Tanz in den Himmel - German Post-Punk and New Wave Vol. 4

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01. Die Haut - Der karibische Western (1982)
Twangy and moody urban post-punk blues with vocals provided by Lydia Lunch. Die Haut were one of the longest running German post-punk bands, remaining active well into the nineties and recording instrumentals as well as songs with guest vocalist like Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Kid Congo Powers, Anita Lane, Lydia Lunch, Blixa Bargeld and Nick Cave. Drummer Thomas Wydler is also a member of the Bad Seeds since the mid eighties.

02. Klopferbande - Appell (1981)
Basically the one-man project of one Peter Ortmann, who - with the help of various on-off collaborators - released a string of cassettes and one vinyl full-length, ... und doch so bezaubernd. Funnily enough,
with his mullet, moustache and leather jacket the guy looked like your typical eighties metalhead. The music is not metal at all though, rather a sort of dark wave with weird synth noises and the occasional touch of punkiness. I've only heard the vinyl album, most of which is actually a bit corny. This track is the gem under a ton of cheese though.

03. Belfegore - Heilige Kriege (1983)
Tribal, metallic post-punk in the vain of early Killing Joke. Originality wasn't this three-piece's forte and some of their material is almost embarrassingly generic. This song gets by on sheer, driving energy alone though - and on being so, well, fiercely Teutonic. Nerd fact: the b-side of Belefegore's 12" All That I Want features what must be the only collaboration between legendary producer Conny Plank and dance music genius Francois Kervorkian.

04. Profil - Berühren (1981)
The song-oriented strain of German new wave in a nutshell: synth-led, minimalist and chugging, with catchy, but detached vocals and lyrics that ironically reference pop clichés. There's hardly any info on this amazing band out there, but Mutant Sounds has what is more or less their complete discography.

05. 1. Futurologischer Kongress - Rote Autos (1982)
One of my favourites on here: bouncy, percussive and super-catchy art pop, propelled by an elastic bassline. Why this witty, Talking Heads- and Human League-influenced collective from Berlin isn't more widely revered is totally beyond me.

06. Emak - Tanz in den Himmel (1982)
Not really connected to the post-punk underground, this Kraftwerk worshipping duo from Cologne (Emak stands for Elektronische Musik aus Köln) got lumped in with the synth-wave bands of the day by virtue of their minimalist sound. But their music is actually a lot more wistful, romantic and, yes, conventionally beautiful than anything that could have come out of the new wave scene. The guys from Mutant Sounds (who else?) posted the first Emak LP.

07. Gorilla Aktiv - Kopf und Bauch
Granted, Gorilla Aktiv's tracks sound amazingly full-bodied for a DIY project. But most of them are still just bleepy, charmingly bonkers period pieces. Don't believe the geeky collector types who try to tell you otherwise - they will declare any old crap a work of genius if it's sufficiently rare and obscure! That said, Kopf und Bauch's choppy, robotic groove and proto-electro synth riffs still sound quite amazing. I wonder whether they were aware of what was going on in New York at the same time? After all, Planet Rock was released a year before Kopf und Bauch was made. By the way, ex-Gorilla Aktiv member Tommi Eckart is now one half of 2raumwhohnung (the other half being former Neonbabies singer Inga Humpe), whose vapid designer-electro pop is hugely successful in Germany. I guess the man has bills to pay...

08. Starter - Part Of You (1981)
A great, short-lived synth punk trio involving Grauzone's sax player Claudine Chirac. Guess where you can find their sole album?

09. Deutscher Kaiser - Danse (1982)
Yet another strange career trajectory for a former new wave avantgardist: obviously Deutscher Kaiser member Bernd Kolb is now a bigshot in the German IT-business. Influenced by Fad Gadget and early Depeche Mode, the trio released two singles on their own label Mode (sic!), Halli-Galli Tanzmusik (which you can find here) and Tempo! Tempo!

10. Richy Müller & Yello - Jetzt und alles (1981)
This short and brooding piece from the soundtrack of the German film Jetzt und alles, directed by Yello vocalist Dieter Meier, is a bit of a curiousity. Leading actor Richy Müller, who provides the sung-spoken vocals here, went on to become a rather prolific actor and is probably best known outside Germany for his part in Die innere Sicherheit (The State I Am In). Interestingly, half the tracks on the soundtrack album are by Anthony Moore, formerly of Slapp Happy and Henry Cow.

11. Schön - Pure Design (1981)
The b-side of another ZickZack Records release, the EP Tanz doch! I couldn't find any information on the group and it seems that they didn't release anything else. I've yet to find a rip of the complete EP, but this shimmering, sparkling and light-footed track is one of the finest examples of German post-punk's mutant disco strain.

12. 4d - Fauve Moderne (flexi version) (1982)
Sophisticated, cosmopolitan and decidedly adult sounding, with French lyrics, sonorous vocals and a restrained, elegant groove, Fauve Moderne sounds a bit like a chance meeting between late-era Roxy Music and prime-era Serge Gainsbourg. More info on the band and their Sex Appeal/Fauve Moderne 10" (plus two bonus tracks) courtesy of user oldskool over here.


Populäre Mechanik - Scharfer Schnitt/Muster

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Absolutely no info out there on this privately pressed 7" from 1981 that I nicked from Soulseek. What you get are two excellent tracks of proto-electronica, one in a sort of clunky, minimalist post-new wave stylee with distorted vocals delivering nonsensical lyrics (Scharfer Schnitt) and one in a sort of clunky, minimalist electro-dub stylee (Muster). Also, dig that very cool cover artwork.


Re-upped: Routes From The Jungle

Hardcore, you know da score! Fulfilling a request here for this awesome collection of proto-jungle and jungle classics, compiled by dancefloor theory supremo Kodwo Eshun. Head over to Discogs for the tracklist and to the original post for more info.

