Free music production

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Free Music Production (FMP) is the name of an independent Berlin record label that was primarily at home in the field of free jazz . In February 2003, FMP terminated the license agreement with its sales department and temporarily stopped its production activities in 2004. The label's productions are now being re-released on several other labels (e.g. Atavistic / Unheard Music , Intakt Records or JazzWerkstatt ). Production resumed in 2008 and was finally discontinued in 2011.

History of the label

FMP was founded in 1969 by the musicians Peter Brötzmann , Peter Kowald , Alexander von Schlippenbach and Jost Gebers , the later producer, and initially operated together. Behind this was the desire to be able to work better as a musician when you have the means of production - including for the production and distribution of sound carriers - "that is, you can determine the conditions yourself instead of going to the studio for a few hours and doing your stuff within a very short time." To have to deliver time ”. Because of excessive friction, the collective was dissolved in 1976 and Gebers was appointed sole managing director. The latter was the driving force behind the label until the end of production. Since 2007 he has been the sole owner of the legal successor FMP-Publishing.

In the 1970s and 1980s, FMP regularly documented the work of the label's founders, as well as other musicians such as Manfred Schoof , Rüdiger Carl , Hans Reichel and Irène Schweizer . In addition to LPs, which were always available until the changeover to CD, singles were also occasionally released. The activities of musicians from the FMP area such as Sven-Åke Johansson , Alfred Harth or Keith Tippett , Steve Lacy , John Tchicai , Misha Mengelberg and Noah Howard were recorded on sub-labels such as SAJ and later also Uhlklang . Since 1973 there have also been productions of LPs with musicians from the GDR. FMP campaigned for an exchange with the GDR: the label initially produced records from radio recordings made in the GDR but not published there, but also co-productions with Amiga . Since 1978 musicians from the GDR have also been able to play on FMP projects and have been recorded there. Here in particular is the West Berlin concert series Jazz Now. To mention Jazz from the GDR (August 1979), which led to a double album, in which all relevant groups of the free jazz scene of the GDR were presented.

At the end of the 1980s / beginning of the 1990s, FMP was able to show a special figurehead of free jazz with Cecil Taylor and his around 20 releases during this period (like Leaf Palm Hand from 1988): The label also brought special recordings from June / July 1988 a box with 11 CDs (“Cecil Taylor in Berlin '88”). A duo recording entitled “In East Berlin”, presented by Cecil Taylor in collaboration with Günter Sommer , was also released, which was also made during Taylor's stay in the then divided city of Berlin.

At the beginning of 2011, the record company ended its activities with the twelve-part CD box “ FMP in retrospect ”, which is accompanied by a book of the same name with contributions by various authors and photos by Dagmar Gebers. On the website of the FMP label it is documented that Gebers separated from the appointed administrators in a dispute and that they have now had to answer in court.

Effect of FMP

The label acted as an early pioneer for European free jazz and made its musicians known especially in the USA; Albums like Peter Brötzmann 's Machine Gun, recorded in 1968, were groundbreaking for the development of the European scene. Compared to other renowned labels in German-speaking countries such as ECM , Winter & Winter (Germany) and HatHut (Switzerland), some of which have publications in the stylistic area of ​​FMPs (especially the latter also FMP musicians), the programmatic claim was clearer, hence the stylistic alignment narrower and thus the target audience smaller. There was a great conceptual resemblance to other record companies owned by musicians such as the Dutch Instant Composers Pool or the British Incus label, and later to the Swiss label Intakt Records , which is also committed to FMP musicians. FMP cannot generally be associated with high production standards, especially since there was initially the requirement to document the activities of the label musicians as comprehensively as possible. Especially in the case of the above-mentioned Machine Gun (1968) by Peter Brötzmann (which, however, first appeared in self-publishing and was then incorporated into the program by FMP), the crude production was pointed out in discussions.


  • 1977 - German Critics' Prize
  • 1979 - Record award of the Union of German Jazz Musicians for productions with the Friedemann Graef Quintet and the Manfred Schoof Quintet
  • 1990 - German Record Critics' Prize for the complete works of FMP and the aforementioned 11-CD box by Cecil Taylor
  • 2011 - Best list of the second quarter of 2011 (German Record Critics' Award) for FMP in retrospect: In Retrospect
  • 2012 - Annual Prize Prize of the German Record Critics for Jost Gebers, as FMP has been "the central platform of the jazz avant-garde in Europe" for three decades.


From March 10 to August 20, 2017, Haus der Kunst dedicated the FMP exhibition : The Living Music with a concert series to the label .

Free Music Production Distribution & Communication

On January 1, 2000, on the basis of a license agreement that was terminated in 2003, the label Helma Schleif took over the production and distribution of the FMP CDs. Since then, FMP Free Music Production Distribution & Communication has existed as a distributor, which also held the Total Music Meeting annually from 2001 to 2008 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Marcus Maida Abschiedsblicke Jazzthetik # 241, July / August 2011
  2. Peter Brötzmann in: D. Fränzel et al. Sounds like Whoopataal. Essen 2006, p. 179
  3. Fränzel et al. Sounds like Whoopataal, p. 211
  4. Sounds from here, from now, from always , in NZZ . Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  5. ^ Christian Broecking, Stefan Franzen, Martin Laurentius Berlin: FMP exhibition Jazzthing, June 7, 2012
  6. ^ Prize of the German Record Critics 2011 / list of the best of the second quarter of 2011
  7. News Prize of the German Record Critics (Status: May 15, 2012)
  8. FMP: The Living Music (House of Art)