Tag: Beborn Beton

TORUL Explain

After three albums fronted by the charismatic Jan Jenko, it was all change in 2016 for TORUL on the appropriately titled ‘Reset’, with the introduction of new vocalist Maj Valerij.

To trail a new album coming later this year, the Slovenian combo are back with a brand new single ‘Explain’ which showcases some grouchy bass guitar syncopating off a solid beat.

Over smatterings of weeping electronics, Valerij explains to his listeners that “She’s coming again in my dream”.

In the mysterious visual accompaniment directed by Aleš Bravničar, a disused airfield is used as a backdrop for its leading lady Tina Kopušar to roam in search of life, or is it?

Valerij smokes a pipe intently and stares her out; is he a ghost from a bygone conflict or disaster? The aeronautical relics from The Cold War rusting from abandonment might be a clue… but as bandmates Torul Torulsson and Borut Dolenec make cameos, it’s difficult to fathom! Explain!

With Valerij now fully ensconced into the fold, it would appear that TORUL have survived the departure of Jan Jenko, with ‘Explain’ capturing the intensity of their previous work, a template that was inspired by the likes of THE CURE and TEARS FOR FEARS who the band have covered on previous albums.

The download bundle comes with three remixes, the best of which comes from Germany synthpop trio BEBORN BETON who add a rather wonderful pulsating electronic disco feel to proceedings.

‘Explain’ is released by Infacted Recordings, available as a download bundle from https://infactedrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/explain




Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th February 2018



Located a short walk from Eberswalder Straße U-Bahn, the Kesselhaus venue is situated in the heart of the Kulturbrauerei.

A complex built around a 19th century brewery, it features a museum, bars and numerous art spaces.

The venue’s industrial aesthetic was perfect for a weekend’s festival of electronic music and certainly made a pleasant change to what would have been the UK’s equivalent, the increasingly grimy Electrowerkz!

The line-up over the Synthpop Goes Berlin weekend, which included MESH, Marcus Meyn from CAMOUFLAGE in his new guise of M.I.N.E. and ADAM IS A GIRL on the second day, was an interesting one in that within the heartland of electronic music, it featured two UK acts which in itself must be seen as a sign of home-grown synth artists being able to hold their own against their European counterparts.

Opening act was NINA on vocals and synths, supported by her electronic percussionist Laura Fares.

The UK-based German solo artist made a breakthrough with her second single ‘My Mistake’ when it was picked up by Mercedes-Benz for an ad campaign. As a finale, the crowd was treated to a slowed down version of BLONDIE’s ‘Heart of Glass’ which was well received.

After a short changeover and a video introduction by Daniel Graves of AESTHETIC PERFECTION, next up was EMPATHY TEST; having seen the band a couple of years ago, it was interesting to see how they’ve developed both sonically and image-wise.

Gone thankfully is the bored-looking guy staring at his iPad along with vocalist Isaac Howlett’s inappropriate man-bun. Meanwhile musically, things have definitely ramped up a notch with the band’s newer material showcasing a welcome deviation away from some of their formulaic earlier music.

Newer tracks ‘Seeing Stars’ with its ‘Blasphemous Rumours’-style scissor sample and ‘By My Side’ were played alongside older material, with the B-side ‘Vampire Town’ being dedicated to London.

Unsung hero of the band was electronic percussionist Christina Lopez who provided some excellent visual interest amongst the synth prodding.

Along with headliners DE/VISION, their one-time label mates BEBORN BETON were the other veterans on the bill. ‘A Worthy Compensation’ was their 2015 return after 13 years off the electronic scene having made a breakthrough in 1996 with their fourth album ‘Nightfall’.

Comprising of vocalist Stefan Netschio, synth player Michael B Wagner and on synths/electronic drums Stefan ‘Till’ Tillmann, the band upped the energy level in the venue with a harder driven sound.

Visually there were some interesting things going on with Tillmann effortlessly switching between synths, a hand-held Arturia Beatstep (cleverly used as a MIDI controller) and a large set of white latter-day HUMAN LEAGUE style synth drums.

Next up was the DEPECHE MODE tribute act FORCED TO MODE, their positioning on the bill a testament to how popular some DM tributes have become, now that their real-life counterparts appear to have lost their way in their live delivery of their back catalogue. Opening with ‘The Sun & the Rainfall’ from ‘A Broken Frame’, it was interesting comparing the act with the real DM, with vocalist Christian Schottstädt making a perfect ‘Devotional’ period Dave Gahan with his longer hair, whilst the two accompanying musicians, although sounding good, would have had the purists scratching their heads at a couple of ways they delivered the songs.

Matthias Kahra played guitar on every song regardless of the fact of whether there was any on the track originally, and this came across rather odd on tracks such as ‘Shake the Disease’ and ‘Photographic’.

Meanwhile, synth player Thomas Schernikau utilised a rather lowly Yamaha SY85 which certainly wouldn’t have darkened the door of any Depeche track let alone appear on stage!