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Weltklang - Wir spar'n Energie/Keine Zeit

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Judging from the number of downloads, the German post-punkiness goes down well with you people. So here's some more slightly off-beat minimal synthery. The only information out there on this duo is that they were from Neuss (wherever that is exactly) and that they're not the same Weltklang who produced the more famous (in relatively speaking) 7" VEB Heimat featured on the DJ Hell curated New Deutsch compilation. None of the online discogs I consulted list any other releases, so it seems they only released this little gem to little attention and then split up again. Though by no means essential recordings, those two bouncy electro-pop tunes are really just flawless.

"Neuss actually is near Düsseldorf, the home of many important acts like Male, Mittagspause - later Fehlfarben - a bunch of punky bands and of course Der Plan," sayeth Stiev A. in the comments. Thanks for the info, dude (or dudette)!


Rumi - Hell Me Tight

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Taking a little break from the Deutsche Welle posts for some of the freshest and most exciting underground hiphop I've come across in quite some time. Rumi is a Japanese MC and I actually came across her when I stumbled upon one of her promos on youtube. Released on the independent label Sanagi, Rumi's albums are virtually unavailable outside of Japan, which is a shame because she should be really HUGE!

I've seen Rumi's music being called goth rap somewhere on the net, and in a way it's not too far off the mark. That is, if by "goth" you mean a general mood of doom, claustrophobia and tension. Because Rumi's music is pretty dark, with sinister samples, distorted electronic sounds, nauseating basslines and hard-hitting drums. But like the best metal, hardcore or noiserock, like Public Enemy, early Tricky or a lot of 'ardkore and oldskool jungle, it is also carthatic and energizing. I'm not familiar with any of the producers on Hell Me Tight with the exception of Asa and DJ Baku, but they've all done a superb job in providing Rumi with impressive, bass-heavy soundscapes closer to The Bug (with hiphop replacing the dancehall influence), New Kingdom (anybody remember them?) or the most leftfield of Def Jux productions than the standard boom-bap beats of the DJ Premier/Pete Rock worshipping backpacker crowd. And even though I have to admit that my eurocentric Western ears needed some time to get fully used to the peculiar pitch and the cadences of the Japanese language, one thing was obvious upon first listen: this young lady can really spit. In fact, it's pretty impressive how effortlessly she rides even the sickest, borderline-dysfunctional beats.

Hell Me Tight is Rumi's debut album from 2004. This year she released a follow-up, Hell Me Why??, that I haven't heard yet. But if the preview tracks on her myspace site are anything to go by, it should be every bit as great as Hell Me Tight.

Here are the promos for Sanagi (from Hell Me Tight) and Hell Me Why??, the title song of Rumi's new album:


Les Vampyrettes - Biomutanten/Menetekel

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Now what the hell is that? Gloomy dubstep avant la lettre? Post-industrialist horror-core? Sinister proto-idm? In 1981, former Can-bassist Holger Czukay and producer/engineer Conny Plank teamed up to record this two-track 12inch of uncategorizable, doomy post-punk electronica. Squelching, strangely organic sounding noises that suggest being stalked by some bizarre crossbreed of Robocop and the Swamp Thing and an almost ridiculously distorted voice, all held together by this huge, nay, ENORMOUS bassline. Believe me, nothing else quite sounds like this. Huge thanks to the now defunct Post-Punk Junk for providing the original upload of this truly awesome piece of vinyl.

Stahlnetz - Wir sind glücklich

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Why this synth and drums duo didn't make much of an impact is anybody's guess. With unabashedly catchy melodies, clever arrangements, witty lyrics plus a dose of quirky artiness you should think that they would have appealed both to the underground crowd and the masses. Instead they didn't find success with either audience: although the single Vor all den Jahren was a minor hit in 1982, their album bombed and Stahlnetz disbanded. Today, Wir sind glücklich is one of the rarest and most sought after German new wave records. (Which is actually pretty strange, considering that it was released on the major label Arista, you'd think there must be quite a few copies floating around.) Anyway, what you get here is beautiful, clean-sounding, metronomic synth-pop that blends the Kraftwerkian influence that goes with the genre (those post-Romantic triads!) with a sort of stripped-down, Teutonic take on Human League/Heaven 17-style pop and ironic references to German cabaret songs and Schlagermusik of the thirties and forties. Oh yeah, and Conny Plank produced.

NB: Ripped from vinyl @ 160 kbps. A few crackles, but overall it sounds quite good to me. I found it on Soulseek a few months ago, so big up the original ripper/uploader!


Im Namen des Volkes! - Yet More German Post-Punk and New Wave

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01. Matthias Schuster - Verlangen (1981)
More sinister, alienated synth-creepiness from the über-prolific Matthias Schuster. This one comes from his solo album Atemlos that was given the reissue treatment by NLW.

02. Mona Mur & Die Mieter - My Lie (1982)
Dark, expressionist proto-goth, somewhere between Malaria!, X-Mal Deutschland and early Siouxsie. Die Mieter were Neubauten members Alex Hacke, Marc Chung and F.M. Einheit plus one Gode B. Although the band broke up after their only EP, Einheit and Hacke continued performing and recording sporadically with singer Mona Mur until the mid eighties.

03. Kosmonautentraum - Kosmonautentraum Nr. 7 (1981)
Anchored by a big, stumblingly chugging bassline, this is one of the more accessible tracks by Andy XY's dada project and all the better for it. The other two tracks on the Liebesmüh'n 12" are practically unlistenable in their deliberate crudeness. This one's good though.

04. Thorax-Wach - Huckepack und zu Hunderten in den Tod (1980)
From the provincial northern town of Göttingen this duo unleashed their brand of electronic terror, abusing a microphone, two Korg synthesizers and a 2 track recorder. Like Geile Tiere or Sprung aus den Wolken, their best tracks tread a bizarre and disconcerting middleground between the merely wacky and the scarily demented.

05. Alexander von Borsig - Japanisch (1982)
Alexander Hacke with a track from his solo EP Hiroshima, released under the alias Alexander von Borsig. Hacke was somewhat of a post-punk Wunderkind, getting into music at age thirteen, joining Einstürzende Neubauten in 1980 when he was just fifteen years old and being quite prolific during the early eighties with a slew of bands and one-off projects. Hiroshima's title track can be found on the excellent Berlin-underground compilation Als die Partisanen kamen, posted on the WMFU blog.

