Friday, 15 November 2019

The Plastic People Of The Universe ‎– "Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned" (LTM ‎– LTM 1001, Boží Mlýn Productions) 1978


In comparison to the toytown rebellion of the Sex Pistols in the UK, The Plastic People Of The universe was the real deal.In 1976 the PPU were arrested and put on trial by the communist government to make an example of these smelly hippies.They were convicted of "organized disturbance of the peace",which i guess is correct(?), and sentenced to terms in prison ranging from 8 to 18 months.
I remember that promotional Julian 'I was privately educated' Temple's super-8 movie of the Pistols on Richard 'I was also privately educated' Bransons Boat on the Thames on the Queens Jubilee day.During which we see and hear a pre-addict Sid Vicious being a very shy and clearly well-spoken nice young man, with the obviously staged part of Malcolm Maclaren being 'arrested'...not....and Steve Jones' voice overdubbed after the fact, emphasing the point with a badly acted "They've arrested Malcolm,They've Arrested Malcolm!"....shock horror yawn!
Well the Czech police arrested everyone and anyone to do with the Czech underground music scene, and didn't let them go until they'd done some hard labour either! Like the Pistols, however, they were also banned from playing live,and had to do their concerts in secret. Nothing about their Zappa influenced compositions was particularly 'Political', and insisted that all they wanted to do was play their music;but their bohemian  lifestyles went directly against government philosophy,so they had to go.
This just forced the burgeoning Czech music scene very underground.....will "They" never learn?
In 1974, thousands of students traveled from Prague to the town of České Budějovice(you all know where that is of course?) for a PPU performance. Stopped by police, they were sent back to Prague in, alarming nazi-style, cattle trucks, and many were arrested. The band was forced underground until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Unable to perform openly, an entire underground cultural movement formed around the band during the 1970s,and this album was eventually released in the west after being smuggled out to France in 1978.

The Music???
Well, if that actually matters, it sounds like a lo-fi Mothers Of Invention album of out-takes. Which ,I guess, is good.....?
Anyone who performs wearing a Toga is alright by me.....I include Capes in that bracket also by the way.

Tracklist:


1 Dvacet 1:53
2 Zácpa 7:58
3 Toxika 3:56
4 Magické Noci 6:13
5 M.G.M. 0:20
6 Okolo Okna 5:54
7 Elegie 1:16
8 Podivuhodný Mandarin 5:46
9 Nikdo 3:33
10 Jó - To Se Ti To Spí 3:28
11 Já A Mike 1:05
12 Ranní Ptáče 1:23
13 Francovka 3:01
14 Jednou Nohou 4:13
15 Spofa Blues 2:49
16 Apokalyptickej Pták 8:14
17 Píseň Brance 6:46


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Кола Бельды / Kola Beldy ‎– "Белый Остров / White Island" (Мелодия ‎– С60 27841 007) 1989


Never really been a big fan of ethnic,slash,'world' music......I blame Peter Gabriel for that, and all those  middle class Womad festival fans, whose very existence seems to remove any point in making,writing about, or listening to music at all. The very thought of millionaire urban folkies exploiting the impoverished musicians of a third world country to win a 'Grammy' for their theft, makes me wanna bash my own brains in. Specifically, I'm thinking Paul Simon here.....what a bastard he was/is!?
High in the 'Bastard' stakes, along with Simon, is Coca-Cola, but replace the 'C' with a 'K' and we get super-bizarre Nanai tribe member and trad folk singer Kola Beldy.
In 1986 he was awarded the title of 'Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR' (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist republic!?);we've all got one of those.....haven't we???He had a number of Soviet-era permfrost themed hits, most famously with the top ten smash,  "I will take you to the tundra", hmmmm yes please???......you don't get hits with titles like that in the UK.....well....I suppose we did have "Snooker Loopy",which you sure as hell wouldn't find in the Soviet Charts of the time.You wouldn't think that Chas,of Chas'n'Dave, was in Gene Vincent's backing band in the early sixties now would you?

The awards kept coming for Kola,winning "Award no.2"(that's the name of the award NOT his second award!) at the 'Sopot International Song Festival' in 1973....what "Award no.1" was, and who won it,remains a closely gaurded state secret to this day.
This album, has any number of bizarre sounds augmenting Kola's ethno-operatic fusion,which adds greatly to its score on the 'weird' scale.Certainly one for the coveted 'Other' section in the record shop.
Luckily, politics and common sense stopped Paul Simon from making a 'collaboration' with Mr Beldy, and just good luck saved him from Peter Gabriel's insidious clutches.The Iron Curtain had its uses after all?

Tracklist:

1 White Island (Saami Song)
2 Master Of Forest (Mansi Song)
3 A Seagull (Dolgan Song)
4 Return Home (Chukchi Song)
5 To The Ocean (Yukagir Song)
6 A Hunter (Evenki Song)
7 Fisher-woman (Evenki Song)
8 Holiday (Eskimo Song)
9 By Dog Sledge (Hanti Song)
10 My Darling (Hanti Song)
11 Greeting (Ulchi Song)
12 Strange Girls (Nanai Song)
13 Kmali Chinekh (Itelmen Song)
14 Emaron Island (Nanai Song)
15 Toasting Song (Yakutian Song)
16 Snowy Tundra (Saami Song)
17 My Little Reindeer (Evenki Song)
18 Fisher's Song (Nanai Song)


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Дос-Мукасан / Dos-Mukasan - "Дос-Мукасан" (Мелодия ‎– С60-07677-8) 1976



Freaky Psychedelic combo's from Kazakhstan didn't need long hair,beads and lashings of LSD 25, to make weird as fuck music. In a land remote enough from Moscow for nuclear testing, the wastelands around the townships were littered with the carcasses of  space junk and failed missle tests.The river behind the band in the album cover swhot was likely highly radioactive or lifeless from chemical spillages further upstream. Large swathes were uninhabitable, poisoned by disgarded rocket fuel, by the time Borats' homeland became independant.Perhaps it was the copious amount of chemicals splashed around the habitats of a seemingly expendable people that ,once ingested, created a drug strong enough for Dos-Mukasan to dress in those way-out uniforms;or was that the standard issue for the Kazaki space programe?
Listening to track one "A Hungry Steppe", this bunch of crazy kids didn't need no rocket to get into orbit, just give them some musical instruments and they'll take us all there.
Trouble is that by track 4 we're splashing down in the Caspian sea again,firmly back on liquid Earth.
Apparently this is thee most saught after Melodiya album by record collecting nutjobs,and I can see why. Certainly the opening track is funky enough to have been 'discovered' by unnamed trendsetting DJ's at certain cheese obsessed night clubs in London; but the ethic psychedelic prog fusion is a heady enough mixture to power anyone's personal rocket.Dispite its inconsistancy it's a weird as fuck(Shit! Did i say that twice!?),and will certainly impress your more pretentious chums into asking you what that music is....then your 'cool' is in severe jeopardy once you try to pronounce it!.....don't ask me i'm as clueless as your pretentious friends.

