Archive for July, 2008

witchcraft

July 12, 2008

so – this is the last post with music from the swiss underground in the 1980s for the time being. well, i will present later on two other bands… yes, the two from geneva. to finish in beauty i have something very special. it was interesting to find out that the vylllies are maybe the band from that period that is the most popular with music blogs – i found all of their records loaded up on quite a number of blogs from all corners of the world. this is rather ironic, then although they were in their time pretty successfull, they also met with a lot of criticism – rather dumb critcism which tended to infuriate me at the time – but hey, this time history whacked these critics right (and who remembers pretentious oh-my-god-we-are-so-arty-unkownmix? huh? allright, this goes back to an old story… pardon me).

true, the vyllies were different. in many ways. of course visually (these strange things on their heads for the cover of lilith, for example), and also musically. usually described as dark-goth or something like that, i would propose the term baroque electronic witch-pop. drum machines, strong synths and very specific singing were the trademarks of the vyllies. and it is interesting, relistening to their music, how they already had a certain loop-based aesthetic – although at the time one had to work rather with tape loops… and yes, the goth-thing is true in their music having an eery quality – gently scary. you know, witches…

for a first listen you can visit their myspace site – and if you like what you hear, you can visit this blog (linked to from the vyllies) to download all of their records. yes, this greek connection still seems to work (they published their first record on a greek label).

and now, yes, i did find it (see the preceeding post), the promised special thing: the vyllies live! a first live recording comes from the ch rock festival in bern in 1985, containing three songs, which you can get here. and then, from just a couple of months later: the vyllies live at the jazzfestival montreux 1985 – the full concert including the encore. yes. get it here.

and now excuse me – there is a concoction brewing on my stove…

techno? techno!

July 12, 2008

while digging through all these old tapes, looking for something (that i did find – see the following post), i also came across another recording where i stopped and asked myself: what is this? i had absolutely no memory of that. so i pop the tape in – and hey, this is fun! at the time der zivilschutz defined their music as techno – or more precise as schwingdeinbeintechno (swingyourlegtechno). but we write the year 1986, so techno meant something else. but it is definitly electronic, and definitly very danceable. to about the same parts influenced by the likes of daf and front 242 and ndw it makes for an entertaining mixture. very up, and i do like the fact that one band member was a trombone player (partly triggering synthesizers with it). and i do like their humour – although the lyrics are sung in high german and breath that cold war chic, thanks to the rather thick swiss accent and that very specific humour and of course the bandname it has for me a very strong swiss flavour. which in this case is a very good thing (this was less the case with late mittageisen – but i digress). they even had a radio hit back in the days called sex with you.

to my amazement i found out that since the beginning of this year they do exist again. and i do find it interesting that these days there seems to be the urge again to make this kind of music with this kind of lyrics. as you can hear on their myspace site, the new tracks sound more like the later front 242. i have to admit that i am not yet sure if this is a good thing. but i also have to admit that i do like the lyrics. so far i prefer the live recording i’ve found – partly because it is always fun to find some forgotten pearls and certainly also because it has his kind of raw live-energy. and because it has one of the oddest ends of a live show. so, if you want a good 30 minutes of danceable fun, then i suggest you get der zivilschutz, live at the ch rockfestival, bern in 1986 here (2 mp3 files, fm broadcast ripped from tape). and now it is time to swing your legs to the beat – techno? techno!

monsieur echère

July 11, 2008

one man, coming out of the swiss underground of the 1980s made it to stardom. starting out with his brother martin in some punk band(s), then forming together with marco repetto grauzone and making a really great record, having a hit with eisbär, and then starting a solo career. first just him, his guitar and a rack full of machines, playing some kind of electrified rock ‘n roll, then slowly evolving into a pop star in switzerland and france. yes, mister stephan eicher. i used to be a really big fan of his, especially of his first lp les chanson bleues (and who was the engineer? yes, voco fauxpas…). this seemed like a possible future of rock ‘n’ roll. a couple of lp’s later i, hm, kind of lost sight of him. well, i couldn’t connect to his music anymore. but i think that his most recent record, eldorado, is actually a really good pop record. and let’s face it: he was and still is the most stylish swiss musician. and he used to have the most stylish women at his concerts, back in the days. so you might know his newer work – therefore i propose you something from the beginning, stephan eicher’s second ep, souvenir.

still influenced by the sound of grauzone, the influence of chanson (the great ce soir je bois – tonight i drink, drink to the women who did not love me… to the ones that left me… and so on) is already there. and it contains the first record of les filles du limmatquai – the underground hit of the time. yeah! get it here.