06. Christiane F. - Süchtig (Health Dub) (1982)
Yet more Neubauten related stuff: here's the dub version of Christiane F.'s Wunderbar, with both Hacke and Einheit credited as producers, musicians and co-composers. If you liked the original (included here), this remix will quite probably be up your alley too.

07. Die Dominas - Die Wespendomina (1981)
This is probably the most peculiar intersection between Krautrock and Krautwave (and Kraut-techno, for that matter), involving Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Ralf Hütter, Ashra/Ashra Temple's Manuel Göttsching (who had produced the debut single of post-punk experimentalists Geile Tiere the year before) and somtime Ashra Temple collaborator Rosi Müller. (Read the whole story over here.)

The complete 10inch is available at
Mutant Sounds, but the track featured here also happens to be the basis for the techno classic Domina by Maurizio aka Moritz von Oswald - the same guy who joined Palais Schaumburg as a drummer on their third album and played on records by Holger Hiller, Propaganda and Billy MacKenzie.

08. Im Namen des Volkes - Raumkrank (1980)
Im Namen des Volkes was a short-lived solo project by Matthias Schuster, resulting in two 7" singles, Weißes Rauschen and Ich war da, leergebrannt (from which this track is taken), and the LP Volksmusik. The latter is slated for rerelease on NLW.

09. Deutsche Wertarbeit - Deutscher Wald (1981)
Equal parts post-Neu!/Harmonia electro-Kraut and synth-new wave, this duo's only LP was fittingly released on Sky Records (Roedelius, Conrad Schnitzler, the Cluster/Eno collaborations, Michael Rother).

10. Carmen - Schlaraffenland (1982)
Now here's a hit that never was. From what I've read it seems that Puppe aus Glas, the only album by Carmen, was delibaretely aimed at commercial success. I've yet to hear the whole record, but if Schlaraffenland is anything to go by, it's beyound me why it didn't happen. Super-catchy little girl-pop with a hefty dose of charming, Andreas Dorau-style faux-naïveté (Carmen used to be one of his background singers) wedded to TomTom Club-goes-Teutonic funkiness - what's not to like?

11. Wirtschaftswunder - Der Komissar (1980)
A fun cover version of the title theme of Der Komissar, a highly popular - and almost hilariously square - German crime series from the seventies. The dialogue snippets used are from the episode Tod eines Hippie-Mädchens. Let's just say that the script writers don't necessarily display a very sympathetic attitude towards youth culture...

12. Die Hornissen - Pale Blue Eyes (1982)
Zeittunnel, the b-side of this single, is actually far better known and features on quite a few compilations, not least of all the DJ Hell compiled New Deutsch. But this lo-fi cover of the the VU classic does have its charms. Mixed by ex-Can bassist Holger Czukay, by the way, it's another Krautrock/Neue Welle intersection.

13. Thorax-Wach - Dick sind sie und keuchen (1980)
Also taken from the EP Huckepack und zu Hunderten in den Tod. Don't listen to it alone in the dark.

14. Mona Mur & Die Mieter - Jeszcze Polska 1982)
Another one that gives me the creeps. It starts with quotes from the Polish national anthem, followed by dark and violent apocalyptic imagery in German. The lyrics are a bit hard to make out, even for a native speaker, and probably deliberately so. But combined with the martial drums and dissonant guitar they conjure up some nasty mental images of concentration camps, executed partisans and SS-men in shiny boots.


Jugend forscht - More Post-Punk and New Wave from Germany

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A follow-up to my first compilation of German post-punk. While that collection runs the full gamut from chart successes to fairly obscure tracks, from the catchy and song-oriented to the far-out and experimental, this one focuses mainly on the electronic and/or left-field side of things: minimal synth-pop by Bal Paré, Stahlnetz and Andi Arroganti, icy electro-goth by Matthias Schuster, leftfield new wave by Deo, Christiane F.'s 99 Records/Zé-style avant-disco (composed by her then-boyfriend, Einstürzende Neubauten guitarist Alex Hacke), Tommi Stumpf's lo-fi synth-punk and full-on avant noise from Geile Tiere, Sprung aus den Wolken and Strafe für Rebellion.

01. Bal Paré - Rien Ne Va Plus (Year ?)
Matthias Schusters (of Geisterfahrer fame) synth-pop band. Not quite as good as Geisterfahrer or most of Schuster's solo output, they're usually at their best (and most charming) when they're doing their francophile electro-chanson thing.

02. Andi Arroganti - Bleib bei mir (Year ?)
Probably the most prolific exponent of the DIY cassette underground, Andi churned out dozens of tapes as a solo artist and with his groups Altes Eisen and Duotronic Synterror. I think he's quite a bit overrated, but he does have his moments. This slightly goofy and totally catchy piece of minimalist synth-pop is definitely one of them. Taken from the 2003 vinyl release Mono - The Best of Andi Arroganti.

03. Geile Tiere - Liebst du mich? (1981)
Not much info out their on these noiseniks. It seems like they were essentially a duo, sometimes aided by a host of guests, and actually had a background in performance and media art. Obviously, they pursued a self-consciously amateurish non-musician angle, similiar to the Geniale Dilettanten movement around bands like Einstürzende Neubauten, Die Tödliche Doris and Strafe für Rebellion. Most of their stuff is only historically interesting, but this extremely creepy track with its punishing beat and pounding bassline still sounds pretty amazing.

04. Matthias Schuster - Ritual IV (1981)
More stunning electronic moodiness by our man from Hamburg. Taken from the Ritual 12" which is included as bonus tracks on NLW's reissue of the Atemlos LP.

05. Stahlnetz - Wir sind glücklich (1982)
Incredibly punchy and propulsive, Conny Plank-produced synth rock that has "hit potential" written all over it. Oddly, the keyboards & drums duo squandered their best song on the b-side of the single Vor all den Jahren, which was a minor hit.

