Tag: La Düsseldorf (Page 2 of 4)

RHEINGOLD Interview

Named after the opera by Richard Wagner, Düsseldorf’s RHEINGOLD were part of Die Neue Deutsche Welle movement which also included artists such as NENA, PETER SCHILLING and ALPHAVILLE.

Between 1980 to 1984, RHEINGOLD released three albums ‘Rheingold’, ‘R.’ and ‘Distanz’, all working with the legendary Conny Plank.

Led by Bodo Staiger, the band also featured his now-wife Brigitte Staiger on backing vocals and Lothar Manteuffel on keyboards.

Singing primarily in Deutsch, they also differed from their electronically driven contemporaries by having a more melodic vocal style and a distinctive rhythm guitar template.

Staiger starred in the 1982 West German horror film ‘Der Fan’ directed by Eckhart Schmidt which warned against the dangers of fanaticism, but RHEINGOLD never performed live so have almost become a forgotten band whenever the history of German pop is discussed.

However, the inclusion of 2010 reworkings from a ‘Best Of’ album of their domestic hits ‘Fluss’ and ‘Dreiklangdimensionen’ on the splendid ‘Electri_City 1_2’ 2CD compilation, released by Grönland Records, deservedly placed their work alongside LA DÜSSELDORF, HARMONIA, RIECHMANN, DAF, NEU! and DIE KRUPPS.

RHEINGOLD are certainly one of the most under rated acts from the German New Wave, but this year’s excellent new album ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’ was a fine return after an absence of original material for many years. Bodo Staiger kindly took time out to talk about the career of RHEINGOLD.

In 2010, you re-recorded the old hits like ‘Fluss’ and ‘Dreiklangdimension’, having also done the ‘Electric City – Düsseldorfer Schule’ 2007 covers album, so why was the time right for a brand new RHEINGOLD album?

There was a collection of about 50 songs / layouts over the last years and in 2014, I got back the lightness of playing guitars, so I felt that is the right time for a new album.

What was different about your approach to ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’ compared to your debut and ‘R.’?

Compared to the 80s albums, I have learned a lot about studio work, technology and production.

So this time, I knew exactly what I wanted and how RHEINGOLD should sound today without changing the style.

You give thanks to Karl Bartos in the ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’ album credits, how was he involved?

Karl is one of my best friends, we’ve known each other for a long time and I really appreciate his musical competence. Since I started to work on the selected songs, there were many telephone calls, MP3s and comments between us. Finally he wrote the lyrics for ‘Im Lauf der Zeit’ and ‘Weisses Licht’ for the new album.

The artwork also features some nostalgic photos including ones of you and Conny Plank who was involved in all the previous RHEINGOLD albums, what was he like to work with?

The photos document my musical journey – over time – starting in 1967 with a band called HARAKIRI WHOOM with a young singer called Marius Müller-Westernhagen, who today is a big rock star here in Germany and also the band SINUS with Karl Bartos, THE LILAC ANGELS and my own project RHEINGOLD.

Referring to Conny Plank, we met in 1970 and I recorded – with Marius and Karl – my first tracks with Conny that year were at the Rhenus Studio near Cologne. To work with him was always a pleasure, he was relaxed, very competent and had the talent to listen what the artist wants. And he also brought some good ideas and inspiration. For example, the percussive synth sound on ‘Dreiklangsdimensionen’ was his idea.

Like classic RHEINGOLD, there are several great instrumentals on this new record. Was the opening track ‘Kraut’ intended as a kind of statement?

Yes, of course.

‘Sternstaub’ is very electronic compared with other RHEINGOLD tracks, what inspired this?

When I digitalized our old 24 track tapes in 2010 and I found this song on a tape of the first album from 1980. I think because of the limitation of time on the vinyls, we didn’t use it. So I kept the original recording and mixed it 2016 in for the 1st time. But I forgot what inspired me 🙂

The wonderful ‘Paradieshafen’ sounds like OMD meets Michael Rother?

I take it as a compliment.

‘Theme ‘84’ recalls LA DÜSSELDORF, is it true you gave Klaus Dinger guitar lessons? What he a compliant student?

