After a long period of playing in bands, singing in an acapella-band and having bad experiences with major-label-deals Barbara Morgenstern started to concentrate on her own songs. An old friend (Joe Tabu) started to organize concerts in his living room (in 1996) to create a more concentrated and intimate atmosphere during the performance, keep the focus on the music and to have the possibility to perform without being well known or having much publicity.
As a member of the so-called Wohnzimmer-Szene (livingroom scene) Morgenstern did her first record Enter the Partyzone - a cassette with 6 trash keyboard songs on it. After that things developed slowly but constantly. She did a tour with all the bands who got known by their concerts in the living room and “that was the point when we realized that the whole thing was over cause although playing in clubs was not the main idea, we wanted to play and reach people.”
Barbara Morgenstern did a second album in 1997 - Plastikreport -on a small german Label called Klub der guten Hoffnung a label based on the idea of networking, selling the records at concerts and supporting each other (e.g. organizing concerts for labelmates). Parallel to this Gudrun Gut founded her label Monika Enterprise a small independent label. She released the first Wohnzimmer Compilation and a lot of the bands of the Wohnzimmer Szene (Quarks, Contriva, Komeit). Barbara released her first full-length album in 1998 on Monika Enterprise - Gudrun Gut had discovered her at a Wohnzimmer concert - and from this moment on she started touring through Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Morgenstern’s next album was Fjorden (Monika Enterprise) in 2000 and after that Nichts Muss on Monika (2003) - in collaboration with Labels because she started to play throughout Europe as well (UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy , Scandinavia, Poland…). She did lots of concerts with the fabulous Berlin electronic band To Rococo Rot and Stefan Schneider´s Mapstation - with them she discovered the european audiences. In April 2002 Morgenstern released an EP on Domino Recordings (Series 500), including 4 Tracks together with Robert Lippok (To Rococo Rot).
Barbara was invited by the German Goethe Institut to do a World Tour with Maximilian Hecker. They played in Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Porto Allegre, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Ankara, Athen, Madrid, Brussels, Milano, Paris, Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, Glasgow, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and after a christmas-break kept on playing concerts from january 2004 in New York, Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Bombay, Tashkent , Jakarta, Bangkok, Hongkong, Shanghai, Peking and Sydney. Of course that was exciting. Having started in Berlin living-rooms and now having the chance to travel around the world.
Before the World Tour Morgenstern took part in a recording session with Bills Wells, a wonderful musician from Scotland. His style is between Jazz and Post Rock, very gentle music. He invited Stefan Schneider and Annie Whitehead (a Trombone player who played with Robert Whyatt) to record an album with him. The album Pick up Sticks was released in April 2004 on the Leaf Label.
The next thing that happened was the release of an album Morgenstern did with Stefan Schneider (To Rococo Rot) and Paul Wirkus a polish experimental electronic musician under the name September Collective on Geographic/ Domino Records in September 04. We played concerts in Germany, Poland and UK in spring 05.
The Tesri album with Robert Lippok is finished and was released on Monika Enterprise in May 05. One highlight of the following gigs was a concert in Tokyo as part of an oceanclub night on october 9th 2005. They also played a lot of live shows in Europe during the year 2005.
Barbara’s fourth album the grass is always greener (monika47) was released last year. US tour dates are planned for fall 2007.
Barbara Morgenstern International press quotes:
“For some this music is a trip into their true self, for others it is just the best that the electro-pop scene has currently got to offer. And for some it’s both.”
Die Zeit 11/03
"She successfully resists the do and dont’s of the moment. And of course there’s that nonochalant voice which, no matter how sad the words are, always suggests a smiling face.”
"Beyond all cliches and categorisation remains a wonderful voice, hypnotic lyrics and a light, melodic sound scape. - this is music for autum walks thourhgh the park, preferably with the sun low in the sky and a fresh breeze.”
“The good thing about Barbara Morgenstern is that she does everything right. She magically radiates energy and composes melodies that take you to giddy heights and leave your heart pounding.”
“…You could have called that work Indietronic, but the term didn`t exist at the time. Even now, two years later, it won`t fit. yet it comes to mind, because `Fjorden` has obviously been recorded with new equipment and new technique. Still working out of her own studio, using sampler and sequencer in her instrumentation, Barbara Morgenstern tells us stories. Her wonderful, heartbreaking voice, adds context to the beats and sounds. "Fjorden", with its warm analog sound, is like a good friend visiting - rotating in your cd player. You are not alone. Barbara Morgenstern is there with her music. And it`s wonderful that she`s there!”
Jan Ole Jöhnk, 8/2000
“…she captures odd sounds in her net – cello draughts, a fly buzzing through a room, electric guitars that blast like gridlocked trucks – and flows them seamlessly into the pop…“
Other Music NY, 10/2000
“Berlin-based electronic indie-pop artist Barbara Morgenstern's vocals may not pirouette like Björk's or haunt like Tracy Thorn's, but they're still perfect. This is evident on her new recording, The Grass Is Greener, a collection of songs inspired by a recent Goethe Institut-sponsored world tour. Although she's been recording fine material since 1997, the dreamy, piano-constructed ballads of Grass should prove to be her breakthrough.”
earplug, April 2006
“there’s barely a dud to be found, not even as the album takes on a busier and slightly more industrial aesthetic near the end. Confident, crafted and feminine, this is Morgenstern’s finest record yet - let’s hope she gets the audience she deserves.”
Pitchwfork Media, Mark Pytlik June 20, 2006
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