06. Christiane F. - Wunderbar (1982)
Probably best known as Germany's most famous junkie, Christiane F. recorded this gem of a dubbed-out new wave disco track for the Californian punkrock/new wave-indie Poshboy. Unhappy with the results, she did a new version, re-titled Süchtig, for her EP Final Church. This track is the unedited 12" version of the original American release and although I have yet to hear the later version, I can't find anything wrong with this one.

07. Tommi Stumpf - Seltsames Glück (1985)
Another amazing Conny Plank production: tight and super-aggressive proto-EBM with punk attitude from the former frontman of KFC, one of the first German punkrock bands.

08. Geile Tiere - Whiskey Bar (1980)
Mucking about with Brecht/Weill's Alabama Song. Fun.

09. Deo - Exakt neutral (1981)
From their only LP Deo, released on Klaus Schulze's Innvative Communication imprint. Nothing on that album comes close to the sheer brilliance of this slice of new wave minimalism though.

10. Bal Paré - Raumpatrouille (1982)
A cover version of the title theme of a German b/w science fiction series from the late sixties, composed by lounge music and soundtrack collector favourite Peter Thomas. The lo-fi synth treatment only adds to the retro-futuristic charm of the original.

11. Strafe für Rebellion - Lo state presente politico e morale (1982)
I guess that a lot of those artsy German post-punk bands where more about the creative process as such than about making records as definitive artistic statements. So, detached from their original context, the records are for the most part quite unlistenable. Not so this amazing piece of, well what exactly? Post-industrial chamber music maybe? Anyway, definitely one of my favourites on this compilation.

12. Sprung aus den Wolken - A-i-akcam la (1982)
With Neubauten members Hacke, Einheit and N.U. Unruh amongst its ranks, it's no wonder that this lose Geniale Dilettanten collective's sound reminds a bit of early Einstürzende Neubauten, albeit without the steel percussion - and without Blixa's charisma obviously. Again, a lot of it is only historically interesting and not really worth a second listen, but some of the results are pretty compelling.


Die Krupps - Volle Kraft Voraus!

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The second Krupps-album is a far cry
from the experimental industrial sound of their great debut Stahlwerksynfonie. Instead, it's quite similiar to, if not sometimes downright derivative of, the stripped-down, aggressive electro-rock of DAF's earlier Alles Ist Gut, even down to the flirtations with militancy and totalitarism. (Song titles include Neue Helden (New Heroes), Zwei Herzen, ein Rhythmus (Two Hearts, One Rhythm) or the title track which translates as Full Speed Ahead! And then there's also the band's name itself, of course, chosen in the typical punk fashion of the times to wind up both the bourgeoisie and the hippie generation.) The relative lack in originality may be a bit disappointing considering the unique-sounding debut, but Volle Kraft Voraus! is still a fine album. Along with the classic DAF albums it also layed the blueprint for the whole EBM genre and Wahre Arbeit - Wahrer Lohn deservedly ranks as a true electro-new wave classic. With a producer like Conny Plank, who provided DAF's records with a clean, crisp punch, Volle Kraft Voraus! could probably have been even great.

Oh yeah, and avoid like the plague everything the revived Krupps released in the nineties and 00's, it's cheesy sub-Ministry EBM-metal of the worst kind.


Aus grauer Städte Mauern - German Post-Punk and New Wave 1979 - '83

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Lately I've been exploring the German post-punk underground, mainly via such great blogs as
Dorfdisco Braunsfeld, Not Rock On, Brotbeutel, Mutant Sounds and the now sadly deleted Mein Walkman ist kaputt, Planet New Wave and Hiboux Choux Genoux. It was was both fun and fascinating to hear so many songs I remember from my childhood for the first time in years, only this time within a whole new context, while also discovering artists who I'd never heard of before or had only read about.

Almost half the tracks come from the two disc compilation UntergruNDW - Die wahre deutsche Welle. It actually does a pretty decent job of providing an overview of the better known German post-punk and new wave acts. But it also includes a few pretty forgettable bandwagon jumpers and also-rans as well as tracks from albums and singles still available at the above mentioned blogs. Special thanks go to Rich from whose blog Mein Walkman ist kaputt comes the second largest chunk of tracks.

ere's the NDW chapter of Simon Reynold's post-punk book Rip It Up And Start Again that provides some basic context and information on important bands like Fehlfarben, Der Plan, Palais Schaumburg and X-Mal Deutschland.

01. Kosmonautentraum - Kosmonautentraum (1980)
As both a fanzine editor and musician, Ziggy XY was actually one of the more important figures of the Hamburg/Hannover scene. His main outlet was Kosmonautentraum, a project with a revolving cast of collaborators. Ranging in style from new wave and proto-goth to assaultive lo-fi industrial, most Kosmonautentraum records are frustratingly uneven and for every stroke of genius you'll get two stinkers. Case in point being the ultra-rare self-released debut EP Der Deutsche: this track is great, while I'm quite happy never having to listen to the other two again.

02. Der moderne Man - Heute (1980)
Taken from the first LP 80 Tage auf See. It's actually not that great, one of the reasons probably being that then-singer Ziggy XY's more experimental leanings started to be at odds with the new wave sound the rest of the group was aiming for. Still, I'm quite fond of this slight, yet lovely little instrumental which owes a good deal of its motorik quality to Neu! You can get the quite enjoyable second album Unmodern (recorded after Ziggy XY had quit) over here.

03. Rheingold - Fluß (1980)
Being the first German new wave/Neue Deutsche Welle band to have a substantial hit with Dreiklangdimensionen in 1980, Rheingold weren't really a part of the underground scene. Instead, the band was founded by two Kraftwerk-enthused studio pros, who had been making music since the mid seventies. Upon hearing the selftitled debut again, I was quite surprised how much it's indebted to the Krautrock of Neu!, Harmonia and late Cluster. Lothar Manteuffel and Bodo Steiger, Rheingold's principle songwriters, resurfaced again in the nineties, being involved in new projects by ex-Kraftwerk members Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flür.