Tracklist:

A1 Бетпак Дала = A Hungry Steppe 7:35
A2 Ахау Бикем = Magnificent Girl 3:58
A3 Аяулым = My Gentle 4:54
A4 Ляйлым шырак = Dear Leilym 2:05
B1 Туган Жер = Motherland 4:40
B2 16 Кыз = 16 Girls 2:57
B3 Куа Бол = Be A Witness Of My Love 4:11
B4 Сулу Кыз = Beautiful Girl 3:17
B5 Куанышым Меным = My Joy 2:55


Monday, 11 November 2019

Фирюза/Firyuza ‎– Фирюза/Firyuza (Мелодия ‎– C60-13215-16) 1979



More from Funk capital of the USSR ,Ashkhabad,Turkmenistan. From the time before Life-President Saparmurat Niyazov took over and banned everything,but not before he renamed 'Bread' after his mother.I dunno if he tried to rename the David Gates soft rock combo 'Bread' also after his mummy,or tried to get his sister in on the act?
However,Firyuza was a Turkmenian ethnic/prog/jazz/fusion instrumental band, founded in 1979.They won the coverted first prize at The Sixth All-Union Entertainers Competition in Leningrad, thus gaining the privilege of an album release on distinctly ungroovy state label Melodiya.And its as good as their wild image on the front cover.Heavy on the use of the fiddle,it sounds not unlike a mixture of The Dirty Three,the Dirty Harry soundtrack, and the less dirty, Mahavishnu Orchestra.
I notice that Melodiya didn't release a second album,or maybe it was that they were imprisoned by Turkmenistan's de facto dictator and were never seen again?
Great Image, Great music.


Tracklisting:

A1. Ashkhabad
A2. "Kray Rodnoy" Native Land
B1. Chapycsuar
B2. "Dialog V Aule" Dialogue In The Village


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Гунеш = "Gunesh" Ensemble* ‎– Вижу Землю (I See Earth)" (Мелодия ‎– C60 21197 007) 1984



In a country in which Opera,Ballet and Circus's were banned for 'not being Turkmen enough',I doubt the sophisticated Jazz Fusion of the Gunesh Ensemble would have been too popular with Turkmenistan's dictator and self-declared president for life 
Saparmurat Niyazov. Released ,on Soviet state label Melodija, just before Niyazov took absolute power in 1985,I don't think the great man would have been tapping his feet to the syncopated rhythms of this funky combo.Which would explain why they 'disappeared' shortly after Niyazov ascended to the throne of supreme ruler.
A regime rivaling North Korea in its madness, the life President even had all the months and days of the week renamed with the Turkmen national symbols, as described in his autobiography the 'Ruhnama',which was compulsory reading for all citizens,who were regularly tested on its contents.He also had the word for Bread changed to his mothers name,and banned dogs!This album should have been called "I Rename Earth after myself".They don't make 'em like this anymore!?As one of the world's most totalitarian, despotic and repressive dictators. He promoted a cult of personality around himself which left little room for such groovy pop ensembles as Ganesh.So I dread to think what happened to the upwards of sixty various members of this ensemble over the years? Hopefully they escaped to Russia which looked like a democratic utopia in comparison to the land of the Turkmen.
Dig thosz 'fro's.....I don't phink da president like you very much boyz!?

Tracklist:

A1 Байконур = Baikonur 5:02
A2 Бу Дерды = Bu Derdy 7:44
A3 Восточный Экспресс = Oriental Express 3:32
B1 Ритмы Кавказа = Rhythms Of The Caucasus 8:25
B2 Ветер С Берегов Ганга = Wind From The Gang 4:32
B3 Вьетнамские Фрески = Vietnamese Frescoes 4:20


Friday, 8 November 2019

Menuets ‎– "Dzeguzes Balss" (Мелодия ‎– С60-11303-4) 1979




Soviet Prog recordings on the terminally uncool state label Melodija,could always be relied upon to have some amusing sleeve notes, and this prog classic is no exception.
And I quote....:

"Amidst cars, engines and girls
Feeling cold on street corners
Amidst roaring, growling, whistling-
Is it raving or a hello-
the call of cuckoo."

Poet Māris Čaklais and composer Imants Kalniņš pose this question in
the title-song. Well, yes, what is this "call of cuckoo" in our noisy and impetuous age! And what is Menuet?
The leader of this amateur pop group Jānis Blūms says that Menuet means four guys from Jūrmala. Right! If four students from the Jūrmala high school No 4 - brothers Alberts and Raimonds, Bartaševičs as well as Adrians Kukuvass and Juris Sējāns - had not in 1968 set up their group, there would be no Menuet today. Then, also, it would hardly have survived to this day without participation in the TV contest "Show Your Skill" in 1969 when Jānis Blūms undertook the management of the group. There would also be no Menuet without the other musicians - Inese Paberza, Baiba Sejane, Juris Ulakovs, Leons Sējāns.Or without rehearsals, competitions, festivals and many other things.But first of all the Menuet we know and admire has come alive due to soft rock songs by Imants Kalniņš."