That’s correct, musically regards to Klaus. I don’t remember the guitar lessons, but I played a lot of sessions with Klaus at his studio Im Grund here in Düsseldorf… maybe I showed him some chords or licks and tricks.

Of the songs on ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’, which ones have become your favourites and why?

I can’t answer this question.

You disliked working with drummers and preferred drum machines, were there any particular reasons for this?

Since I got the Roland CR-78 drum machine in 1979, I liked the sound, the groove and tightness of this unit. But we also worked with a drummer – on ‘Fanfanfanatisch’ and ‘Das Steht Dir Gut’ from the second album ‘R.’

RHEINGOLD did not perform as a live band; do you ever regret this?

No, RHEINGOLD was always a one man band. I never thought about performing live.

How do you feel about the renewed interest in RHEINGOLD?

Well, we enjoy it. But let’s see the result end of the year.

What were your career highlights with RHEINGOLD?

The first years – ’81 to ’84 were our good times, TV shows and films and sales.

What is next for you, either as RHEINGOLD or with your other musical interests?

First of all, we’re trying to promote the new album and keep our Rheinklang studio going.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Bodo Staiger

‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’ is released in CD and digital formats by Lucky Bob Records / Soulfood

https://www.facebook.com/Rheingold-156171354461006/

http://3klangrecords.de/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
19th December 2017

ELECTRI_CITY – The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music

OMD’s Andy McCluskey said: “Musically we are much more the sons of Düsseldorf than we are the sons of Liverpool. KRAFTWERK, NEU! and LA DÜSSELDORF were so much more influential on us than THE BEATLES”.

Meanwhile ULTRAVOX’s Chris Cross adds: “Personally I would have loved to have been in a band like LA DÜSSELDORF” – First published in German during the Spring of 2015, Rudi Esch’s ‘ELECTRI_CITY – Elektronische Musik Aus Düsseldorf’ gave a fascinating insider’s account of the Germany’s influential post-war music scene which was centred around the city of Düsseldorf. The original book spawned an English language edition ‘ELECTRI_CITY – The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music’, two compilation albums released on Grönland Records and an annual music conference.

The third event in the series will take place on FRIDAY 27TH and SATURDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2017.

Among those performing live will be ANNE CLARK, ROBERT GÖRL, ARCTIC SUNRISE, STRÖME, ELECTRONIC CIRCUS and KATJA VON KASSEL, while JONATHAN BARNBROOK will be giving a talk entitled ‘Designing Bowie’. In addition, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK will be chairing a panel discussion with Zeus B Held and Chris Payne.

Rudi Esch came to prominence as the bassist of industrial trailblazers DIE KRUPPS whom he joined in 1988, but prior to that, he was in DIE ENGEL DES HERRN with the mercurial Klaus Dinger of NEU! and LA DÜSSELDORF fame.

The book takes an unusual format in that it features a series of parabites, pieced together from over fifty exclusive interviews, to tell the story of The Düsseldorf School and its cultural significance.

This makes the text easily digestible and is certainly a preferred layout compared to the more tedious documents that have been published about musik von die Bundesrepublik over the last few years.

Interviewees include Michael Rother, Klaus Dinger, Wolfgang Flür, Daniel Miller, Paul Humphreys, Andy McCluskey, Martyn Ware, Glenn Gregory, Chris Cross, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Giorgio Moroder and Rusty Egan who gives one of the funniest quotes: “To me, the Germans made cars and rockets. Mercedes and Messerschmitt were the names I knew before KRAFTWERK”.

“Düsseldorf is the capital of electronic music” says Esch, as he gives an account of how the Düsseldorf electronic scene developed from 1970 to 1986 with acts like KRAFTWERK, LA DÜSSELDORF, DER PLAN, LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, RIECHMANN, RHEINGOLD, PROPAGANDA, DAF and NEU!

In those early days, the choice of instrumentation was dictated by money. Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider-Esleben both came from affluent millionaire families, with the latter’s father a prominent architect who oversaw the redesign of the Cologne-Bonn Airport.