04. Der Plan - Gummitwist (1983)
Not only one of the essential bands of the German post-punk underground, Der Plan also produced some of the most original, funny and inventive electronic art-pop ever. Their albums Geri Reig and Normalette Surprise are still in print and can be ordered over here.

05. Deutsche Schäferhunde - Mein Herz (1982)
It's really amazing how much DIY activity in the German provinces was spured by the post-punk scenes of Hamburg, Berlin or Düsseldorf. This synth foursome hailed from Eggstätt, a small town near Munich, and recorded and self-released only one single. The hard-hitting sound of their three tracks is quite impressive for a DIY release, but to my ears this is the only one that stood the test of time.

06. Monopol - Weißes Haus (1982)
Not much info out their on this three-piece, consisting of two keyboardists/vocalists and a singing ex-model. The elegaic and beautiful Weißes Haus is definitely the standout track on their only LP Weltweit, a solid minimal synth-pop album marred by dumb lyrics and slightly grating vocals.

07. Front - Polaroid (1981)
Great, slightly dub-inflected punk-funk by this band from Hamburg. They split up after releasing two singles on the important independent label ZickZack, with drummer Ralf Hertwig joining Palais Schaumburg. Brotbeutel has both 7inches plus a song from the ZickZack Sommerhits compilation.

08. Geisterfahrer - Himmel auf Erden (1981)
One of the most important bands of the Hamburg/Hannover scene and one of many projects involving prolific scene-shaker Matthias Schuster. For my money, Himmel auf Erden is simply one of the best post-punk songs ever. Geisterfahrer's first two records, Schatten voraus and Fest der vielen Sinne, have been re-issued on Plasticfrog Records.

09. Wirtschaftswunder - Der große Mafioso (1982)
One of several bands and projects involving the super-prolific Tom Dokupil (others being Die Radierer, Siluetes 61 and Die Partei), Wirtschaftswunder's songs encompassed a range from all-out wackiness bordering on the demented to slight and endearing kookiness. This track is more on the side of the latter and even reached the lower regions of the charts.

10. Fehlfarben - Die wilde 13 (1981)
One of the most important and popular German post-punk bands. Their first album Monarchie und Alltag is regularily being tauted as one of the best German rock albums ever. I personally think that they became more interesting on their two subsequent records, even though guitarist Thomas Schwebel is a considerably less charismatic singer than original frontman Peter Hein, who had left the band after the debut. Die wilde 13 is taken from the criminally underrated second LP Dreißig Tage in Ketten.

11. Trio - Los, Paul! (1981)
This bunch is an interesting case. Already well into their thirties, these pros with a background in British invasion-style r&b and Krautrock were far too old to be part of anybody's Neue Welle. Actually, Trio was a conscious effort to cash in on the popularity of (more or less) new wave inflected German-language pop at the time. But while almost everything they subsequently recorded is pretty vomitous, they managed to get everything right on their selftitled first album, a superb collection of ultra-minimalist, stoic pop songs and equally minimalist, punky thrashers.

12. Große Freiheit - Ein Mann zuviel (1983)
More quirkiness from this short-lived project (they recorded only two 12" singles), a bit similiar to Wirtschaftswunder. The lyrics deal with the problems arising when there's one guy too many at the barbecue... (Go to Not Rock On for the Moschusfunktion 12".)

13. Konec - Tanze (1982)
Strangely, while this track is featured on quite a few NDW compilations, there's zero info on the band out there. Jagged, dubby wave-funk with detached female vocals, surprisingly enough released on the major label Polydor.

14. X-Mal Deutschland - Incubus, Succubus (1982)
Sort of the signature tune of this all female band. The later, mostly English-language records are fairly uninteresting goth-pop, but the early stuff is fantastic in an early Banshees kinda way.

15. Joachim Witt - Tri Tra Trullala (1982)
A seventies psych-rocker turned eighties new waver, Witt managed to find the right balance between experimentalism and charts-appeal. Produced by Conny Plank's engineer René Tinner and featuring Can's Jaki Liebezeit on drums,
Tri Tra Trullala is driving, motorik synth pop that occupies a middle ground between new wave and La Düsseldorf or Neu!'s more pop-oriented moments. Don't bother with anything he released since his comeback in the nineties though, it's all daft sub-Rammstein ebm metal.

16. Grauzone - Eisbär (1981)
Actually a Swiss band, but Eisbär (like most of their material) sounds totally NDW and is featured on countless Neue Deutsche Welle compilations. It was a huge hit in Austria, which is quite a surprise considering the cold, skeletal sound. Amazing production, too, on this track. The Sunrise Tapes collects everything they ever released and comes highly recommended.

17. Mannschreck - Where Have All The Good Times Gone (1980)
A charming version of a Kinks song by this new wave project from Stuttgart, taken from the otherwise pretty lackluster debut 12" 80-8. Get the later and far superior EP Ou-Wou-Wou at Mutant Sounds.

18. Lost Gringos - Bargeld Amore (1983)
Thanks to Jörg from Not Rock On for this one. Go over to his blog for more info and the EP Troca Troca.

19. Die Doraus & Die Marinas - Kleines Stubenmädchen (1982)
Andreas Dorau is probably one of the artists on this compilation who don't need much of an introduction. His Fred vom Jupiter is a masterpiece of DIY pop and not only hugely popular in Germany, Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland to this day, but it was even a favourite with New York's downtown club scene. Dorau is still making incredibly charming and funny music and all his albums are available on Ata Tak. Kleines Stubenmädchen was the b-side of the Tulpen und Narzissen 7" and has never been reiussed.

20. The Tanzdiele - Candy (1981)
Endlessly listenable, catchy new wave pop, culled from this studio project's only LP Folgt den Führern. Mutant Sounds also posted a brilliant live album by follow-up band The Tanzdiebe. Mainman Piet Klocke is currently enjoying a second career as a pretty popular stand-up comedian, by the way.

