axel manrico heilhecker


Axel Manrico Heilhecker’s early musical experiences included learning from legendary trumpet player Don Cherry and improvising music with fine German Kraut scene around “Can“ and “Kraan“ early on in their careers. His first official releases included the 1977 debut of his own “Food Band“ (on the UK’s Pye label) and an album with Richard Schneider, which also featured the playing of Jaki Leibezeit.
In the 80's, Axel became an integral part of the German rock scene as a live session player and composer. Working with Wolf Maahn, Klaus Lage, Westernhagen, and Herbert Gronemeyer, Axel’s playing is heard on over 2.5 million records sold during those years. This gave Axel prominence within his German environment and acclaim on an international scale.
In the early 90’s, Axel started self-producing with two albums, Heilhecker and Culture Cross, both released on EMI. During this decade, Axel also produced the first German Surround Sound album for jazz and folk violin player Thomas Kagermann, worked with the Unknown Cases, produced the work of Indian sitar player T.N. Nagar, and released an album with Gambian Djembe-player Samson Gassama.
In 1995, Axel started the avant garde folk band Phonoroid with American singer, poet, and filmmaker Vanessa Vassar. Phonoroid released three albums produced by Axel for Intuition/Schott as well as two music videos directed by Vanessa and featured on MTV. Axel produced the soundtracks for Vanessa's award-winning documentary film "Cinderellas of Santa Fe" and for the much beloved "American Waitress" documentary film. Both films were featured on Sundance Channel and Documentary Channel.
From 1996 until its demise in 2008, Axel was a member of the original Harald Schmidt Show band with Mel Collins (King Crimson, Camel, Dire Straits), Rosko Gee (Traffic, Go, Can) and Helmut Zerlett. With this band, Axel shared stages with the likes of Nina Hagen, Brian Ferry, Meatloaf, Grace Jones, and Eric Burdon.
At the same time Axel founded Sunya Beat, a band that features Ashra drummer Harald Grosskopf and eletronic engineer Steve Baltes. Since 1996, Sunya Beat has released three albums, part of it on Axel’s own label, Phonokultur.
He also designed sound illustrations for German light artist Mischa Kuball and collaborated with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, as well as with Stefan Schneider of To Rococco Rot.

Axel also keeps busy with Fishmoon, a solo project playground for electronic and “spacesound” guitar-instrumental music. Additionally he writes a column for the guitar magazine, Grand Guitars.
2011, one of his video productions, “Riley's Game", was nominated for the L.A. shortfilm festival awards. Same year he was on tour with singer Chris Norman through Europe, Russia and Asia. Lately he's been touring with Harald Grosskopf featuring “Synthesist“ in USA, Southamerika and Europe.
On his label “Phonokultur Records“ he released in 2015 the album “Blues Turn Red“, a reminescense of 60s/70s bluesrock.
2018 he released a instrumental Prog/Ambient exclusively Vinyl album “Lifeloops“, featuring Mel Collins (King Crimson) and Harald Grosskopf.

Select Discography
Axel Manrico Heilhecker- Strange Sex (EMI 1991)
Axel Manrico Heilhecker- Culture Cross (EMI 1993)
Phonoroid - Two Many Frames (Intuition 1996)
Sunya Beat - EFA 1998
Sunya Beat - Delhi Slide (Think Progressive 1999)
Phonoroid - Two Many Frames (Intuition 1999)
Gassama / Heilhecker - Wandyah (Think Progressive 1999)
Fishmoon - S/T (Think Progressive 2000)
T.N. Nagar - Raga Moods (Think Progressive 2000)
Baltes, Grosskopf, Heilhecker (Manikin Records 2001)
Phonoroid - Cravin' Astonishment (Intuition 2004)
Grosskopf, Baltes, Heilhecker - The Jelena Gora Sessions (Ricochet 2005)
Sunya Beat - Comin' Soon (Phonokultur 2006)
Fishmoon - Two Moon Music (Phonokultur 2007)
Fishmoon - Special Edition - Music by Axel Manrico Heilhecker (Phonokultur / Viana 2008) Riley's Game - Video (Ricochet 2010)
Blues Turn Red - Same (Phonokultur Records 2015)
Axel Manrico Heilhecker - Lifeloops (Phonokultur Records 2018)