Ending their twelve song set with ‘Never Let Me Down Again’, the band nevertheless had the majority of the crowd singing along to the mix of singles and album tracks to provide a perfect warm-up for headliners DE/VISION.

Comprising of vocalist Steffen Keth and synth player Thomas Adam, the band were joined live by percussionist Markus Koestner on a full acoustic kit which unfortunately conjured up unwelcome comparisons with Depeche session player and drumhead Christian Eigner.

Opening with ‘In The Cold Light of Day’, the band’s set mainly consisted of tracks from last year’s album ‘13’, plus three from ‘Popgefahr’ before closing with ‘Your Hands on My Skin’ from their 1994 debut album ‘World Without End’.

The band themselves are highly respected in Europe and it’s easy to see why, with consistently strong songs and a melodic take on synthpop, they soon had the Berlin crowd eating out of their hands.

All-in-all this was a strong all-round synthpop bill; a perfect venue and a definite highlight of TEC’s trip to Germany… highly recommended.






Text and Photos by Paul Boddy
23rd February 2017

BEBORN BETON A Worthy Compensation

BebornBeton-AWorthyCompensationAmidst the flood of superb electronic music from Sweden, which has become the “new Germany” in the realms of synthpopia, few German bands are fighting on to keep their pedestals standing erect, or doing a great job of it.

BEBORN BETON formed in 1989 in Essen, and to date Stefan Tillman, Michael B Wagner and Stefan Netschio have enjoyed great success with numerous studio releases as well as remixes for DE/VISION, CLAN OF XYMOX, CAMOUFLAGE, IN STRICT CONFIDENCE, WOLFSHEIM and many others.

The band have kept everyone waiting since 1999 for the release of their latest album ‘A Worthy Compensation’, carefully planning, writing, engineering and producing the tracks with the help of celebrated producer Olaf Wollschläger, the very man behind the creations of MESH, YELLO, SEABOUND and IN STRICT CONFIDENCE. BEBORN BETON have immodestly hailed the production as “the best album we will probably ever make”, which raises the bar of expectations to the maximum for the “concrete” boys from urban Essen and promises to deliver a hearing experience like no other.

In such a fashion, the release is kicked off with ‘Daisy Cutter’ with its beefy synth and CAMOUFLAGE-like vocals of Netschio. Haunting and deep, monumental and marked, it is all laced with the “carousel of life” mark that the band want to portray in this production. ‘I Believe’ bears the stamp of the good old German electronica; untainted, magnificently programmed and produced, it is above all, musical and full of the melancholy so loved by the followers of the genre.

’24-7 Mystery’ speeds up into a dance track of the future, while ‘Anorexic World’ hits with poignant lyrics (“what if Jesus doesn’t care”, “we don’t mind at all this anorexic world is going down”) sung Steffen Keth style across the extravaganza of synth.

Taking its lead from CAMOUFLAGE, the title track emerges with futuristic images of a floaty world of tomorrow with an added dose of guitar and perfectly programmed drum patterns. A modern ballad of “the highs and lows, the happy moments”, the “carousel” has certainly now begun. ‘Last Day On Earth’ enters, grooming the listener with sensual male vocals painted on the canvas of consistently ingenious digital action.

A truly perfect electronic dance tune, ‘She Cried’ follows with a sharp club track feel. But a slightly predictable production can be fully excused, especially when there’s no time to stop dancing and getting lost in this uplifting harmony.

The first and only track performed in their native German, ‘Was Immer’ due to the choice of tongue, sounds as inviting as WOLFSHEIM’s gems. The track itself bears strong resemblance to Steve Naghavi’s performances on AND ONE’s ‘Virgin Superstar’; with wonderfully layered vocals, it embraces sensational synths and a skilfully constructed melody.

‘Terribly Wrong’ opens with the ominous “there’s something wrong with the world, I don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind”, but although something is “terribly wrong”, the track has a positive feel and brings a projection of hope while “standing at the edge of the world”.

Beborn BetonThe closing ‘Who Watches The Watchman’, while bearing a twisted title, promises some eerie content, which it indeed features on the track in bunches.

It has an eloquent musical substance covering a wide symphony of strings, drums, piano and elements of obscure synth interspersed with slight drum and bass. It is definitely a suitable track to round up the production.

There’s something earthy in German synth music, something which has been present since bands like CAMOUFLAGE, NEUROTICFISH, DE/VISION and WOLFSHEIM. This elusive element, when used by certain artists, makes them sound timeless and proves that Germany remains “über alles” in the electronic field. It may sound pompous and arrogant to call your creation ‘A Worthy Compensation’ and risk the obvious critique; however, the trio have hit the spot with this long awaited album.

The production bridges the pause between 1999 and now beautifully, with the songs having been written over many years and perfected to the point, where no more improvements could be made.

So, all in all, it is indeed “a worthy compensation” for the break in the Beton trade.

‘A Worthy Compensation’ is released by Dependent Records as a CD and download



Text by Monika Izabela Goss
16th September 2015