21. Palais Schaumburg - Telephon (1981)
Everything this punk-jazz outfit from Hamburg released up to (and, in my opinion, including) their vastly underrated second album Lupa is essential. This non-LP track from their second single Telephon/Kinder der Tod is decidedly more stripped down and synth-popish (albeit in a pretty leftfield way) than the later stuff and it's also one of their most immediately enjoyable and charming songs.

22. Pyrolator - Max (1981)
A founding member of Der Plan and DAF whose proto-sampledelic leftfield electro-pop, a combination of synths, post-industrial rhythms and dense tape-collages, was totally ahead of its time. Ata Tak's most important artist besides Der Plan and Andreas Dorau and his albums Inland, Ausland and Wunderland can be ordered here.

23. Felix Kubin - 2 (2005)
A track from the Idiotenmusik 7", another one I got from Mein Walkman ist kaputt. Kubin, a self-confessed dadaist, started producing his hyperactive, deranged electronica in the early eighties when he got his first Korg synthesizer at age 13. I'm obviously cheating a bit here by including a 2005 release, but it's a superb track and since Idiotenmusik is a sort of homage to Kubin's earliest tape releases it's okay, I guess.

24. Teja - Säuren ätzen und zersetzen (1980)
This wild piece of noisy proto-electronica is another astonishing one-off project. According to the comments on Mein Walkman ist kaputt, Teja Schmitz was a young hairdresser and early member of the Düsseldorf punk scene, who recorded and self-released his sole 7" single mainly just because it was hip to have put out your own record. The B-side, Studieren, is far less memorable as it's pretty much in the vein of the typical demented synth noisery of the time. This track though still sounds pretty eerie and impossible to categorize. The title translates as Acids Etch And Corrode and it couldn't be more fitting.


Iannis Xenakis - Kraanerg, Music for Harpsichord and Musique Electro-Acoustique

Thanks a lot to the original uploaders!


Xenakis composed this powerful ballet work for manipulated tapes and 23 musicians in 1969, inspired by the French student protests as well as the Prague Spring.

Alpha Centauri Ensemble

Roger Woodward, conductor

Recorded in 1988

Music for Harpsichord

All four pieces on this disc are great, but
A l’Ile de Gorée is a total killer. By turns chaotically violent and almost lyrical, it's simply one of the most intense affective expierences you can get from music. Like other works by Xenakis, it was inspired by historical and political events. In his own words: "The Isle of Gorée, off the coast of Dakar, was once a world slave market. This piece is a tribute to the black Africans who, torn by force from their homes on the way to appalling slavery, yet managed to win, in certain civilized countries to which they were transported, positions of first rank. It is also a tribute to the heroes and black victims of apartheid in South Africa, last bastion of hysterical racism."

1. Naama
Elisabeth Chojnacka, clavecin (harpsichord)

2. A l’Ile de Gorée

Elisabeth Chojnacka, clavecin

Ensemble Iannis Xenakis de Middelburg
Huub Kerstens, conductor

3. Khoaï

Elisabeth Chojnacka, clavecin

4. Komboï

Elisabeth Chojnacka, clavecin

Sylvio Gualda, percussion

Musique Electro-Acoustique

Two pieces from 1981 and 1989 respectively, realized with the help of the UPIC computer. UPIC (Unité Polyagogique Informatique du CEMAMu) is a machine that allows music to be composed by the act of drawing. Pour la Paix, a savage denouncement of war and nationalism, remained unreleased for almost twenty years. It probably works better if you have a fairly decent grasp of the French language (unfortunately mine is quite poor). But even if you don't understand a single word of what's being sung and recited, there's still Xenakis' unique and fascinating sound world.

Voyage absolu des Unari vers Andromède was created for the opening of an exhibition in the temple Kamejama Hontokuji in Himeji, Japan. It's a totally mindblowing aural trip and one of my favourite works by Xenakis.

As far as I can tell, this cd on Fractal Records is not exactly out of print, but somewhat difficult to get hold of.

Danielle Delorme, Francoise Xenakis, Philippe Bardy, Maxens Maylfort (recitation), Choeur de Radio France, Michel Tranchant (conductor) and two-reel magnetic tape realized at the CEMAMu, Paris


Re-uploads: Bernard Herrmann and Ennio Morricone

Bernard Herrmann's fantastic score for The Day The Earth Stood Still and Ennio Morricone's funky, psychedelic fun romp Danger, Diablolik are available again.


Radiophonic Music In A Round House

(Click on the picture to download.)

This is basically a personal best-of cobbled together from the various Radiophonic Workshop albums posted on the
XYZ Cosmonaut blog. (Thanks a lot, by the way!) While I think that all the praise heaped upon the Workshops 60's and early 70's output is largely justified, both BBC released Radiophonic compilations are marred by slightly annoying station id's and tracks that haven't really aged that gracefully. And the cds from the Dr. Who At The BBC Radiophonic Workshop series contain mostly sound effects and very short cues of incidental music that may be highl
y imaginative. But seriously, how often are going to listen to a few seconds of swooshing, whooping and bleeping?

So I did my own compilation, basically condensing the two BBC compilations down to those tracks that are of more than just historical interest and adding some tracks from the Dr. Who cds and the pretty great soundtrack of
The Tomorrow People. Strictly speaking, the latter is actually not a Radiophonic record. The music for this ITV produced series was mostly cobbled together from a library record by the Workshop's Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson (working under the pseudonyms of Li De La Russe and Nikki St. George) and David Vorhaus, the three of them also forming the initial line-up of White Noise. Also, the show's theme was created by Dudley Simpson, a freelance composer who worked
on a lot of Dr. Who episodes at the Radiophonic studios.

Bookended by the o
riginal Dr. Who Theme and it's 1980 re-working by Peter Howell, the bulk of this collection is made up of Delia Derbyshire's wonderfully otherwordly and sensous creations, John Baker's quirky and inventive rhythmic workouts and three fantastic tracks by Glynis Jones (wrongly spelled Johns in the ID3-tags, by the way). Also included are Dudley Simpson's theme for The Tomorrow People and two tracks by David Cain, the short but charming Crossbeat and the impressive musique concrète-piece War Of The Worlds.

