Various Artists - Science Fiction Park Bundesrepublik [Finders Keepers Records - 2014]From late 2014 here’s a rather splendid & wholly consistent compilation of quirky, odd, charming, and strange home studio work from Germany’s 1980 underground tape scene. The CD brings together twenty five tracks, and just shy of seventy two mintues playing time- all making one of the most fascinating & rewarding compilation I can think of in recent years.
The compilation is complied by respected German electronic musician Felix Kubin- whose worked with contemporary/ avant grade classic legends such as Karlheinz Stockhausen & György Ligeti, as well influential German electronic acts like Kraftwerk & DAF. The release comes with a highly informative 32 page inlay booklet, and this takes in a lengthy piece by Kubin about the time & this compilation (in both English & German). As well as a page on each artists featured.
All the tracks featured here are from obscure projects & mostly rare, yet each is quirky, inventive & often memorable in it’s own right. Its clear Kubin has spent a long time compiling & sequencing the whole thing, so it mangers to be both varied & entertaining through-out ,which is a tall order in it’s self!.
A few of my highlights come in the form of the following: Neros Tanzende Elektropäpste’s Der Singende Lenorhaushalt which features a bobbing lo-fi ‘n’ slurred reggae synth ‘n’ beat mix ,which is pitted with all manner of random sonic flotsam & jetsam such distant chainsaw, gurgling, sudden runs of winding down nursery rhyme melody, waltzing organ effect, and the sound of running down alarm clock. The jaunting & tiny wonderfulness of Das Glück’s Die Bombe, which mixes taut pip-pop electronic drums with strutting guitar riff, and wonky yet memorable layered Germanic vocals. The cold yet bouncing sci-fi/ synth march of CHBB’s Ima Iki-Mashoo which finds thick yet off-kilter keyboards swamped with murky elector noise stretchers & thinned mumbled vocals. The sinister & playfully stoned jarring-ness of Wat?Sanitär’s Except Me And My Monkey, which brings together if-you-go-down-to –the-woods synth bass line, kitchen sink percussion, hammered prepared piano elements, quirky female vocals, and a end that wonders off in just stumbling piano melancholically. The churning yet slightly haphazard of Lustige Mutanten’s Missgeburten, which brings together a thick groove of slurred funk guitar, melted keyboard stabs, dramatic & bold male Germanic vocals- all to a summon-up a weird brew of up-beat 1980’s Residents material, Pere Ubu, and angry yet theatrical German.
Really this is a must have item to anyone who enjoys 1980’s music that is experimental, creative yet memorable. Let’s hope there is a second volume in the pipe-line, as this compilation really is pure gold- Highly recommended! Roger Batty