When "Sonne = Blackbox" was first released in 2011, three years had passed since the world first learned of Ursula Bogner's work. Since then, her identity had been surrounded by rumours, her graphic work have been exhibited (CEACC, Strasbourg, France, 2011 and elsewhere) and her compositional instructions have been performed (by Mo Loschelder, Andrew Pekler, Kassian Troyer, Jan Jelinek among others). The music of "Sonne = Blackbox" was compiled by Andrew Pekler, the album presents Bogner's early experiments with voice and tape music—a previously unknown emotional side of her music is revealed here through her singing.
"It seems almost incredible that Ursula Bogner's musical talents should have remained undiscovered until now. Yet in view of her biography, this might have been just as inevitable.
It was on a flight to Vilnius that I met Sebastian Bogner, Ursula's son, who told me he was on a business trip for a pharmaceutical company. The usual small talk soon led to the topic of his mother Ursula, who also 'liked to play around with synthesizers', albeit purely on an amateur level and in a dedicated music room fitted especially for this purpose in the parental home. Among her acquaintances, it was simply considered one of her many eccentric hobbies and not paid a great deal of interest. At a cursory glance, Ursula Bogner's life seemed simple and bourgeois to the core: a pharmacist, wife and mother, firmly ensconced in a detached house. A setup that made her obsession with electronic music all the more bizarre - an obsession that drove her to build her own studio for extensive recording and experimentation.
According to the usual chronological benchmarks, Ursula Bogner (1946-1994)'s biography appears short and conventional. Born and raised in Dortmund, she moved to Berlin at 19 to study pharmacy. Degree in hand, she immediately went to work for pharmaceutical giant Schering, followed by marriage, children and a successful yet by no means sensational scientific career within the multinational heavyweight. At the same time, she developed a keen interest in electronic music. Throughout her early twenties, she followed the activities of Cologne-based Studio für elektronische Musik
, attended seminars by Studio founder Herbert Eimert, exhibited great enthusiasm for Musique Concrète and, later on, shared her children's enthusiasm for British New Wave Pop. Nevertheless, Ursula Bogner never involved herself in any scene, never made her music public. Maybe this can be attributed to her boundless curiosity. Besides composition, she also tried her hand at painting, printing and developed a strong fascination for Wilhelm Reich's Orgonomy, the sexual researcher and psychoanalyst's bizarre late work on his discovery of Orgonenergy. Reich aimed to focus resp. collect this particular type of solar energy and use it for healing purposes. To this end, he created an apparatus, a cabin of wood and metal otherwise known as an Orgon Accumulator. Inspired by several trips to Orgonon
(Maine, USA)—Wilhelm Reich's former workspace and home—Ursula Bogner decided to construct her own accumulator and stored it in the family's backyard. At this point, it becomes increasingly hard to shake the suspicion, later confirmed by Sebastian Bogner, that his mother was drawn to all things esoteric
. Mounds of New Age literature and fringe science works would litter the Bogner household. And yet, throughout all this, she remained a Schering employee and thus firmly rooted in the sciences. Her compositions, too, betray few signs of esotericism, in fact they are closer to studies and sketches: humorous and—in view of her biography—almost silly rather than tied to any particular school of mysticism or science. Nevertheless, it is remarkably hard to grasp or classify her work as a whole. Over the course of 20 years, she dabbled in many different styles leading to a huge wealth of work and a bewildering variety of titles."