German writer Jürgen Ploog worked as an airline pilot for 33 years. Transience and crossing borders were integral to his existence and writings until his death at the age of 85 in 2020. Ploog’s early literary output gravitated naturally to the cut-up method that William Burroughs and Brion Gysin popularised in the 1960s. His early experiments at cut-ups were published in the satirical magazine Der Metzger and in the German Beat magazine Gasolin 23, which Ploog founded with Carl Weissner and Jörg Fauser in 1971. Since then the cut-up technique remained an essential component of Ploog’s prose, at first prominently present – for instance in his hardcore cut-up novels Cola-Hinterland (1969) and Die Fickmaschine (1970) – and later subdued and overlain by loose episodical structures. Pacific Boulevard (1977) and Nächte in Amnesien (1980) are examples of those later logbook-like works. The CD Being on the Beat was compiled by Moloko’s Ralf Friel and Herbst In Peking’s Rex Joswig and released in 2020 as a tribute to German cut-up master Jürgen Ploog.
Being on the Beat is a lovely and varied collection of 23 recordings by Ploog himself, friends and affiliated artists such as William Burroughs, Alfred 23 Harth, Tarwater, Herbst In Peking, The Same, Rex Joswig, Jan Herman/Carl Weissner and others. The accompanying 14-page booklet, like the CD sleeve designed by Robert Schalinski, contains interesting texts by Thomas Stemmer, Thomas Antonic, Alfred 23 Harth and Phil Shoenfelt, photos and collages by Jürgen Ploog. What a beautiful and fitting tribute to Ploog this release has turned into!