This entry will be my first on a collectable music item, and it’ll be on an Asp collectable.
Now, what would be more fitting then to write about the first ASP collectable there was? Yes I’m talking about the re-release of the first album “Hast Du Mich Vermisst?”, which is the first of a (in 2000 unknown) number of albums of a cycle, called “Der schwarze Schmetterling”. But why did ASP decide to do a re-release in 2004? What’s so special about the box? What’s the content and is it worth buying?
- A little on why there was a re-release
- The Special Edition
- The content (extras)
- The album and track listing
- The total track list
- Master data in short form
- Value of this art-piece
- Little anecdote and pricing of my copy
As can be read on their webpage, ASP was found in 1999, and in that year they also recorded their first demo, which already included the songs “Schwarzer Schmetterling”, “Sing Child” and “Teach Me War” (as stated by Musiksammler). The title for their first album was actually a promotion idea – a sticker, having that slogan, together with the bands name ASP, as well as a black butterfly and their website (at that time: http://www.schwarzer-schmetterling.de).
With the help of that webpage, ASP finally got signed at a music label (“Trisol Music Group GmbH”), and in 2000 they produced their debut album “Hast Du Mich Vermisst?”, a 8-track album, plus “Blinded” as hidden track. Some other albums followed (all standard edition CDs), but then, in 2004 the insolvency of the distribution partner “EFA Medien GmbH” (TAZ article on that (in German)) also made the albums of ASP disappear in the bankruptcy assets, i.e. all albums where taken out of the stores and not available anymore to the general public.
This is why in 2004, ASP had the album re-released, and as specialty they also released their first special edition, which in my eyes marks an era of special editions, where each next edition exceeds the one that was released before.
As for this edition, it was available in a little golden/nickel-colored cardboard box. Nothing special, just one little thicker than paper, single layered piece of cardboard, that was cut in such way, that it could be folded into a little box out of one piece (i.e. the lit is connected with the bottom). It is just folded, there’s no glue used, etc. The lid has an embossed printing of a butterfly, which is really nice, as it consists of many fine lines, thus something really special.
It is hand-numbered on the inside of the lid, but doesn’t bare any information on the limitation, or any kind of signature that proves the number. But it was communicated (by ASP, I guess), that this box is world wide limited to 999 copies. I tried to get an information from official side, but that wasn’t possible. Anyhow, fans that bought the album are sure that it had to be 999.
Beside the album, this box includes:
- A postcard showing the “Papiliogramm”
- A (really) close-up photograph postcard of Asp, which is hand-signed by him.
- One random button (of a collection of twelve new buttons).
- A sticker of the black butterfly.
- A poster of a sheet of music in patina look, having the notes of the song “Und wir tanzten” on it.
Quite some content for a first special edition, isn’t it? Well, as mentioned before, this was just the beginning – as you’ll see in following entries, Asp was raising the bar with every following special edition release.
One last thing on the postcard motive, the “Papiliogramm”. If you’ll search for that expression you might, as well as I, just get one hit with google. So I tried to contact and ask the band about it, but couldn’t get any answer on that. Anyhow, one of the fans had a real great suggestion on this “Papiliogramm”: It was the symbol that was used for the CD printing of the original release. And rumor has it that the name “Papiliogramm” was originally used by the band ASP in the exact same context (i.e. while describing this product on their web-shop).
Now of course the box also includes the album, not packed in a jewel case (as all the others used to be) but in a two-fold (i.e. three sided) digipak, with a paper flap to hold the 16-paged booklet. The booklets main colors are red on black, containing all the song lyrics of the 11 songs, together with stylized photos of lead singer Asp in blurry look.
All in all a harmonious constellation, that fits to the style of the digipak, as well as the included extras mentioned above. The only pages that break ranks are the middle pages (pages 8 and 9) – they contain the close up photograph of Asp that is also printed on the photo postcard.
I mentioned 11 tracks, while above I was talking about 9. For this re-release ASP allowed themselves to spice up the track list a little. For the first album this means that there are two new, previously unreleased tracks.
- In meiner Vorstellung
- Track no. 1 is an Introduction, called “In Meiner Vorstellung”. This song’s lyrics is included on one of the sides of the digipack (the one containing the booklet), in English (the song is actually in German). I really like this Intro – it’s more a spoken text than a song, with some background music – the last line is “Hast Du mich vermisst?”, which as such was never mentioned as a song line in this album (the second one’s the one that mentions it at the end of the song “Die kleine Ballade vom Schwarzen Schmetterling”) – it then has a perfect musical bridge to the second song, “Schwarzer Schmetterling”, as it uses some of the elements that are used in that song (breathing sounds, the famous Intro to that song). It creates an unbelievable dark and morbid introduction to the rest of the songs. As for then the track list is identical to the original release, except for the last one.
