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Ralf Hildenbeutel, Stevie B-Zet (sometimes spelled Be-Zet or B.Zet, his Realname is Steffen Britzke) and A.C. Boutsen (Matthias Hoffmann) are knowing each other since the mid 80's, where they played as musicians in different live bands like a Funk group called "Midnite Fun", for example.

Ralf Hildenbeutel Stevie B-Zet A.C. Boutsen
Ralf Hildenbeutel
(Taken from KEYS 02/2000)
Stevie B-Zet
(Steffen Britzke)
(Taken from KEYS
Musikproduktion 2000)
A.C. Boutsen
(Matthias Hoffmann)
(Taken from a techno
magazine around 1995/1996)

The first time I recognized them (I was late, sorry :-) was as producers for various projects related to Sven Väth: After starting DJing Sven became in the late 80s Sven the frontman of a pop group called "Off". He formed it with Michael Münzig and Luca Anzilotti, who later became "Snap", and were previously known as "16 Bit".
From 1988 on Matthias Hoffmann (aka A.C. Boutsen) co-produced some "Off" tracks and Stevie B-Zet played some keyboards for them.

In 1989, A.C. Boutsen, Stevie B-Zet and Sven Väth started the project "Mosaic". As Mosaic, the trio released a number of successive club hits and remixes until the end of 1990.

Article about the foundation of EYE-Q taken from a 1991 issue of Groove magazine Article about the foundation of EYE-Q taken from a 1991 issue of Groove magazine
Article about the foundation of EYE-Q
(Taken from a 1991 issue of Groove magazine)
Between summer 1991 and spring 1992, the classic Frankfurt techno/trance label named "EYE-Q" was founded by Sven Väth together with his manager Heinz Roth and Matthias Hoffmann (aka A.C. Boutsen). It was divided into the two sublabels "HARTHOUSE" (for a techno/house style), "RECYCLE OR DIE" (featuring electronic instrumental/experimental/ambient music) and the the "EYE-Q Main Label" (for everything that doesn't fit into the other catagories).

Ralf & Sven, 1993 Ralf & Sven, 1993 Stevie & Sven, 1996
Ralf & Sven, 1993
(Taken from TEEX booklet)
Stevie & Sven as Astral Pilot, 1996
(Taken from HH Chapter 8)

At the end of 1992, Sven met up with Ralf Hildenbeutel, who has produced all of Sven's 'solo' releases until 1998, as well as their common projects "Essence of Nature" and "Barbarella".

Steffen Britzke article in 1995/09 KEYS magazine issue
(Steffen Britzke
article in 1995/09
KEYS magazine issue)


In their "EYE-Q/HH/ROD Period" Ralf, Steffen and Matthias produced many unforgettable club classics, intelligent techno that was years ahead of time, as well as beautiful high class ambient chillout sounds. Still in 2000 and 2001 new compilations and remixes from that period have been released. Their solo works and projects like "Earth Nation", "Curare", "Progressive Attack", "Cygnus X", "Brainchild", "Odysee of Noises", "Metal Master" and "Astral Pilot" made them unforgetable as well as their productions for "Zyon" and "Vernon".

In early 1997 the changes climaxed and EYE-Q reached the end. Sven and Matthias separated from their business partners and left EYE-Q. Around June '97 after moving to Berlin the German label wasn't able to pay their bills and filed a petitition for bankruptcy, right after the US department died bit earlier.
After 1997, EYE-Q UK was still alive and releasing new records, but this has nothing to do with Sven, Ralf, Steffen, Matthias and the 'good old days'. At the end of '97 the rights on the name HARTHOUSE has been sold to UCMG (Undercover Music Group). In February '98 UCMG released a Retrospective HH compilation.


Picture from FAZ 'Frankfurter Neue Presse' issue around 1998

From now on, freed from the former EYE-Q boundaries, Ralf, Steffen and Matthias have founded "Schallbau Productions" and been acting as 'freelance' producers for their own new projects as well as for other artists on various labels and record companies.
(Picture on the left taken from an Article in an FAZ 'Frankfurter Neue Presse' issue around 1998).

Ralf has produced Sven's first "past-EYE-Q" album named "Fusion" for Schallbau, released in 1998 on Virgin.

In 1998 the fantastic album "Schallbau's Point Zero Vol. 1" in an 'easy listening' kind of style appeared on Logic / BMG. Ralf released a new Earth Nation on Rough Trade / Jive, Matthias released a club oriented single as "Dee. FX" on Logic, and Steffen and Matthias appeared as "They" on a small underground label Ultra X.

In 1999 the Schallbau productions for the artists "Vega" (on Epic/Sony) and "Simon Collins" (on WEA/Warner) have been released, as well as some contributions (like Matthias' new solo project "Superfish") for a movie score to a German film named "Caipiranha".

In 2000 the album by "Laith Al-Deen", a german singer, has been produced by Schallbau, beneath other soundttack productions for movies like "Und das ist erst der Anfang...", "Be.Angeled" and "Mondscheintarif" (in German cinemas during 2001).

Promo advert 'Der Musikmarkt' issue 11 / 8/Mar/2004
Since 2001, while the Official Schallbau Page was launched, Schallbau produced "Laith Al-Deen's" 2nd (reached Gold) and 3rd album (reached Gold and #1 on German Charts) and some tracks for "Yvonne Catterfeld" and "Tom Albrecht".


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Last Update: 2005/11/05 19:24:23
Stefan Sell (tes@tursa.franken.de)