanted to saturate the market with a new sound, with different genres, expand the boundaries, and create a world music movement. With a flow of frequent releases, Peter maintained an interest in himself and his label, striving to stand out. His advantage was the sheer quantity and therefore not only he, but also the guests of his discs, had a stable income from such a conveyor belt.

However, when your label releases a CD every week or two, you won’t find masterpieces there. All that multi-volume Namlook legacy, which is usually spoken of with a gasp, is nothing more than an abyss of third-rate, superficial and mediocre music. This is the case of hard work pretending to be talent. Namlook’s really interesting tracks can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The label has just a few landmark releases. (Although Fax fans will disagree with me.) The main impression from listening to Peter’s catalogue is that the world has more interesting music than this. Today we have found some gold in the infinite ore for you to evaluate: five of the most successful ambient tracks that Namlook made at different times with different musicians. You’ll find Klaus Schultze, Bill Laswell, and Burhan Ocal here.