picture by Melanie Rademacher

picture by Melanie Rademacher

and then – from a couple of years later and as a special treat, a live recording of his, a fm broadcast, ripped from tape from his concert at the jazzfestival montreux in 1986, still just him, his machines and a piano. you get the full concert with 2 encores, the first one is the aforementioned les filles du limmatquai, and the second a pretty daring medley… well, just have a listen for yourself! enjoy!

and for more up-to-date information i recommend you visit his website.

the other classic

July 11, 2008

yes, for the completeness of it and because it is rather charming, although i never was that much into their music, here liliput’s die matrosen / split single. and yes, their record company was rough trade – and yes, they still get name dropped quite frequently. so for that next time somebody does that you have an idea what they’re talking about. and relistening to it i have to admit that die matrosen is a real good summer track…

as promised…

July 11, 2008

…here the band with voco fauxpas as official member – to my knowledge the only band with him as official member. and i have to post that song in any case – one of the really great, classic tracks. blue china – visitors never come alone:

and more blue china you’ll find over at weird cheese.

allright, the cover might be not the best…

July 11, 2008

…but the music is good. red rain coat, a band from lucerne, started out as some kind of goth band. not unlike the cure, who were certainly an inspiration to them, the goth thing hid the fact that they basically wrote really good pop songs. so their first single in between the fronts is pretty melancholic with jangling guitars. then they changed over the years to a guitar pop band that published two albums and one ep. so here you get their first single, in between fronts, and here you can get their ep, where ever. it is interesting to note that they cover bronski beat’s smalltown boy on this record. ivo bättig, the former singer/ guitarist has (already since 3 records) a new project, called aerodrum – for more info and a listen you can visit their website.

young & cute

July 11, 2008

aaahhh – what a sweet cover. this one is really for the collectors: hungry for what were a quite clash-alike rock band in the 1980s in switzerland. as you can read in this post over at weird cheese, the preceeding band was a punk band called sozz. but something hardly anybody knows is that there was a band inbetween: the last romance. and yes, they even managed to put out a single… solid garage rock – well, nothing too exciting, to be honest. but a nice one to brag about and showing off your in-depth knowledge and, you know, with a really sweet cover… get it here.

back to biel / bienne: the mod-on

July 10, 2008

i’ve seen the mod-on live a couple of times: somewhat nervous garage-rock with saxophon, as much as i remember. and when i went through my old stuff i found a 7″ by them which out of curiosity i listened to. and well, it’s actually a rather cool little piece of music. and although the cover looks a little bit like joy division, they tuned their guitars rather to the sound of the clash. to my knowledge they never have been very popular and then disappeared again… but here they are again – get the mod-on 7″ before the scream / silent ghosts here. enjoy!

while we’re at it: the alarm live 1984

July 9, 2008

yep, that was the other tape i listened to quite often at about the same period: the alarm live in switzerland in 1986. i do not know which of the two concerts it is (thanks to this homepage i found out that there were two). it is a rather short one, but then either montreux or zürich örlikon would have been short, since they would have been both openers… well, it doesn’t really matter, i guess. i have to admit that for the rest i was never a great fan of the alarm – i did not even know that they exist again…

for an ear full of how the alarm sounded live in 1984 you can go here. if you want to have a preview how they sound today i propose you visit their homepage. enjoy!

and yes, they had quite an interesting visual style at the time…

these guitars… smirnov

July 9, 2008

it is like certain roots: one pulls and more and more comes out of the ground. by searching for all that old swiss stuff i also came across a tape i had forgotten, although i did listen to it at the time very often. geographically we stay in geneva, but make quite a jump musically. in a way it seems to me when reading / hearing about music of the 1980s that most people forget that there was also a new sound that was rather popular – in the underground and then becoming mainstream. that specific sound of sharp, singing, driving guitars and a somewhat hymnic songwriting. yeah, you could count u2 in that category, and maybe echo and the bunnyman, on the more folksy side the alarm and maybe the waterboys – and then of course the really big ones: simple minds. and then there was also a band in geneva that obviously loved this kind of sound. and knew how to make it. you’ll find these swirring (this is onomatopoetic, allright) guitars, driving drums, dicreet synthesizers, a good singer and great songs. but well, somehow it was not working in the sense that it seemed to be a very short-lived band – i remember that i tried at the time to get some information about this band – the only thing i found out was that they seemingly had to change their name from smirnoff to smirnov – yeah, that is essential information, i know. and up to this day i do know nothing about them except for the recording of this concert – which must be from 1984 (but not even about that i’m completely sure). and although i forgot about them, relistening to this live-tape makes me aknowledge that i also listned to good music back in the days – still a really nice set.