As expensive as synthesizers were back then, the more avant-garde types tended to prefer EMS equipment as it did not come with a keyboard, while those who liked melody opted for the Minimoog.

KRAFTWERK of course bought both! But as former member Ebehard Kranemann remembers “KRAFTWERK was not about the money, it was about the music”.

And with his Farfisa organ and its preset rhythm accompaniment, Hütter became fascinated with mechanical percussive templates and goaded their then-drummer Klaus Dinger with his proclamation that it was “the fastest drummer in the world”.

Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother were working class boys, which influenced their pursuit of a more organic approach and ultimately led to them flying the KRAFTWERK nest to form NEU! While Rother had the talent and an easy going manner, Dinger had ambition and his forthright tendencies did not win him many friends. “With Klaus, you never knew if he would give you a headbutt or an invitation to dinner…” says Wolfgang Flür, “…all in all, I didn’t like him”.

Dinger was explosive, confrontational and unpredictable. In KRAFTWERK, while Hütter and Schneider had their neon lit signs with their first names in blue, he wanted one with ‘Klaus’ in red! When Colgate offered to pay a substantial amount of money to use LA DÜSSELDORF’s hit ‘Rheinita’ in a TV advert, he declined. There was also the incident of him breaking journalist Konrad Schalensick’s nose following a negative review of their second album ‘Viva’.

The signs were there from the start, with Dinger playing rhythmic guitar alongside Rother’s melodic interplay, not satisfied with just being the drummer. So without Conny Plank to act as buffer and referee, NEU! would never have lasted for three albums. The silent partner in NEU! who recognised talent and created an atmosphere for musicians to experiment, Plank was without doubt a factor in the second side of ‘Neu! 2’ being filled with speeded up and slowed down variations of a previously issued single.

The thorny issue of KRAFTWERK’s treatment of Conny Plank is discussed in the book; “I don’t know where KRAFTWERK would be today if it wasn’t for Conny” says Hans Lampe, assistant to Plank and later to become a member of LA DÜSSELDORF.

However, Plank did accept 5000 Deutschmarks (a lot of money in 1974!) which bought him out of the co-producer credit on ‘Autobahn’ after it was licensed and edited for release by Capitol Records in America.

Another discussion point is Karl Bartos‘ contribution to KRAFTWERK as he wrote many of the melodies as ‘the kraftsman’. According to Michael Mertens of PROPAGANDA who was a conservatoire classmate: “Karl understood that to make popular music, you had to retain some degree of naivety”.

Classical music education played an important role and it appeared in the most unlikely of places. DAF’s Robert Görl had much in common with Karl Bartos and Michael Mertens, although Görl says: “Wir wollten lieber mit Maschinen arbeiten. We always preferred working with machines”.

During the post-punk period, just as Liverpool had Eric’s, Manchester had The Factory and London had The Blitz, Düsseldorf had a creative centre emerge around Die Ratinger Hof.

Affordable synths from Japan such as the Korg MS20 were a game changer for younger bands like DAF and DIE KRUPPS as they found their sound. However, there was an important distinction between synths and keyboards as Kurt Dahlke of DER PLAN and PYROLATOR explains: “I insist that I am never credited as a keyboardist on records. A keyboard player is some kind of all-round entertainer, sat at his keyboard using various presets. I insist on synthesizer”.

While KRAFTWERK were a reaction to the Americanisation of popular culture in Germany, the next generation of more forthright and aggressive acts like DIE KRUPPS and DAF were a reaction to KRAFTWERK.

Jürgen Engler mentions “I hadn’t bought a single KRAFTWERK album” while Gabi Delgado comments that “To me, KRAFTWERK were sounding too boring, too beautiful, too sedate and too sterile” and even adds “Sequencers and Moroder. That was more important for electronic music than the entire legacy of KRAFTWERK, NEU! and LA DÜSSELDORF”.

DAF’s preference for a militaristic aesthetic caused controversy and confused observers, but from the off, they were out to shock. They attracted a following which Gabi Delgado hated; his parents had escaped from the Fascist Franco regime in Spain. However, their early sequencer guru Chrislo Haas was less bothered and flirted with the ideology as a fashion statement.