Well,I couldn't have written anything better myself!? I for one would love to see the rest of the acts on "Show Your Skill", but it seems no clips exist!? Like the BBC did regularly in the sixties,Soviet State Television likely erased everything immeadiately after broadcast. So now we are deprived of that Cossack Ventriloquist,Boris the Whistling assembly line operative,Vladimir the Dancing Coal Miner, and that essential soviet accessory,the Kulak impressionist,who did an uncannily accurate Ronald Reagan.
This Latvian prog group that emerged out of Jūrmala high school No 4 back in '68,thanks to sucess on "Show Your Skill",managed to make this rather operatic style prog classic ten years later.
And NO the title doesn't translate as "Disguise your Balls"!!!!?
However,one must recommend the closing ,and snappily titled "Raganas Dziesmiņa Pēc Sprieduma Pasludināšanas", as being very good indeed....especially for an 'Amateur Pop Group'.Very skilful.


Tracklist:

A1 Dziesmiņa Dziedama Pusčetros No Rīta
A2 Viņi Dejoja Vienu Vasaru
A3 Dzeguzes Balss
A4 Septiņas Skumjas Zvaigznes
B1 Piedod, Piedod, Piedod Man!
B2 Dziesma Par Florīdas Smiltīm
B3 Dziesmiņa Par To Gadījumu Ar Džordāno Bruno
B4 Raganas Dziesmiņa Pēc Sprieduma Pasludināšanas

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Various Artists ‎– "Red Wave — 4 Underground Bands From The USSR" (SNC Records ‎– SNC 4018) 1986



Awwwww, bless 'em.
If you had grown up in the political equivalent of a cupboard you'd make music like this too.
Assembled from the snippets of information assimilated from the west,primarily Zer Beatles and blue jeans, somehow the underground bands from the USSR managed to all sound like inoffensive post-new wave antipodean hitmakers 'Men At Work'.
One does have a regular fantasy about how good it would be ,creatively, if one could be isolated from the various advancements, or regressions, in the musical/art world.Free from the oppression of what is cool, and what is acceptable.
The reality is,after your isolation, one ends up, somehow, as an inferior version of Men At Work!!!
It seems that originality doesn't come from the abscence of influence,but sprouts naturally from informed plagarism.The default position seems to be a forgettable blank space.....return to factory settings.
So the moral of this story is,don't bother making any art,genuine 'Outsider's' excepted,unless you know your art history.Knowing what NOT to do is, as,if not more, important than knowing what to do.That what is not!A kind of limited unlearning is the way,as long as you don't erase the parts of history that should not be repeated, like Genocide, and ...well....Men At Work????

Tracklist:

1 –Aquarium - Ashes 3:10
2 –Aquarium - Tonight 4:35
3 –Aquarium - Dance On The Edge Of The Spring 4:22
4 –Aquarium - The Thirst 3:52
5 –Aquarium - Dreams Of Something Bigger 4:27
6 –Kino - Saw A Night 3:00
7 –Kino - Films 3:27
8 –Kino - City 3:43
9 –Kino - Wake Up (It's Love) 2:47
10 –Kino - Streetcar Headed East 2:23
11 –Alisa - Experimentator 4:25
12 –Alisa - We're Together 2:37
13 –Alisa - Dr. Boogie 3:43
14 –Alisa - Bad Boy 3:15
15 –Alisa - Juice Squeezer 3:10
16 –Alisa - Come On Me 4:55
17 –Strange Games - Metamorphoses 2:30
18 –Strange Games - Chorovod Song 3:50
19 –Strange Games - No Telephone 2:45
20 –Strange Games - Egocentrism 4:20
21 –Strange Games - If You Think 3:15


Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Various Artists - "Soviet Synth Wave Vol. 3" (2019)


Having lived my young adulthood throughout the 1980's, and am now listening to the pain that my compatriots in the Soviet Union had to endure behind that silly ol' Iron Curtain thingy, I can now fully appreciate how fucking WEIRD pop music was between 1983 and 1989.
Of course at the time I hated all this shit,and could look down on it all because I liked Coil,Einsturzende Neubauten and The Birthday Party,....what a twat was I?
Secretly to myself, I thought that a Flock of Seagulls, Classix Nouveaux, Japan, Simple Minds and the like were rather marvellous. All this stuff sounded even more ridiculous in the 90's when 'real' drummers made a come back,and guitars were played properly again......how fucking boring was that shit? Especially that ridiculous Brit-Pop torture.
Well, you know how kids start listening to music via their parents record collections?.....it was jaw dropping to hear teenagers playing 80's Futurist pop in the early 2000's. It all goes round in circles they say....well they're correct....whoever 'they' are,but 'they' are apparently genius's.,or geni?
Like Punk never happened 'They' said, but this stuff was a direct result of the 'Punk' ethic.....in other words it was 'Punk',but weirder.
Amid the massive gated snares, Simmons electronic kits, digital synthesis,cavernous reverbs,warbley vocals and fretless basses lay something beyond normal comprehension,something genuinely weird....how did it come to this.How did Kajagoogoo happen?
Luckily for any English speaker,listening to this Soviet Wave stuff,the truly terrible lyrics that came with the package are incomprehensible.Something that made the Western Futurists harder to listen to or take seriously.
Simon Le Bon being the new romantic laureat of terrible poetry......"You're just about as easy as a Nuclear War" said the Bard of Brum.
Its no coincidence that Duran Duran were formed not too far from the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the worlds most famous West Midlander,followed by the next most famous West midlanders,Duran Duran;just pipping Black Sabbath,Slade,and half of Led Zeppelin for second place.
Yep,prepare yourself, Duran's debut album was a truly great record!?