If you want to get the
full albums, head over to the XYZ Cosmonaut. And here's a pretty fantastic and insanely well researched essay that's well worth reading, even if you only have a passing interest in the Workshop.

The knob-twiddling lady on the photo is Delia Derbyshire and that's Ron Grainer looking over her shoulder. The painting by Bridget Riley doesn't really have anything to do with the Workshop, I just thought it suits the music's proto-psychedelic pop modernism quite nicely.

Jeff Mills - Lifelike

(Click on the picture to download.)


A rather beautiful out-of-print compilation of tracks from various EPs on Mills' own Axis and Purposemaker labels, the Waveform Transmissions Vol. 3 EP and the Japan-only release From The 21st Century plus a handful of exclusives. While there are some quite energetic tracks, things never get as relentlessly pounding as on the Purpose Maker compilation. Leaning more towards the subdued and contemplative, this is classicist emotive Detroit techno with shimmering, multilayered synth textures, glistening keyboard and string riffs and some downright beautiful melodies.


Jeff Mills - Purpose Maker Compilation

(Click on the picture to download.)


More Jeff Mills niceness: this compilation from 1997 documents Mills' mid-nineties output on his own Purpose Maker label. Expect a collection of pumping, loopy, 909-driven dancefloor wreckers with lots of rattling, banging and clanging snare and conga sounds and catchy, minimalist high-end hook-lines on top. Including his signature tunes Alarms and The Bells, this is Mills at his most rave-anthemic. Great, great stuff.

Jeff Mills - LiveMix At Liquid Room, Tokyo

(Re-upped by request. Click on the picture to dowload.)

One of the things I find so intruiging about Detroit techno is the thougt of young black, (for the most part) middle class and quite well educated men listening not only to the New Pop/Synth Wave of Human League, Visage, Gary Numan or Depeche Mode, but also to the whiter-than-white sounds of post-industrial dance music. Especially with the 2nd and 3rd generation, there's a whole bunch of tracks on which the influence of Cabaret Voltaire, Belgian New Beat and Electronic Body Music by the likes of Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb shines through. It always makes me wonder, how much this infatuation of young Black Americans with harsh European militancy mirrors the fascination ultra-aggressive hiphop and dancehall has for a lot of young, white, middle-class and often quite well educated Europeans.

Of the Detroit producers, Jeff Mills is probably the one most influenced by post-Industrial. He even started making music as a founding member of EBM-styled Band The Final Cut (though he left the group after the first lp) and especially his dancefloor-oriented tracks and his dj-sets lean towards a stark, noisy and relentlessly pounding sound. But it is counter-balanced by dense, heavily layered percussion providing a driving groove and thus resulting in a kind of bleak, futuristic and immensely funky mongrel-music, somehow sounding neither "black" nor "white" (speaking in cultural terms, of course). When the post-industrial aspects of the music takes over, Mills' dj-sets can be a bit dull and samey, but when he gets the balance right he's simply impeccable. Although Mills has done a fair share of more subdued, moody music full of wide-screen ambience I think that it's his dance tracks and djing where he shines the most.

LiveMix At Liquid Room is the second volume of the five-part Mix Up-series, released by Sony Japan to showcase the spectrum of techno music. Recorded entirely live at Tokyo club The Liquid Room on Oct 28 1995, this is a rough and rugged recording without any additional studio polish - there's even some noises and cheering from the crowd to be heard. It's a high energy affair, with Mills providing his trademark rapidfire mixing (38 tracks in just about an hour) and lots of banging, clanging voodoo percussion, often achieved through mixing two copies of the same record into each other. The general opinion on LiveMix is that it's on of the best dj mix-cds ever and after listening to it you can't really argue with that.

(Additional information: The booklet lists the recording date as Oct. 28 1995 from 3:00 am. Can't remember where it was, but a while ago I read on the net that Mills actually had another gig on Oct. 29 and that part 2 of the cd was recorded on that second night. Not that it matters much...)

NB: If anybody should have one of the other Mix Up volumes, I'd be quite interested in hearing them, especially Vol. 3 by Ken Ishii and Vol. 5 by Derrick May. The various volumes are constantly shifting in and out of print. At the moment, they are only available as quite pricey Japan-imports. So uploads would be greatly appreciated. ;-)

Discogs has a full tracklist and a little more info right here.


Gary Clail - five albums and a 12inch

Funny sometimes, how yesterday's cutting edge can become today's old hat. A case in point being some of Adrian Sherwood's 80s to mid-90s output, namely a large part of the dub and hiphop infused, industrial tinged kind of avant-funk he brewed up with the Tackhead posse. While I think that most of Sherwood's more rootical dub reggae and reggae influenced productions still hold up more than well, a large part of those avant-funk tracks on albums by Tackhead, Mark Stewart or - in this case - Gary Clail sounds a bit dated.

Still, about half the tunes on each Gary Clail album are absolute killers (tellingly, most of them are pretty dubby though), while the rest are at least highly interesting musical time capsules from (post-)Thatcherite Britain, fueled by the undeniable fire of Clail's ranting agit-prop speech-song. And Emotional Hooligan really is a great album, hands down.

Thanks a lot to nad22 for Dreamstealers, Emotional Hooligan and Escape!

Gary Clail's Tackhead Soundsystem - Tackhead Tape Time

Gary Clail & On-U Soundsystem - End Of The Century Party

Gary Clail & On-U Soundsystem - Dreamstealers

Gary Clail & On-U Soundsystem - Emotional Hooligan

Gary Clail & On-U Soundsystem - Escape 12inch

Gary Clail - Keep The Faith


Vex'd & Distance - Metalstep Mix

(Click on the picture to download.)

Dubstep and avant metal (or whatever you want to call the actually not-so-new breeds of artsy thrashers and droning doom rockers) are definitely the hipsters current sounds of choice, at least if you go by music blogs and magazines. So by combining the two for a mix on Mary Anne Hobbs' Experimental Show, Vex'd and Distance made the wet dreams of every nerdy, trend-obsessed music blogger (like yours truly) come true. A quick look at the tracklist shows that they delivered the goods and came up with some ultra-heavy slices of pitch-black darkcore. And the best thing about it is that what seems like a great idea in theory actually does indeed sound good in reality too.

