The most autistic song: Künstliche Welten – Wolfsheim

As described on my website and in numerous articles, I explained that I have Asperger Syndrome, a lifelong condition which is considered a form of autism. Hence I find it interesting to find songs with an autistic character, as they are easy to relate to for me. There are several of those, such as "Charlotte Sometimes" to name one. "Charlotte sometimes crying for herself, Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself" and "Sometimes I dream while all the other people dance" have a very autistic undertone: the autist sitting alone in the corner, thoughts far away in a dream world. "Dear Prudence" both in the versions of the Beatles and of Siouxsie & The Banshees is another good example, the song being an invitation to come out of reclusion and join the playing. None of those songs have been written specifically about autism though. I am unsure if "Künstliche Welten" by German synthpop/wave act Wolfsheim was written about autism, but for sure it is the most autistic song I ever heard, a song to which I can relate to very large extent. A very dreamy and soothing song also.

The song is one of the few tracks the band sung in their native German language, so for those who don’t understand German it may be hard to decipher. An English translation exists but it is nowhere as poetic as the original version written and performed in German.

The video of the song shows a young Polish child (the scenes where it is filmed are definitely Polish, that can be concluded from the opening seconds of the promo video where the mother of the child tells him in Polish not to watch as much TV) who escapes in a dreamworld and hops on a truck driving through town. The child waves to people and poeple wave back to him. He beholds a wedding ceremony and other pretty sights. His dream world is clearly his place where he hides from the outside world, and where everything is just the way he wants it. The video in itself has an autistic undertone somehow, but then we’re not even talking about the lyrics. I will below recite the lyrics and translate them, note that they are property of the band. The translation is done by myself and as close to the original as possible, so it is nothing like the recorded English version where a less literal translation was used.

"Ich komm´ zu dir
halt´ deine Hand
wir gehen gemeinsam durch dies wunderbare Land
das ich für dich erfand
mit mathematischem Verstand

Ref.: ein Wunder hier
ein Traum gleich dort
grad´ noch hier und doch schon fort
ich zeige dir mein Angesicht
doch du siehst mich nicht

Ich weiß genau was dir gefällt
ich schaff dir eine neue Zauberwelt
in der kein Regen fällt
in der nur deine Wahrheit zählt

Ich zeig dir Berge
zeig dir Seen
hier brauchst du alles nur mit meinen Augen sehen
und nicht zu verstehen
keine Angst du kannst ruhig mit mir gehen

In ein großes All
ganz für dich allein
hier kannst du endlich mal du selber sein
im Neon-sonnenschein
fang ich dir deine Wünsche ein"

The translation:

"I come to you, and hold your hand

Together we go through this wunderful land

that I created for you with mathematical precision

(chorus) A wonder here, a dream already there

Just here and yet already

I show to you my face, but you don’t see me

I remember well what you like

I create for you a new magical world

where no rain falls, and where only YOUR truth matters

I create mountains and lakes, here you can see everything through my eyes

without the need to understand

Have no fear, you can calmly come with me

In a huge "all" only for yourself alone

Here you can finally be your true self

In a neon sunshine, I will make your wishes come true"

Especially the line "In ein grosses All ganz für dich allein, hier kannst du endlich mal du selber sein" moves me whenever I hear it. This song will definitely speak to many people in the autism spectrum, but the soothing voice of Peter Heppner and the dreamy sounds and lyrics make this song very uplifting, as a dream away to a place where life is painless. This song was a favourite of the band themselves and I too would rate it on par with the song which the band is most famous for, the eerie and bleak "The sparrows and the nightingales", a song I will definitely cover in another article as this is (despite the bleakness of that track) a true gem as well.