Tracklisting:

01.
Rock-September "Discorobot"(1982)
02.
The Time Machine "He was one of the first"(1983)
03.
The doctor "The moon in the sky..." (1985)
04.
The airport "To stay children"(1984)
05.
Activity zone "I fly like a fireball" (1986)
06.
The Model "Again 25"(1987)
07.
Edward Artemiev "Picture No. 7"(1978)
08.
Ubermannequin "Nightporter"(1987)
09.
Michail Muromov "The Earth will return in May"(1985)
10.
Dynamic "The light of your windows"(1984)
11.
Rondo "Ring off"(1986)
12.
Igor Talkov "Lifebelt"(1989)
13.
The class "Great!" (1989)
14.
Boris Deart "Ecology" (1991)

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Various Artists - "Soviet Synth Wave Volume Two " (2019)



Like a wave of electronic tanks sweeping across the Kursk salient,pushing aside the far superior German Synth wave, the Soviet synth forces ejected the inovative manoeuvres of the Neue Deutsche Welle,and ignored the East German equivalent, to produce an unstoppable tsunami of eurovision contest inspired electro-schlager.
They cleared their territory of the invaders,and like the aftermath of actual Battle of the Kursk, the Russian forces stopped at the Elbe,leaving the west to their over-rated qualities of good taste,free speech and fashion sense. Dooming this wave of incredibly naff nonsense to fester in the gulag of iron curtain pop,until now.
These communist electro-protagnoists found it very difficult to avoid the stomping beat of Cossack culture,best demonstrated by the opening track,which sounds like both a kids action TV series about our Cossack chums, and a winning entry at Eurovision in 1994.
Back in the eighties there used to be a male vanity product called 'Cossack', which was basically,hairspray for men.......no it wasn't a popper for fucks sake, I said Hairspray!
Presumably, it didn't work on womens hair?
I did,however, use Cossack to maintain my Sidney Vicious hairstyle,even though it cost more than ladies hairspray, to avoid embarassment.
I'm told that Sid was also a 'Cossack' man?
Check out this advert for this classic male grooming product,which inevitably involves a bloke,dressed as a Cossack of course, on a horse, kidnapping a young blonde lady,for what reason I shudder to imagine!(Click Here)

Tracklisting:

1-The Cossack Song -Sector Gaza
2-Nautilus - The Nentre
3-I Haven't Noticed - Theatre
4-The Telephone - Primus
5-Давайте созвонимся! (Lets Call Up) - Forum
6-Going Crazy - The Electro Club
7-B2 - Argo
8-Anything You Want - Technology
9-Simple Words - Arrival
10-The Time Calls Me - NRG
11-Surrealism - Goodbye Youth
12-Romantic Express - New Collection
13-The Robot - Interview
14-The Aesthete - Bioconstructor

DOWNLOAD some wave surfing ussr HERE!

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Various Artists - "Soviet Synth Wave Volume One (1980-88)" (2019)


The Soviet approach to making pop music was very similar to their apprach to architecture,as featured on the accompanying photo with this compilation. Brutal,formulaic,structually unsound ,with humans reduced to nothing more than an after-thought. There are no Yazoo's, Pet Shop Boys,or Gary Numanski's on here, just a jumble sale of imported music tech let loose in the hands of young(the 35-45 demographic) socialists with little or no idea of how to write a catchy tune......sounds good huh?
This all sounds like a whole music culture based on catching a brief snippit from a western radio transmission of a post Vince Clark Depeche Mode tune,merged with a three second snatch of a Classix Nouveaux track.
However, the Mumii Troll track is a urainium tipped classic.
Yep, leave the timeless electro-pop hits to those pale eye-liner wearing English Kids, and leave the Russians to do what they do best.....clearing a room.

Track Listing:

01. Alisa - Experimentator (1984)
02. Nautilus Pompilius - Eta muzyka (1985)
03. Nochnoi Prospect - Ansambli (1986)
04. Nikolai Kopernik - Liudi mira (1985)
05. Alians - Govoriashchaia golova (1984)
06. Agata Kristi - Vtoroi front (1988)
07. Mirazh - Okolo polunochi (1987)
08. Kino - Poslednii geroi (1985)
09. Televizor - Chelovek iz vaty (1985)
10. Zvuki Mu - Yezhednevnyi geroi (1987)
11. Mumii Troll - Saionara diska (1987)
12. Avia - Urok russkogo yazyka, par (1986)
13. Pop-kombinat - Telefonnyi robot (1987)
14. Zodiak - Zodiak (1980)

DOWNLOAD these dancefloor emptiers HERE!

Thursday, 31 October 2019

AG. Geige ‎– "Trickbeat" (klangFarBe ‎– 008.) 1989


AG Geige's second cassette (get first here!) was actually,eventually, released on the DDR state label for such low brow popular musics such as this, Amiga. The signs were that the state was losing control with all this Glasnost and Perestroika nonsense.
There were several versions of this album,so the first 16 tracks come from the CD version released in 1990, and all the bonus tracks come from the original cassette release on KlangFarBe.
I dunno if the Stasi were keeping notes,so maybe the files at Stasi HQ could help with the track listing.
A fine album, or double album this is. An avant-abstract electronic rock post-punk collage of the highest proportions that should,in an ideal world, find its way into many a good boy or girls christmas stocking this yuletide. After all, Santa Claus is nothing more than a glorified member of the supernatural Stasi,with his sinister elves spying on our kids,taking notes as to who's been naughty and who's been nice.
Christmas was,after all invented in Germany,alongside Industrial Genocide,Methadone,Crystal Meth,National Socialism,protestant Christianity and,yes Indeed, the perfect Police State in the form of the DDR.They should be prooooouuuuuddddd!

Tracklist:

1 Das Möbiusband / Zeychen Und Wunder 2:04
2 Triebwerk 1:16
3 Felix 1:34
4 Kosmonauten 2:42
5 Fingerwalze 2:58
6 So Sollte Es Nicht Sein! 2:30
7 Küchenlied 5:53
8 Das Scheusal 3:29
9 Déjà Vu (Snap Mix #2) 2:51
10 Hasensong 1:35
11 Schöner Leben 3:43
12 Rohleder's 2:10
13 Maximale Gier 3:13
14 Nach Hause (Instr.) 1:35
15 Gesichter 3:02
16 Stadt-Fisch 1:46


Bonus Tracks:(not necessarily in this order)

Paß Gut Auf! 3:01
Wir Lebenden 1:08
Teufel-Trompke 1:23
Kuechenlied 5:58
Das Scheusal 3:33
Dirigent 2:15
Perfekte Welt 3:24
Untitled 1,2,3,4,&5
Nasenwalzer 2:23
Echo-Strand 2:32
Dicker Junge 1:35
Déjà Vu 2:51
Hasensong 1:30
Fischleim 2:09
Mammut 2:14
Nachts Unterwegs 5:04
Astronauten 2:05

Mondauge 2:34


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Heinz & Franz / A.F. Moebius ‎– "Alle Aufnahmen / Eine Auswahl" (KlangFarbe ‎– 007.) 1987


