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.