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About thepathslesstravelled

An Aspie who has had a lifelong fascination with travelling, discovering new cultures and discovering new ways of life, and with a strange attraction to the less known and often forgotten places in the world. And very obsessed with sports and music.
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5 Responses to The most autistic song: Künstliche Welten – Wolfsheim

  1. Nikita says:

    I have not been tested for Autism, but I do have Organic Brain Syndrome and did a self test online which places me in the Autistic/Asperger spectrum, and I find it very funny that the songs you listed are the ones that have been a constant soundtrack in my life. My childhood nickname was and still is Charlotte Sometimes. I played that song over and over, Dear Prudence and Anything by wolfsheim, but especially kunstliche welten has always been in rotation. I latched onto it as soon as I heard it. It spoke to that part of me that knows that I am not like most people, and I’ve always taken great comfort from Peter’s voice. I’m glad you’ve found him.

    • Charlotte Sometimes is amazing. “Sometimes I’m dreaming while all the other people dance…”. So beautiful. And I’m one of those who loves goth music but thinks the Cure is a bit overrated, after Disintegration they more or less were going more and more away from the haunting songs they had before. But Charlotte Sometimes is amazing, maybe their very best song they ever did. Which says a lot as in those early days they were great (A Forest, Fascination Street, The Hanging Gardens, and a guilty pleasure: Lovecats!)

      As for Wolfsheim: if they would ever reunite I’m happy to fly to Germany to see them live, but given the way in which they went separate ways I doubt it will ever happen. Peter Heppner has a great voice. They had many superb songs, but Kuenstliche Welten and The Sparrows and the Nightingales were standing out. And saying I discovered this great band in a Dublin goth pub when the DJ played “Find you’re gone”. I immediately wanted to hear the name of the band when I first heard Peter Heppner’s vocals. Fantastic singer, although I may be amongst the few who actually likes him even more when he sings in German. Granted, me speaking German fluently helps, but still, … Kuenstliche Welten could have been a success in a lot of countries if they opted for English, but it just sounds so right they sung it in German. The first words in the video are actually in Polish I believe, although I am unsure what exactly is said (those words are in the video only)

      • Piotr says:

        The first words are: “Don’t watch too much TV, because you’ll ruin your eyes.” 😉 They’re definitely in Polish, as the last words are (“Who’s here?! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Go to bed.”). At least parts of the video were shot in Warsaw, Poland.

        I was born when Poland was still communist country (it was about five years before bastards finally fell, at least “on paper”). I remember when all I had related to “better life” were dreams. Just like that kid. My family was rather poor (our “house” was made of fiberboard for instance), but we had much more problems than lack of money. But I was dreaming, all the time, imagining other places and life. Even “funnier”, my parents tried to escape to Germany with me when I was about 3 years old, but we were not let in and imprisoned by Swedes for about 2 or 3 days. The kid from video tried to escape “on board” of this Star (Polish truck produced in Starachowice), at least in his dreams.

        Long story short, the song is great, reminds me of my childhood; God bless the authors and you! 🙂

  2. Just thought I’d drop a reply here, several years after you posted this as it’s a great post that resonates with me exactly. I was listening to this very song and googling a lyric to see if I heard it right. (I’m learning German with Duolingo and regularly listen to Wolfsheim anyway, so it’s a good way to test my understanding). I’m almost certainly an Aspie, but I have never been formally diagnosed as it has mainly manifested itself positively through almost overwhelming creative output and complete fascination with numbers and processes (which is why I’m a data analyst, ha!)

    I am in total agreement, it’s a beautiful beautiful song, and depicts a vision of how my mind works too.. a somewhat chaotic collision of imagination and slightly broken emotion, rearranged and held together with a framework of calculated order… all sung by probably the most perfect voice I could imagine.

    All the best.

    S

    • Very interesting comment about the chaotic collision of imagination and slightly broken emotion, etc. You chose very powerful words to describe that feeling, although I’d be interested to find out how you got to this conclusion.
      Wolfsheim have some more great songs in German, such as “Übers Jahr” and “Kein Weg zurück”. You may also check Wir Sind Helden, totally different style of music but still pleasant to listen to, and their lyrics are entirely in German. Purely for linguistic exercise you could also pick more German bands singing in their own language, such as Rammstein who are very creative with wordplays and vocabulary, although somehow I find Rammstein a bit repetitive and just not my cup of tea for more than a handful of songs. Best of luck with your German studies and discovery of more Wolfsheim goodness!

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