We can easily slag off the German Democratic Republic from the western political and intelligence service angle,but, the previous regime to that one would have had Heinz and Franz publically beheaded for making this tape. It seems the Socialist Unity Party of Germany,as they were called, turned a blind eye to this underground music scene.Which is a far more liberal approach to subversive art than you would have found in many other Soviet satellites,such as Czechoslavakia for example, where musicians were frequently imprisoned and constantly hassled.The most famous of which were the Plastic People Of The Universe (coming up when we finally leave the DDR behind), whose Zappa inspired lunacy was rather unpalatable for the local authorities.
I can sort of understand the intrusive methods of The East German state.In their eyes they were trying to protect their socialist untopia from the insideous influence of the outside world.And one of the most effective ways to undermine any kind of political philosophy is through art,especially Pop Music.Not that Frank Bretscheider made pop music however,but the roots were certainly anchored in the forbidden world of anglo-american pop culture.
This split tape,shared between Frank Bretschneider and Heinz Havemeister, and Frank Bretschneider as A.F.Moebius,is yet another minimal electronic rock mash-up of the kind you frequently found in West Berlin's underground music.It would have been relatively easy to tune into west German radio, which I'm sure was illegal, but forbidding it was not exactly enforceable.
Listening to this excellent cassette,its evident that Bretscheider and friends may have incriminated themselves.Luckily the Stasi were far too unhip to notice.


Tracklist:

Side A: Heinz & Franz - Alle Aufnahmen


1–Heinz & Franz Beim Docteur 1:12
2–Heinz & Franz Kochkäse 1:44
3–Heinz & Franz Leitungsmasten 2:44
4–Heinz & Franz Blutrausch 1:37
5–Heinz & Franz Forellen Fischen! 3:07
6–Heinz & Franz Der Budder 1:26
7–Heinz & Franz Replik Des Druiden 3:01
8–Heinz & Franz Jemand 0:57
9–Heinz & Franz Mein Junge Niest 2:15
10–Heinz & Franz Blinde Liebe 1:30
11–Heinz & Franz Schlafen 3:56
12–Heinz & Franz Verflixter Raoul 1:27
13–Heinz & Franz Lubminer Nächte 2:31
14–Heinz & Franz Drachen Steigen Immer 2:13


Side B: A.F. Moebius - Eine Auswahl (1985-1987)


15–A.F. Moebius Laura 2:29
16–A.F. Moebius Art-Mart 2:08
17–A.F. Moebius Da & Weg 1:25
18–A.F. Moebius Antipoden 1:50
19–A.F. Moebius Blau 1:42
20–A.F. Moebius Erika 2:34
21–A.F. Moebius Das Ei 1:55
22–A.F. Moebius Industrial 2:21
23–A.F. Moebius Im Kopf 2:23
24–A.F. Moebius Böser Traum 1:47
25–A.F. Moebius Jhö-A-Bäh's 2:26
26–A.F. Moebius Elektro 2:21
27–A.F. Moebius Das Nämliche 1:54

28–A.F. Moebius Na Uhle ? 1:16


Monday, 28 October 2019

Christian Heckel & Frank Bretschneider ‎– "Berlin Bei Nacht - (Eine Elektrische Text Musik Collage)" (klangFarBe ‎– FBk 003) 1985.



Frank Bretscheider's mangled electronica, assisted by the text of Christian Heckel, and the voices of the 'Kummers',last seen in AG Geige;delivered as a collage in the tradition of "Lumpy Gravy",L. Voag and "Canaxis".
The Berlin by night bit,or,rather, East Berlin by night,probably refers to the time of day it was recommended to make subversive sounds like this without attracting the attentions of the more unsavory sectors of DDR society.
Studio Sonnenklang,where all these KlanFarBe tapes were made, was highly likely to have been bugged by the Stasi anyway.So the Karl-Marx-Stadt branch of the Secret Police wasn't so bad after all it seems.Maybe Bretschneider could claim the Stasi tapes and make a volume two,or an extra collage for the deluxe reissue whenever it appears?

DOWNLOAD bretscheider bei nacht HERE!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Die Magdalene Keibel Combo ‎– "Das Gemeine Reitbein" (Self Released) 1988


Another excellent band name to be jealous of,which comes from a combination of two streets in east Berlin. Magdalene refers to the Magdalenenstraße, the former headquarter of our mates the Stasi (state security service of the GDR);and Keibel refers to the Keibelstraße close to Berlin Alexanderplatz, the central police station.
A keen sense of irony is evident in these band moniker sources,and one can only marvel at the subversive nature of the abstract avant rock minimalism on show on this self_released cassette.
Most of the normals who populate this bizarre rock insist that music can't change the world.Partly true,if the music was made by the 90% that make up the factory fodder that enables this mad system to perpetuate and make our lives verging on the pointless.
Music that wades upstream of accepted taste and morals,no matter how twisted, is, a Philosophy.Which perperates and leeches into the cultural water-table for all to drink.It even eventually penetrates the mind sets of those with 'Camp Guard' syndrome,bastards that they may be,or,nore openmindedly, just victims like us.
Examples have to be set,be it capital punishement for collaborators in genocide,or underground musicians communicating to the oppressed that there may be another better way of life.Whatever that may be?Its a subjective view and could mean the DDR was going in the correct direction,either before or after the wall came down.Don't ask me.