- Schwarzer Schmetterling
- There’s the (in my oppinion) most important track Schwarzer Schmetterling, which as mentioned has a lot of electronic elements. It still is somewhat a more slower song, that has a rather melancholic monotony in it’s verses. Still it is the song that starts the “Butterfly cycle”, and introduces the Black Butterfly as a being that helps a despaired soul on it’s way:
Wenn Du schreist, weil Du weißt was es heißt, wenn die Hoffnung nicht mehr als ein leeres Wort ist Wenn Du gehst und Du flehst, dass Dich jemand erreicht, weil Du immer noch ganz allein bist Wenn die Schatten wie immer nicht loslassen, dann stehe ich engelsgleich hinter Dir Und ich halt meine Hand über Dich, wenn der Druck zu groß wird und Du alles verlierst Und ich breite die Arme für Dich aus, wenn Du weder Wärme noch Liebe mehr spürst Und ich bin da wenn Du ganz entblößt, in der Sonne die Seele brennt, dennoch erfrierst
- Where do the Gods go
- The following song, “Where do the Gods go”, is the first English song on this album. Again it’s about the Black Butterfly, even though you might not get it at first. We are allowed to have a look inside the thoughts of the protagonist of the Butterfly cycle, his pain while asking himself the question “Where do the Gods go, when we’re godless, tell me where do they go?”.
The music is faster than the first song, it’s totally danceable (in my oppinion the first one’s danceable as well, but as I read, not everybody thinks so 😉 ).
- “Dancing”, the fourth song, is again a little slower. Here we might get an idea of why the protagonist sympathizes and socializes with the “Black Butterfly”, as he seems to be all alone and disconnected with the rest of the world.
- Küss mich
- Küss mich is a song that tells us the story of a person that totally devotes himself to another one. It’s therefore again a rather slow song, that is more spoken than sung, and carries with it the longing for someone, or something.
- Sing Child
- “Sing child” is again a more obvious song on the Butterfly cycle. You could see it as the answer to “Kiss me” – the other sides luring, though you could find a warning “There can only be the light or me, So make up your decision”. It’s a rather fast song with a lot of rhythm, and a speedy refrain.
- Teach me war
- “Teach me war” is, though having an English title, a German song, at least for the verses. The refrain is English. It’s again quite slow.
- Imbecile Anthem
- “Imbecile Anthem” – quite a difficult song. It’s great, I love the melody, and the refrain is great as well. As for the song before also this one strongly benefits form the background choir. The more obvious meaning of this song could be described as a sad love song. Especially these lines proof this theory: “I didn’t fall in love, it was love that fell on me” – but I somehow can’t stop feeling that there’s much more to that song – something I can’t figure out (yet).
- Und wir tanzten (Ungeschickte Liebesbriefe)
- Now, “Und wir tanzten” is definitely a sad love song. And a really great one. While it starts really slowly and sadly, it builds up tension over the verse that is released in the refrain, that is not sung, but growled. It’s really highly emotional, and one of the favorite songs.
- “Blinded” ends the album. And it’s a phenomenal ending, a mixture of elements of all the other songs are combined in this last song, perfecting them to one last and final peace of art (fortunately just for this album).
- Where do the Gods go
- The last song is again added to the original track list – it’s a remix of the third (second on the original list) song, “Where do the Gods go?”, the so called “Club Edition”.
Now when it comes to classifying the songs (I’m usually bad at this), I’d say that this album could be categorized as a mixture of dark wave and gothic. There’s a lot of electronic elements in the songs (best example for more electronic songs is the second one, “Schwarzer Schmetterling”), mixed with gothic rock elements. Some songs are fast and powerful, and ideal for dancing, such as “Where Do the Gods Go”, “Dancing”, or “Sing Child”. Others, like “Küss mich” are slower and more melodic. A special song on this album is “Und wir tanzten”, that is as well slowly and sad, as well as powerful and angry – all in all totally emotional and in my opinion the most dynamic song on this album.
Unbelievable that ASP where thinking of maybe not adding it to the album at all, as it didn’t quite fit the style of the other songs! (see their Webpage for this little anecdote (German)). Today it’s one of the most requested songs by ASP!
All these songs are perfected with the (formally last) song “Blinded”, which includes motives of all that just heard songs and waves them into something new with the character of a great ending.
Though it’s a nice new remix that is added to the end of this album, it somehow nearly disturbs this album with its perfect start and end, that we already had with “Blinded”. But I guess you should really just take this song as what it is: An additional bonus song, that has nothing to do with the album as such.
Anyhow, Asp was already more than critical with the track list himself, as e.g. stated here:
Die Hast du mich vermisst klang (…) noch viel mehr wie eine Aneinanderreihung von Einzelstücken, die zwar durch ein Thema miteinander verbunden waren, aber das übergreifende musikalische Konzept war einfach nicht wirklich da.
Hast du mich vermisst sounded more like a sequence of individual songs. They where linked by a topic, but there wasn’t really an overall musical concept on the album.
Of course, when you compare this album to the work that the band did afterwards, you’ll understand what Asp is talking about. What makes me wonder a little is the fact, that though Asp thinks the arangement is rather average, they didn’t put that much effort in changing it for this special edition (at least it seems so to me – they’ve done some hard work on some later releases, which is why I wonder). Still, for a debut album, the track list is perfect, the arrangement of the songs is not great but far from being average, and all in all, we’re getting presented a nice piece of art.
