my appreciation of ffm shadow orchestra runs for a long time now. like most of the acts in my early days of hardcore, i discovered them through the c8.com site in the mid 90s. i remember when i first read the name, i assumed it must be a strange rap group from frankfurt. i soon learned better, since stevvi (who ran the old pcp website, which was hosted at c8) put up some preview tracks by them. they became some of the first underground hardcore tracks i ever heard, when i was 15 year old, and i instantly liked what i heard. i remember stevvi wrote that marc had send him some white labels, so he doesn't know who wrote these tracks, but he assumed it was the ffm shadow orchestra. since then, and probably before then, the orchestra was always associated with some sort of mystery. fast forward one year, it's 1997 and i'm in the container record store in hamburg. i spotted two new releases that really stood out from most of the rest of the vinyls. the cover art intrigued me, and on the backside there were printed lyrics to the song. that was really something stunning for me, underground hardcore with full vocals and lyrics! i immediately bought the records, without prelistening to them. i think only at home i realised i bought something by the ffm shadow orchestra, because of the weird font they used i couldn't really decipher most of the text at first.
the records were interzone 1 and 2 (the name of the label is a reference to william burroughs and/or the movie naked lunch, by the way), and i instantly fell in love with them. the tracks had such an outerspace feel to them, pure phuture, with long ambient intros that would make one feel as if one is travelling among the stars. over the years i've listened to a lot of futuristic music, but ffm shadow orchestra is still something that stands out with it's vibe, and there is something else to it, not just phuture, or rather, a special brand of phuture sound that no other artist did yet.
here ends the text of my personal story with the ffm shadow orchestra, so i'll talk a bit about the mystery surrounding this act. the first mystery is of course, who are they actually? they have not released on any other label outside of the pcp family, and almost nothing is known about the persons behind this project. needless to say, they seem to never have done any live perfomances either. in fact, for a long time, i thought it is just another strange project done by marc, miro or thorsten, or all three together, using a different name. it seems though that the people behind the orchestra have released under other names on pcp too, using aliases such as "terrorists" or "3 from i.o.".
another mystery is the nature of their releases themselves. around 2000 i noticed a release called "ffm shadow orchestra - radio inferno" in the phuture-rave record store on the web. it's a full album, only released on cd-r. who released it? why didn't it get a proper release? is it really the same guys - it sounds much different to their earlier releases? one might never know.
the biggest strange thing is maybe that the ffm shadow orchestra is still much less known than other acts of their era, or especially other pcp acts. they had a lot more going on than a lot of acts - fully lyricized tracks, big productions, good ideas (on one of their records all four tracks are an hommege to the classic movie "killing zoé", for example). they really would have deserved much more recognition, in my opinion.
note: since writing this text, a lot of the ffm shadow orchestra mysteries have been lifted for me. yet, i found it more interesting to keep the text as it is, so the mysteries remain, and it is ought to each one interested to lift them for him.