Tracklist:

01 Tschaka 1
02 Und wieder zieht ein Wetter auf 1 - Vorstellung
03 Tschaka 2
04 Er hat's geschafft
05 Tschaka 3
06 Klaus Kinski
07 Happy ...?
08 Herzschrittmacher
09 Sak Sak Sak Sakrowski 1 (Sakrowski gegen Lorenz)
10 Wir sind dein schlechtes Gewissen
11 Der blonde Hans
12 Instrumental 1
13 Instrumental 2
14 Tom Dooley
15 Immer an der Wand lang
16 Instrumental 3
17 Berggeist
18 Sak Sak Sak Sakrowski 2
19 DaDaDaDam
20 Graf Zahl
21 Und wieder zieht ein Wetter auf 2
22 Instrumental 4
23 Du hast mich angeschmiert
24 Macht's gut


Saturday, 26 October 2019

AG Geige ‎– "Yachtclub + Buchteln" (KlangFarbe ‎– 006) 1987


AG Geige were an East German experimental band, formed in 1985 in that hotbed of underground musical activity,Karl-Marx-Stadt. They were kind of German new-wave gone correctly wrong, mixing together elements of Floh De Cologne and Der Plan with all sorts of electro-pop and Krauty underground styles.
Any group who has members called Olaf Bender, plus Jan and Ina Kummer has to be worth a listen....surely?
Naturally Frank Bretscheider was a member too,so musically one has a reliable reference,and its a experimental as fuck.
If Olaf Bender isn't the perect name for an East German gay porn star then I don't know what is!?.....as for Jan Kummer,i'll leave that one up to your own filthy, filthy imaginations to contrive.

Tracklist:

A1 Eine Frikadelle 2:55
A2 Glückliche Reise 4:39
A3 Papagei Der Jungen Leute 3:49
A4 Elektrische Banane 2:54
A5 America 4:30
A6 Melodie & Harmonie 1:42
A7 Schnitz 2:13
A8 Die Vier Söhne Der Frau Fanghänel 3:07
A9 Frühstart Erlaubt 3:52
B1 Beklagenswertes Los Einer Waise 3:57
B2 Die Waldschleiereule 2:53
B3 Das Grauen Der Geige 5:31
B4 Zick-Zack 2:39
B5 Zwölf Trombonen 2:22
B6 Yachtclub & Buchteln 5:09
B7 Stadt-Elegie 2:29
B8 Bruder+Schwester 4:08


Friday, 25 October 2019

The Karl Marx Stadt Studio Big Band - "Schlimmer Finger" (Self-Release) 1989


Wow! What a band name!?
A big rival to  the Friedrich Engels Political Myth Orchestra no doubt(I made that one up). The Karl Marx Stadt Studio Big Band were the closest the DDR got to a UK DIY equivalent.Sounding not too dissimilar to The Instant Automatons,or Danny and the Dressmakers, the KMSSBB,comprised of nearly all of the participants in the Karl-Marx-Stadt underground,yes even Claus Loser was in it!.
Don't you just wish you were in a band called 'The Karl Marx Stadt Studio Big Band'?...I know I do....in fact i'm thinking of stealing 'Schlimmer Finger' for my next conceptual music project.Dunno what it means but i think it may be rather rude?
In 1989,the wall was coming down and the authorities were losing control,so Punk Rock could finally come out from under the floorboards,and the true oppresion of freedom was to take over.
A lot of former East Germans struggled with the tyranny of choice when they crossed check-point Charlie only to return a few days later, traumatized by the capitalist jungle.
It ain't easy in the west y'know.Every man for himself stuff.No nice man in a uniform to tell where you're living and working.No guarantees of a Job or a home.A dog eat dog nightmare which makes communism seem like the loving arms of a Nanny in comparison.Sometimes you get what you ask for......like Donald Trump.
Tracklist:

A1 Sambalita 2:20
A2 Aussenposten 4:20
A3 Stülpnertraum 3:20
A4 Highway Song 2:55
A5 Hutzenjagd 2:55
A6 Karlsberg Elegie 6:20
A7 Katerle Im Wunderland 2:25
A8 Downtown Boogie 2:40
B1 Übergang 8:30
B2 Damals War's 3:00
B3 Ich Bin Blues 5:30
B4 Ausbrand 4:30
B5 Bataille Gewidmet 2:55
B6 Selterknall 3:25
B7 Für Die Geschichte 1:00


Thursday, 24 October 2019

Stein Im Brett ‎– "Vater Alfons Erzählt" (klangFarBe ‎– 004.) 1986



I always thought that 'Vater' was spelt F-a-r-t-e-r,....oh how we laughed,and kept up the fine English tradition of childish purile humour and an almost total ignorance of foreign languages.
Travelling down the autobahn I could often be heard pointing  out the Ausfahrt signs at the exit junctions, shouting in a German/English accent not unlike Franz Liebkind from The Producers,"AUSFAHRT VERBOTEN JA!".......ahh come oooonnnnnn,its hilarious,and always will be......unless you're German,when virtually nothing funny is hilarious.
Especially unhilarious was life in soviet puppet state the Deutsche Democratic Republik, when 'Jokes' were especially thin on the ground.What could Communist Comediens possibly find to take the piss out of without blurring equality red lines;although I'm sure Anti-American jokes were allowed for sure and the joke teller in line for another Karl Marx comedy award.
Yeah, I know there'll be plenty of ex-inmates of the DDR ready to tell us what jolly japes they got up to in the Stasi social club raffle before the curfew;...just let me enjoy myself at your expense,i'm well aware that Germans,both east and west, do indeed have a sense of Humour.....its just very,VERY, subtle.

Oh Yeah...the music.
Stein and Brett were the Hall and Oates of Abstract Iron Curtain Electronica.Matthias Stein and Frank Bretschneider(again!)are the exact opposite to Hall and Oates' frankly despicable blue eyed soul,and exist, surely, to rebalance the physics of reality and cancell out the horrors of "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)".
Well mr Hall and Oates, I can't go for you,no can do!
Bretschneider and Stein, yes can do.


DOWNLOAD and smell my farters ausfahrts HERE!

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Kriminelle Tanzkapelle ‎– "Glückliche Jahre" (klangFarBe ‎– 002) 1985


Another project involving KlangFarBe maestro Herr Bretscheider is the minimal abstract electronica of  Kriminelle Tanzkapelle.Every track is a dark monotonous symphony of foggy oppression that only living somewhere like Karl-Marx-Stadt in cold war DDR could create. This makes the industrial musings of those in the West sound like the spoilt bleatings of ungrateful brats in comparison.
I notice a mention of the late and beyond great Alan Vega on the insert.This stuff is yet another offpring given birth by Frankie Teardrop....so of course I exempt Suicide from any accusations of being spoilt brats.
I suppose we all live in our own personal East Germanys in our minds...."we're ALL Frankies, we're All burin' in Hell"(A.Vega 1977)

DOWNLOAD the sound of your own personal communist satellite state HERE!