Their manager Bob Giddens reckons “DAF kind of overdid it later on with their hyper-Germaness” and as they hit the peak of their success, Ralf Dörper reckons they disappeared in a haze of “Sex, drugs and sequencer”. Haas eventually left DAF and went on to form alternative club favourites LIAISONS DANGEREUSES in a charged partnership with Beate Bartel of MANIA D.

Of course, all this is only a small part of the story. The visionaries, technicians and eccentrics who played their part like the late Gunter Körber (A&R for Metronome and Brain Records who later founded the Sky label that issued key albums by Michael Rother and Wolfgang Riechmann), inventor Werner Lambertz and Florian Schneider’s sister Claudia also give their takes on the scene.

The book appropriately ends its coverage in 1986, when KRAFTWERK’s ‘Electric Café’ disappointed many and led to the departure of Messrs Flür, Bartos and eventually Schneider.

But fast forward to 2017 and Düsseldorf has come to terms with one of its biggest cultural exports and is now happy to celebrate the city’s influence on musicians and artists all over the world.

However, the final word has to go to the departed Klaus Dinger: “A lot of people may have helped themselves to the stuff we developed, and then made big bucks abroad. But nevertheless I’d go as far as saying: this was only ever possible in D-U-S, my home town Düsseldorf”.


‘ELECTRI_CITY – The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music’ is published by Omnibus Press, available via all good book and online retailers

https://www.facebook.com/Electri.city.Esch/

The ELECTRI_CITY_CONFERENCE takes place in Düsseldorf on FRIDAY 27TH and SATURDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2017 featuring ANNE CLARK, ROBERT GÖRL, STRÖME, ARCTIC SUNRISE, ELECTRONIC CIRCUS and KATJA VON KASSEL – for further information, please visit http://www.electricity-conference.com/

Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.de/e/electri-city-conference-2017-tickets-37245039917

https://www.facebook.com/ELECTRICITY.Conference/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
26th August 2017

RHEINGOLD Im Lauf Der Zeit

Between 1980 to 1984, RHEINGOLD were at the forefront of Die Neue Deutsche Welle, releasing three albums and achieving their first domestic hit ‘3klangsdimensionen’ in 1981.

Led by Bodo Staiger, the band also featured his now-wife Brigitte Staiger and Lothar Manteuffel who later formed ELEKTRIC MUSIC with Karl Bartos in 1992 and more recently, played keyboards with Peter Heppner of WOLFSHEIM Fame.

Although hailing from Düsseldorf like KRAFTWERK, LA DÜSSELDORF and DAF, RHEINGOLD differed by having a distinctive rhythm guitar template and more melodic vocals compared to their contemporaries, despite being electronically driven.

Preferring to sing in their own language, the trio attained other notable hit singles including ‘Fluß’ and ‘Fan Fan Fanatic’, before calling it a day after their third album ‘Distanz’ having never performed live.

Then in 2007, RHEINGOLD made a surprise return with a techno-flavoured tribute album to Die Düsseldorfer Schule entitled ‘Electric City’; it featured cover versions of songs made famous by KRAFTWERK, PROPAGANDA and LA DUSSELDORF among others, as well as some updated versions of their own tunes. This led to the 2010 ‘Best Of’ collection containing more conventionally re-recorded songs from the RHEINGOLD catalogue.

And now comes ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’, translated as “over time”, a brand new RHEINHOLD album that features a significant number of instrumentals but also lyrics by Karl Bartos, Uli Luciano and Brigitte Staiger alongside music played and produced by Bodo Staiger.

The opening number is the self-explanatory ‘Kraut’, a fine tribute to the 20th Century kosmische music forms that Germany has become famous for. The bouncy ‘Im Lauf der Zeit’ title song, featuring strummed and E-bowed six string, showcases an optimistic demeanour that more than expresses Bobo Staiger’s joy at his musical return.

‘Sehnsucht’ is not a cover of RAMMSTEIN but rich Compurhythm driven pop with ringing rhythm guitar reminiscent of THE CURE and atmospheric synths, while ‘Stromaufwärts’ does as its title suggests and paddles upstream in positivity with lovely backing vocals from Frau Staiger.