I don't really know about Jamie Vex'd, but Distance is an old headbanger anyway and really knows his metal (nice to see tracks by death metal veterans Napalm Death and Celtic Frost in there, by the way). Same goes for the show's host Marry Anne Hobbs, about whose metal past you can read more in this interview on Martin Blackdown's excellent dubstep blog.

From what I gathered on Dubstep Forum, there seems to be quite some love for the likes of Sunn O))), Boris, Earth or Neurosis among some of the dubsteppas. A guy named Blip posted his remix of the Boris/Sunn O))) track Aetna over there, which I included with this upload. I'm not entirely convinced by the results, but it's an interesting experiment and at least worth a listen.


Oris Jay vs J Da Flex - Future Garage/J Da Flex - 1 Xtra Anniversary Mix

Two interesting snapshot from 2003 of the then-nascent dubstep genre. The music was quite different from today's dubstep: there's no halfstep beats and none of the rhythmic sparseness, instead the music is still pretty strongly indebted to the dark garage it evolved out of. It's an intriguing blend actually, the bass-heavy minimalism and sinister ganja vibes combined with bustling and rattling percussion, harsh but often still quite slinky and 2step garage-y.

Future Garage by J Da Flex and Oris Jay was a covermount cd from the now defunct Sleazenation and it's a pretty great mix, especially the first half with Menta's remix of the Jammin' tune Tonka and Darqwan's (aka Oris Jay) delirious opium den fantasy Pipe Dreams. The whole mix is one single track, so here's the tracklist for you.

The second upload is a mix cd that dubstep don J Da Flex did for the first anniversary of BBC's damn fine urban music programme 1Xtra. It came free with the sadly departed Deuce Magazine which used to be my most important source of information on the whole UK garage thing and its various sub-genres, off-shots and mutations. Minimialist, dark, bass-heavy, yet still retaining something of a swinging groove (albeit in a pretty twisted way), this mix contains some fine tunes by heavyweights of the scene like Benga, Dub Child, Plasticman, Mark One and, of course, the man himself (see the tracklist here).

Future Garage

1Xtra Anniversary Mix


Sleeparchive live at Flex, Vienna

(Click on the picture to download.)

Since debuting with 2004's Elephant Island EP, Berlin based producer Roger Semsroth is responsible for some of the most impressive and amazingly unique minimal techno in recent years. Full of haunting echoes, crackles and bleeps, with austere and sparse rhythms and a crystal-clear and pristine overall construction, this is awesome stuff, even if you're not that much into techno!

This live-set at Vienna's Flex Club in January 2006 is a soundboard recording and boasts excellent sound quality.


Renegade Dhols: A Square Dancing UK Bhangra Compilation

(Click on the picture to download.)

Fusing the rich musical heritage of the Indian-Pakistani border region Punjab with elements of hiphop, dancehal
l reggae, UK garage, house and r&b, you'd think that UK Bhangra has to be the greatest music genre ever, at least in theory. In practice this turns out to be only partially true. The main reason being that there's an awful lot of tunes that are pretty generic in terms of rhythm and often actually far behind the standards of the genre the producers draw on. But then again, it seems that on just about every UK Bhangra compilation or artist album you will find at least three or four real killers. I generally prefer my UK Bhangra to be quite close rhythmically to traditional Bhangra, so on those 21 tracks you'll get plenty of awesome, hypnotical polyrhythms, mostly played on dhol drums, tablas and the high-pitched one-stringed ektara.

For this compilation I put together the absolute highlights of a bunch of cds I got from a local Pakistani grocery store about two years ago, namely Urban Flavas 1 & 2, UK Bhangra Vol. 11 & 12, Street Beats and the bootleg compilation Gangster Bhangra. Unfortunately it seems like all the Indian and Pakistani stores in Vienna stopped selling UK Bhangra cds, which virtually cut off my supply of Punjabi wickedness since it seems quite hard to find the stuff on the net. By the way, from what I've read it seems that even in the UK Bhangra cds hardly ever to be found at record shops, but rather get sold at British Asian grocery stores and supermarkets. Another thing that I found fascinating was the fact that not a one of the cds I bought was a legit pressing. Actually, to judge from statements on various artist and label sites, it seems that bootlegging is regarded as being a serious problem for the scene.

The majority of tunes on this compilation was produced by Rhythm Dhol Bass (RDB). This dj and production team, consisting of the Sikh brothers
Kuldeep, Surjeet und Manjeet Ral, is releasing cds under the RDB and Lethal Dholis monikers as well as producing and remixing tons of tracks for other artists. Next to Dr. Zeus they seem to be the most prolific and influential producers on the scene right now and are a serious force in UK Bhangra. Their albums are released through UntouchablesUK, the label, promotion company and artist agency responsible for two of the most important compilation series, Urban Flava and Danger, who's roster includes many of the most popular Bhangra artists.

Quite an interesting case are Ruthless Records and their Street Beats series. I only have the first volume which contains a surprising number of tracks using big chunks of well-known r&b, dancehall and hiphop tracks by major artists. I couldn't really find out wether Ruthless are actually a kind of bootleg label (apparently they don't have a website). But I'd be surprised if their releases where a 100 % legit, since it's quite doubtable that they could afford the rights to sample virtually half of Sean Paul's Gimme The Light.

Some more links:

Woebot of the great eponymous music-blog on desi beat/UK Bhangra

RDB's press kit, containing a quite interesting article from The Face
RDBTV, RDB's extremely popular Bhangra video magazine
BBC's Bhangra show Breakdown
BBC 1Xtra's Desi Beats with Punjabi Hit Squad

I downloaded a bunch of more recent (2005/06-ish) tracks via bit torrent, so there'll probably be a follow up if this comp goes down well with you peepz.