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Frank Bretschneider ‎– "Scombermix" (klangFarBe ‎– FBk 001) 1985



Frank Bretschnieder was the East German equivalent of  Alain Neffe,if not in profile, but in the amount of significantly weird and scrambled up musiks that he managed to squeeze onto the medium of ferric-oxide coated tape.
This,for all intents and purposes, was Frank's debut album,on his own frankly(pun intended) superb cassette label 'klangFarBe', from the lovely DDR town of Karl-Marx-Stadt,with its delightful post war Soviet architecture and a horrifying disembodied monument to the great man himself......check this postcard as if taken directly from a line in the Pistols' "Holidays In The Sun" pop hit.
Hmmmm, lovely ain't it?
There are places like that all over Europe,but at least they had the excuse of being bombed to fuck .There are also towns like this in the USA and the only bomb attack they ever had was on 9/11,Anything over 50 years old gets demolished and a post modern brutalist skyscraper gets erected in its place. Hmmmm,sounds like what actually happened to the Twin Towers;demolition then erect an immense human-free edifice in its place. That said, The World Trade Centers were one of thee worst examples of brutalist architecture and deserved a couple of passenger jets crashing into them if you ask me....which you ain't,but I gotta write something irrelevant for the recording I'm writing about or I wouldn't be me would I?
Frank gives us a bunch of what can only be described as 'Experimental Electronica" at its abstract best. Its amazing that Frank was never arrested for making music like this,just like it was amazing that The Eagles were never arrested in the west for their crimes against western culture.Not that Bretschneider was guilty of such heinous crimes as 'Hotel California',but one had to be careful in Democratic Republic not to stray too close to decandence or a bohemion lifestyle,or you may find yourself pencilled in for a re-education program.

DOWNLOAD a postcard from Karl-Marx-Stadt HERE!

Monday, 21 October 2019

Various Artists ‎– "Melodie & Harmonie / Musik Aus Karl-Marx-Stadt" (klangFarBe ‎– 005) 1986




Not all the music in the DDR was released on the State labels,but if you wanna to put your own challenging,politically unacceptable work, you had to...yup......Do It Yourself. Behold the liberation of the audio cassette.Even more so than in the west, where the people were oppressed by the need for profit rather than by an ideological totalitarian regime. Thoughts were repressed in this gloomy remanent of the reich,and if you wanted to express them without a lurking Policeman taking notes in the corner,then you had to escape to the west which usually ended up in an east german cemetary.
An easier way to escape this enclave was to smuggle cassettes into the west.This was,somewhat, less risky.
Behold the KlangFarbe label from Karl Marx Stadt,founded by Franck Bretschneider.Of course you can't call anything after Karl Marx anymore,so the town was charmingly renamed Chemnitz after the collapse of the regime.
So here's a taster of the Karl Marx Stadt underground from 1986.This is what the real East Germany sounded like.Gloomy,abstract,miserable and minimal.Not the kind of thing that would have been state approved....no-one was officially 'miserable' in the glorious DDR.

DOWNLOAD your own personal berlin wall HERE!

Jürgen Ecke ‎– "Sound-Synthese" (AMIGA ‎– 8 56 171) 1986


DDR synthesist,Jürgen Ecke, dared to do what even Paul 'N.N.N.N.N.Nineteen' Hardcastle would never consider with a Fairlight.Almost every horrible eighties production value has been turned up to the max on this East German manual on how NOT to do electronic music.
Like a soundtrack for a bad 80's Madonna Movie, or the music for an endless love-making scene in Miami Vice, the music spews forth hefty Gated Reverb snare sounds,with the despised Fairlight sampler Orchestral Stab.
It smells of the "Well we've bought all of this latest equipment so we might as well use it......a lot" syndrome.....and yes there's a syn-drum in use too. 
Its absurd datedness make this album almost avant-garde its unintentional self-parody;but also charming in its quaint cluelessness.When this hit the dancefloor (singular tense is intentional) of downtown East Berlin,the Polit Bureau would have lapped it up as a demonstration of how socialism is more than capable of keeping pace with the west in all technological areas; be it Chemical Weaponry,mass surveillance techniques or Popular Music styles."You Young people WILL be happy,and You will DANCE with your socialist Joy!!"

Tracklist:

A1 HAYH-HAYH 4:11
A2 Auf Der Suche Nach... 5:00
A3 Irritation 2:54
A4 Der Letzte Tag 4:40
A5 Über Allem Ist Ruh' 4:14
B1 Über Dem Nördlichen Wendekreis 4:04
B2 Bolero 3:53
B3 Kulmination 3:02
B4 Der Ewige Traum Des Ikarus 3:59
B5 Illumination 3:55


Saturday, 19 October 2019

Servi ‎– "Pas De Deux In H" (AMIGA ‎– 8 56 344) 1988



Liking the artwork again!?.... what's going on there?
A saucy young communist lady relaxing in an art gallery looking at some really shite paintings, then reaching for a photograph of our hero's in Servi slotted into the inside jacket pocket of a....Dummy!? This is the kind of extreme art statement that can bring down walls. Just as David Hasselhof did after his world chamging concert in Berlin in 1989. So combining the 'Hoff' with Servi on their respective sides of the Berlin Wall,was so powerful that the thing had little choice but to crumble before the power of Pop Music.
Naturally, the 'Hoff' has a problem with self-delusion and auto-agrandising Psycopathy,as well as being a shit actor, and musician toboot;but, Servi aren't that bad, in fact they're was is known in the world of understatment as 'Not Bad'.
While the youth of the UK danced the second summer of love away on drugs and elctronic tunes played by forty year old DJ's in a field around the M25.The youth in the German Democratic Republic had to make do with this bunch of television intermission tunes.One can now appreciate them as coming from a place that we could never possibly comprehend having lived our lives in a liberal democracy that prides itself on promoting freedom,even if we are not really free at all. Of course I refer to the 'Prison without walls' concept of control.A slavestate where our feudal lords like to pretend that the slaves are the ones in control,when the fact of the matter is that we control each other;trapped in a capitalist machine embodied as a flaming car racing downhill to the cliff edge with no brakes and no-one at the wheel.Like Dogs, the human race need a leash and a master to bark orders, or the dog will run into the road under an oncoming Bus. Also like Dogs, we, without fail,tend to destroy the things we hold most precious.Our Planet, the natural world, and,the thing we adore most of all,.....ourselves.
A Good,but unintentionally weird album,from a good but unintentionally weird former country. 