In an instrumental homage to the grand synth rock overtures of LA DÜSSELDORF, ‘Theme ’84’ slows down and shortens ‘Cha Cha 2000’. With some surprising fretless bass thrown in for good measure, it just cries Düsseldorf.

Back to vocals with ‘Energie’, RHEINGOLD homage themselves and in particular, ‘3klangsdimensionen’; it was a great and under-appreciated song so why not?

‘Ins Leben Zurück’ is a drum box laden rock ballad and perhaps doesn’t have the appeal of the other songs on the album, but ‘Weißes Licht’ gets things back on track in classic RHEINGOLD style.

Meanwhile, the melodic synth of ‘Paradieshafen’ drives along a beautiful instrumental that imagines a dream collaboration between OMD and Michael Rother before a fourth, more pulsating instrumental in ‘Sternstaub’; using a wholly electronic method of realisation, it closes the rather fine comeback album that is ‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’.

An album that sits well alongside DAS BLAUE PALAIS and their Düsseldorf inspired ‘Welt Am Draht’, this is a welcome return from RHEINGOLD and perhaps evidence that extended musical sabbaticals aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

Das ist gut…


‘Im Lauf Der Zeit’ is released in CD and digital formats by Lucky Bob Records / Soulfood

https://www.facebook.com/Rheingold-156171354461006/

http://3klangrecords.de/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th July 2017

DAS BLAUE PALAIS Welt Am Draht

Welt am Draht (2)DAS BLAUE PALAIS is the project of Düsseldorf based music veteran and Bellerophon Records co-founder Jochen Oberlack.

His aim was “to mash up Elektronische Musik and Krautrock – but straight from the view out of 2015, just to create a hybrid somewhere between HARMONIA, NEU! and LA DÜSSELDORF!”

Competent in guitar and drums, synthesizers, VSTs and antique drum computers were also brought into the mix by Oberlack to help accomplish his dream.

Co-produced by Mathias Black, the right hand man of Karl Bartos for ten years and engineer Rudy Kronenberger, ‘Welt Am Draht’ is an impressive attempt at relighting the past musical spirit of Die Bundesrepublik.

Jochen Oberlack3Now finally available in 2016, the album’s intent is signalled with the opening track ‘Oberbilk 80’, an optimistic and musically anthemic slice of space rock with guitars, drums and synths in equal measure. ‘Gegen Licht’ is classic Kosmische Musik in the vein of NEU! guitarist Michael Rother with the minimal six string chimes paying a respectful homage to the former KRAFTWERK member.

But things go off-piste slightly with ‘Himmels Geister’ which surprisingly takes on blues scales and comes across like Chris Rea, especially in Oberlack’s vocal delivery; it could be playfully subtitled “Die Straße zur Hölle”! Regardless though, it’s a likeable guilty pleasure.

Things get back on track with the instrumental ‘Silberwald’ and its echoes of Klaus Dinger’s LA DÜSSELDORFBut it is not, as might be expected, a tribute to ‘Silver Cloud’ but to the eponymous theme song from LA DÜSSELDORF’s debut long player, only with more synths and at a less frantic speed.

Welt am DrahtThe robotised title track returns to the melodic solo excursions of Michael Rother but adds a more energetic pace to the symphonic backing, before the Motorik driven ‘Zeitfeld’. This one recalls the cosmic vibes of ‘Für Immer’ from ‘Neu! 2’ and via its half speed guitar motif, provides the most retrospective moment on the collection. Finishing with the more sedate ‘Blauer Regen’, the tune is less homage and more blau, recalling British acts like OMD and ULTRAVOX whose influences were seeded from neu musik forms,

“It feels like ‘coming back to Düsseldorf’ for me” concludes Oberlack about ‘Welt Am Draht’ and certainly, his sonic adventures provide an entertaining and accessible modern twist to a highly regarded cult music form. It is certainly could be subtitled “Schöne Grüsse aus Düsseldorf”.