- Intro – In meiner Vorstellung (04’22)
- Schwarzer Schmetterling (04’47)
- Where Do the Gods Go (03’44)
- Dancing (05’42)
- Küss Mich (05’08)
- Sing Child (03’56)
- Teach Me War (03’42)
- Imbecile Anthem (03’40)
- Und Wir Tanzten (Ungeschickte Liebesbriefe) (05’02)
- Blinded (07’22)
- Where Do The Gods Go (Re-unleashed Club Edit) (04’38)
Original Pricing: 22€ (or 60€ as bundle with two other albums)
Package: Digipak in Box
Edition: Limited, numbered, re-released
Year: 2004 (original release: 2000)
Label: Trisol Music Group
Produced in: Germany
Style: Dark Wave/Gothic
EAN-Nr.: Not available (just sold through their own online store)
Catalog-Nr.: TRI 070 CD
Now when it comes to the value of something, there are of course many different factors that needed to be taken into consideration. In this case there is of course the fact that it is a limited version, and 999 copies is a really small number of copies. Now there’s the fact that the copies are hand-numbered, which of course gives it a even more special value (though it is just numbered, not signed or anything). The extras aren’t that extraordinary that they’ll add any special value to the edition (though they are really special: except for the buttons non of the extras where available any other way). As it was only sold through the website of ASP, I’d say that it wasn’t really available to the general audience – only to those, that also knew the web page (and I guess, in 2004 ASP wasn’t as famous as they are now). And of course it is sold out now-a-days – it’s neither available at the Asp store, nor did I find it on any reseller (which not only includes the well known web stores, but also booths at concerts and festivals, etc.). Yes, and then there’s the fact that this masterpiece is now 5 years old, in fact the oldest collectible version of ASP and it represents the first piece of the band – a re-release of the 10 years old Hast Du mich vermisst
When you take all these facts into consideration, you wouldn’t wonder about the fact, that this limited edition is to many fans worth more than a hundred Euros. Yes, I’ve found this album at Amazons marketplace for 100€, for a mint condition, it was there for quite some weeks, but finally got sold. I watched two other ones being sold far over the price of 100€ at eBay. So I’d say that anything below that 100€-mark for mint or very good condition are real bargains. Now it seems like I’ve seen this album a lot – but actually I haven’t. I was monitoring my sources for quite some time now. So the bad news really is, that you’d probably have to wait a long time, if you want to get one your price…
(Of course I guess that there are some exceptions, e.g. the number 001, the number 999, the number 666, etc. that will score a even higher value at auctions).
The other question of course is, whether it is worth it’s value or not. I’m not quite sure, how to answer this question – on the one hand, I’d argue with the above mentioned arguments. They are all valid, and if you are a fan and/or a collector of special editions, this album has a certain value, that you might be willing to pay. On the other hand, though it is a nice edition, the only thing that is special or exclusive, are the above mentioned extras: two postcards, the poster and the boxing – separately sold, they would have a value of (all together) approx. 10€. Let them be special and limited, one would be willing to pay a little more, but I guess nothing that exceeds 20€ by much. The buttons where also sold separately in bags of six or eight, or something.
And the album, though re-arranged, is as such not special, as it is as well available separately, for approx. 20€. The re-release also included the normal version, that was (later?) spiced up as well. So, in all, we’d be ending up at 40€ – the album could not be told apart from the normal edition, only the boxing makes it special… limited to 999 copies.
I leave it up to you, to judge the value – but I’d say, that if you aren’t a collector, and if you’re solely interested in having the music presented in a nice way, you’d probably be a bit disappointed if you’d pay prices higher than 100€. I’d suggest, that a price at approx. 60€-80€ is a fair price. On the other side, ASP is a band that has a growing fan community and that has more and more presence and manages to even rock people outside the gothic scene. As such also the worth of the albums are rising. I’d say, that if you ever payed such high price, you’d most definitely get it back – and may even make a profit.
I myself was lucky enough to get one even below 80€ at eBay, it was quite a lucky shot. Of course there’s something up with the package, if you’d get it that cheap. The sticker was missing – as upward revaluation the seller offered to include four additional buttons to the one that was included in the box.
Actually I’m not a fan of items where something is missing – anyhow, since I didn’t want to pay a price that was over a hundred Euros (I won’t pay such a high price on just one album, no way!). I just tried out my luck, 80€ would have been my very final offer, but I was really lucky and entered the right price in the final 10 seconds (there where approx. 10 other bidders involved).
Anyhow, I am finally proud owner of my own (not complete but perfect) copy of this masterpiece – it bears the number 009, the CD and all included content is in mint (M) condition – just the box I’d say is a little better than Very Good (VG+), as it is a really sensitive box. Others may think that I’m overcritical here (I guess, that the boxing has just the condition that it was delivered in), but mint is the highest possible condition, and this just isn’t it.
Still all in all it’s a wonderful item and I am happy having it in my collection.