Tracklist:

A1 Tagtraum 1:58
A2 Entdeckung Von Augen-Blicken 3:09
A3 Sie 0:58
A4 Pas De Deux (Begegnung) 3:02
A5 Menetekel - Zeichen An Der Wand 3:01
A6 Ernüchterung 9:16
B1 Solitude 3:48
B2 Worte Suchen 7:27
B3 Ein Lächeln Auf Deinem Gesicht 2:29
B4 ... Und Nach Dem Satz: Ich Liebe Dich, Ist Die Stille Die Gleiche 7:59
B5 Abendlied 1:53


Friday, 18 October 2019

Servi ‎– "Rückkehr Aus Ithaka" (AMIGA ‎– 8 56 229) 1986


Servi were duo Jan Bilk,(no relation to Acker) and Tomas Nawka; formerly of the Rock group version of Servi. Thankfully they switched to Electronica around 1986,and produced this Vangelis,Jean Michel Jarre type album.
Opening tracks "Thetis" and "Hellespont" are the standout tunes here,the rest of the album is a mixture of ambient electronics,Kosmiche Musick,disco stompers, and failed Soundtrack themes;but, still one of the better DDR Synth releases.There are some terrible eighties drum sounds like the ones used in the BBC's "Eastenders" soap,but these are mostly nullified with some lush synth sounds,and a limited dose of experimentation.

Tracklist:

A1 Thetis 3:42
A2 Hellespont 4:58
A3 Symplegaden 3:13
A4 Kirkes 10:22
A5 Medea 3:17
B1 Chiron 4:36
B2 Sirenen 3:46
B3 Laistrygonen 4:57
B4 Nausikaa 4:57
B5 Leukothea 5:34


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Pond ‎– "Planetenwind" (AMIGA ‎– 8 56 049) 1984


Scientists from behind the Iron Curtain undoubtedly did some human cloning experiments. Not only to create an army of expendable super-soldiers,but musicians also.A couple of these experiments involved cloning Vangelis from some of Demis Roussos's back hair and an alternate Georgio Moroder extracted from a casually disguarded pair of Donna Summers  Tena lady absorbant underpants. The two resultant dopplegangers were placed in Berlin School wanna be's, but from the very wrong side of the wall, 'Pond'.The evidence of their existence on this recording, although not credited of course, can be found on tracks 2 and 3, "Cassiopeia" and "Zeitmaschine",where Vangelis's double Helix's genetic memory insists that they play the 'Theme to Blade Runner' note for note and Moroder's disco chromosome assumes its dominance by unleashing a previously unreleased moroder track upon a disbelieving world.
Nope, not a smidgen of a credit offered forth for either of these blatant rip-offs;but in a communist state, intellectual property is very much ,the property of the state.Anything otherwise is Theft,and subject to the greater crime of egregious capitalism.
Founded in East Berlin by a couple of Fuchs (pronounced 'Fucks'),Wolfgang and Frank Fuchs, 'Pond', were one of the earliest of few Electronic combo's from the German Democratic Republic,but they lacked the darkness of your Klaus Schulze's and your Tangerine Dreams, vearing unerringly on a collison course with the Vangelis's and Jean MIchel Jarre's of this world.Another couple of Fuchs in my opinion.
I suspect the state officials in attendance would have issued instructions to portray East Germany as a 'happy' place,where the musicians wanted to produce uplifting melodies for the endlessly ecstatic workforce to play in their downtime in front of their one channel black and white state provided TV's after a long smoky journey back to their allocated residemnce in their state provided Trabant.This album is a state provided Trabant,but like the Trabant, it has its uncertain charms.

Tracklist:

1 Planetenwind 18:30
2 Zeitmaschine 3:00
3 Cassiopeia 3:55
4 Jumbo 4:35
5 Sturmglocke 3:45
6 Supernova 3:00


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Reinhard Lakomy & Rainer Oleak ‎– "Zeiten" (AMIGA ‎– 8 56 111) 1985

It's 1985, and the German Democratic Republic,rather undemocratically as it seems, is still in the grips of the most thorough Police State that has ever been.But at least everyone had a job,somewhere to live,and a crap car. The Stasi probably made a recording of Lakomy making this recording,which likely still exists in the Stasi HQ,waiting for the deluxe reissue of this album in the west.
On this one, Lakomy, and buddy Oleak,get more experimental with their imported DX-7....never one of my favourite synths, but they seem to make it sound electronic rather than emulating a bank of digital horns as most of the chart-bound sounds of 1985 preferred.
The cover references several Hammershøi style open doorways which pass through several walls,almost daring those trapped in that drab communist existence to pass through these symbolic walls into the mysterious room at the end where the slavery is much more subtle...'The West', and so-called freedom.
In the west we are our own personal Stasi,voluntarily existing in a prison with no walls.
To quote W.S.Borroughs, "An efficient Police State doesn't need Police".In some ways that makes the DDR a more honest form of oppression,and a victim of its own sucess.
Oppression aside, Lakomy's previous "electronics" albums are fairly accessible outings typical of the era, much of this album belongs in the experimental category. The first three minutes of "Gleichzeit" and much of "Klangzeit" resemble the abstract 60s/70s computer music of academia: atonal and sparse, dissonant,whereas "Ruhezeit" wouldn't sound out of place on an early '80s Tangerine Dream album.
This was not at all endorsed by Erich Honecker of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany,but the fact that you could make a record like this in the DDR,seems to suggest it weren't all shite.You could curl up with your alloted Stasi tail,and listen to some pretty cool electronica of an evening.Leaving all the paranoia behind for forty minutes.....then back to the normal recorded conversations and video taped sex.Even spys need a time-out every now and again.

Tracklist:

A1 Gleichzeit 10:02
A2 Raumzeit 6:15
A3 Ruhezeit 5:14
B1 Klangzeit 9:30
B2 Hochzeit 8:52