‘Welt Am Draht’ is released by Bellerphon Records as a vinyl LP+CD set and download, available from https://bellerophonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/welt-am-draht

http://www.dasblauepalais.de/

https://www.facebook.com/dasblauepalais/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th September 2016

ELECTRI_CITY 1_2

Elektronische Musik Aus Düsseldorf

German music has been compiled before, but it has often been a hit and miss affair.

Soul Jazz Records’ lushly packaged ‘Deutsche Elektronische Musik’ sets over two volumes contained a wide range of freeform experimental works from Der Bundesrepublik, but occasionally forgot about the Trade Descriptions Act implications of its title. Released to coincide with ‘ELECTRI_CITY – The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music’, the English translation of the acclaimed book by Rudi Esch about the city’s music heritage, ‘ELECTRI_CITY 2’ gathers together the more accessible elements of Deutsche Elektronische Musik, Kosmische and Neue Deutsche Welle.

Think of it as a direct journey of discovery, but with the benefit of a local tour guide as well. Issued by Grönland Records who handled the NEU! and HARMONIA remasters, the 2CD deluxe edition  ‘ELECTRI_CITY 1_2’ adds the first volume that came out in 2015 alongside the original German language book.

NEU! and DAF will probably be the best known acts of those included; produced by the legendary Conny Plank, both are more than well represented on ‘ELECTRI_CITY 1_2’. But with the proto-synthpop of ‘Isi’ and the proto-punk of ‘Hero’ from the former, alongside the electro-body controversies of ‘Der Mussolini’ and ‘Kebabträume’ from the latter, there are also many other acts who are worthy graduates of the school.

One of the most welcome inclusions is that of the under rated Neue Deutsche Welle trio RHEINGOLD. Both ‘3Klangsdimensionen’ and ‘Fluß’ are almost up there with great international crossover hits like PETER SCHILLING’s ‘Major Tom’.

But often, the German language was a barrier to wider recognition and apart from DAF, most of the material gathered here does not really break the lyric bank.

Those of Klaus Dinger from NEU! in particular are amusingly close to ranting gibberish, especially on the two brilliant offerings from his more synth driven combo LA DÜSSELDORF.

Missing though are KRAFTWERK; but with Ralf Hütter’s well-known defensiveness of the Kling Klang legacy, representation instead comes from former percussionist Wolfgang Flür and his autobiographical party piece ‘I Was A Robot’. There is also a special hidden cover of ‘Ruckzuck’ from THE TECHNOCRATS, a side project of Ralf Dörper, best known as a member of PROPAGANDA and DIE KRUPPS. Anyone getting as far as even listening to this set of compilations will probably have at least one KRAFTWERK album in their collection, so their absence is not really noticed.

As Andy McCluskey put it: “Whilst KRAFTWERK cement their position in the pantheon of the museums and the books, LA DÜSSELDORF and NEU! were very important. They also did something that was beautiful and different”. Of course, British acts like OMD championed the cause of Elektronische Musik aus Düsseldorf, eventually distilling the form into synthpop and even selling it back to Das Vaterland; in acknowledgement of that, a mysterious collective called MAKROSOFT cover ‘Electricity’ in a deadpan apocalyptic fashion.

Further evidence of cultural exchange comes with the 1976 HARMONIA & ENO collaboration ‘Luneberg Heath’, the effects of which were to later have a profound effect on DAVID BOWIE’s Berlin Trilogy of ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’. But the biggest surprise to many will be ‘Darling Don’t Leave Me’, a lost duet between DAF drummer Robert Görl and EURYTHMICS’ Annie Lennox which is a gloriously wiggly synthpop pleasure.

Diversity was one of the beauties of The Düsseldorf School Of Electronic Music and harder, edgier sounds emerged alongside more esoteric instrumental pieces. ‘Wahre Arbeit Wahrer Lohn’ and ‘Zwei Herzen, Ein Rhythmus’ from DIE KRUPPS show how much of a debt is owed to them by the Industrial music scene.

Meanwhile LIAISONS DANGEREUSES led by Beate Bartel (MANIA D, EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN, MALARIA!) and Chrislo Haas (DAF, DER PLAN) took Teutonic precision into the underground dance clubs with hypnotic numbers like ‘Etre Assis Ou Danser’ and ‘Los Ninos Del Parque’. However, those in the hunt for something even angrier will probably appreciate the more challenging platitudes of BELFEGORE.

With ‘Flammende Herzen’, NEU! guitarist Michael Rother opened his solo account to become Germany’s answer to Mike Oldfield while on ‘Karussell’, he also proved he could sound like a one-man ULTRAVOX. A former band mate of Rother’s, RIECHMANN is undoubtedly the great lost talent of the era; the lunar synth passages of ‘Abendlicht’ and the delicate melodic schaffel of ‘Wunderbar’ showcased his potential towards the musical magnificence that was never able to be fulfilled due to his tragic passing.

Of course, a vibrant art scene centred around Düsseldorf and provided a sympathetic environment for many to flourish. DER PLAN, TEJA and DIE LEMMINGE are good examples of that more experimental approach. PYROLATOR’s ‘Max’ in particular comes over like a Rhein-Ruhr version of THE NORMAL while ‘Mustafa’ by TOPOLINOS, a pre-PROPAGANDA girl group featuring Claudia Brücken and Susanne Freytag, is a jaunty, enjoyable piece of Middle Eastern flavoured avant pop that was not really a true indicator of what was to come.

All-in-all, ‘ELECTRI_CITY 1_2’ is as Rudi Esch puts it “an intelligent and sophisticated roller coaster ride through one of the most integral chapters of recent German music history”. A fine collection of cathartic expressionism, the 29 tracks on offer provide a fine entry point into a fascinating post-war attitude that resulted in a highly influential musical aesthetic.

CD1
01 LA DÜSSELDORF Düsseldorf
02 RIECHMANN Wunderbar
03 HARMONIA & ENO Luneburg Heath
04 DER PLAN Wir Werden Immer Mehr
05 DAF Der Mussolini
06 NEU! Hero
07 TEJA Säuren Ätzen
08 DIE KRUPPS Wahre Arbeit Wahrer Lohn
09 LIAISONS DANGEREUSES Los Ninos Del Parque
10 WOLFGANG FLÜR I Was A Robot
11 RHEINGOLD 3Klangsdimensionen 2010
12 MICHAEL ROTHER Flammende Herzen
13 MAKROSOFT Electricity

CD2
01 RIECHMANN Abendlicht
02 NEU! Isi
03 RHEINGOLD Fluss
04 ROBERT GÖRL featuring ANNIE LENNOX Darling Don’t Leave Me
05 DIE KRUPPS Zwei Herzen, Ein Rhythmus
06 TEJA SCHMITZ Studieren
07 DAF Kebabträume
08 PYROLATOR Max
09 LA DÜSSELDORF La Düsseldorf
10 BELFEGORE Mensch Oder Gott
11 DER PLAN Gummitwist
12 LIAISONS DANGEREUSES Etre Assis Ou Danser
13 TOPOLINOS Mustafa
14 DIE LEMMINGE Himmel
15 MICHAEL ROTHER Karussell
16 THE TECHNOCRATS Ruckzuck (Hidden Track)


‘ELECTRI_CITY 1_2’ is released by Grönland Records as a deluxe 2CD edition. Each compendium is also available separately as a CD, double vinyl LP and download

https://groenland.com/en/artist/electri_city/

ELECTRI_CITY The Dusseldorf School Of Electronic Music‘ELECTRI_CITY – The Düsseldorf School of Electronic Music’ by Rudi Esch is published by Omnibus Press on 26th August 2016.

Book launch events featuring Q&A sessions with Rudi Esch and special guests to be announced include: London Rough Trade East (10th September), Brighton Hotel Pelirocco (11th September), Liverpool Cavern (9th November), Birmingham and Midland Institute (12th November), Manchester Palace Hotel (13th November)

Please check https://www.facebook.com/Electri.city.Esch/ for details

This year’s ELECTRI_CITY_CONFERENCE takes place at Düsseldorf CCD on 14th – 15th October 2016

http://www.electricity-conference.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ELECTRICITY.Conference/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
17th August 2016, updated 1st July 2017

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