if anybody has some more information – please let me know. and now i highly recommend that you get smirnov, live at the kursaal biel / bienne here. enoy!

helvete underground: copvlation

July 8, 2008

great name, great cover. same label like abt 409, same sound engineer, same drummer – and the singer sounds very similar, too. the music as well – a very similar kind of industrial square funk. but this time with a guitar, which makes it more…nervous, jittery. i never found out in what relation these two bands stood – but copvlation was certainly the better known, played more live-shows and having – if i remember this correctly – also a couple of tracks on different underground samplers. so if you liked the music from the post before, i guess you just have to listen to this one, too. this time it is a full lp (8 tracks), but also this time dynamically ripped from vinyl. you can get copvlation here. and again: enjoy!

helvete underground: abt 409

July 8, 2008

back to the swiss underground in the 1980’s, travelling across the country, from one border town, basel, to the other border town, geneva. the genevan label helvete underground published a couple of very interesting records during the 1980s of very interesting, although i think quite forgotten bands. one record of this label i actually posted already. one of these i think also very shortlived bands was abt 409. again i do not know too much about them – but i have them seen live. a lot of raw energy, kind of a controlled rudeness – the attending punks were very impressed. so was i. the music is kind of square and hard – but thanks to the drumming and the bass with its metallic sound pretty funky. just that you don’t get the wrong idea: abt 409 consisted of drums, bass, bass, and voice. right, two times bass, no guitar. and you’re not even gonna miss it. and it explains the deep pressure of the music. the first track on the second side, eye witness, was for me just a hit. it actually still is. nothing i know about the band members – well, they were are also using rather…err…kryptic names. but two names on the sleeve are very much familiar and worth noting: roli mosimann for the production. yeah, that explains the tight drum-sounds. it’s a very crisp production anyway. and voco fauxpas as engineer – voco fauxpas might be one of the most often listed names on (not only) swiss underground records during the eighties – we get back to him in a later post…

so – the abt 409 ep, ripped from vinyl you can get here. there is a slight confusion regarding the tracklist – i tagged the tracks according to the record label, not the sleeve (this concerns track 1&3). highly recommended. enjoy!

bite hard

July 8, 2008

scott treleaven, the salivation army black book (p. 196)

when time becomes a loop

July 8, 2008

i have been reminded these days of a post i made last summer:

“i don’t care – it is music, which makes, when you come home in the evening after a day that took its toll and you had to deal with a somehow surprisingly small-minded world (yes, and you have been taken by surprise, again), just by listening to it, a good day.”

although the circumstances are rather different, the feeling of today echoes my sentiments of then. hmmm… and i do repeatedly listen to a record which touches me similar to the way melnyk’s kmh does – it is funny, but james blackshaw‘s new record seems really like a brother to lubomyr melnyk‘s record – it is the same attitude of these artist towards music, i think… as a really interesting coincidence, also this record is up on the cookshop. yeah – when time becomes a loop… so say thank you over at the cookshop and do not miss this music because there are times when you need beauty.

the sweet sound of a drill in my head

July 6, 2008

we stay in the basel region, we stay in the period, we stay obscure – but take it musically quite a bit further… musically? i remember that listening to the tape zugeschlagen by hirnschlag was the moment where certain members of my family that witnessed me listening to it thought it possible that i lost it…that i have some serious mental problems.

not that this music is hard – it is…annoying. not annoying in the sense of certain other music (like maybe certain stuff by crisitian vogel), that is annoying because it is complex and is not willing to hide it, but annoying as as a central aspect of its aesthetic. there is a drum machine tic-tac-ing through it, there are screeching noises, some obviously generated by a guitar, some generated by – whatever. and then to top it off add some distorted voices, ridiculous, hysterical, and snippets of news-broadcasts strewn in from time to time. and i have to admit in a wicked way it’s fun – to a degree because it is nearly pointless music: it is neither pleasant, nor hard, nor pure noise. it is amazingly consequential in making sure to annoy a wide range of listeners. but it works. it works for me like a treatment: after listening twice 30 minutes to that, any music you listen to afterwards will be recontextualized. so if you are in for an aural experience that is interesting exactly because it is dis-pleasing then you get hirnschlag: zugeschlagen here. it is ripped from the original tape release as two mp3’s, for each side one. and you get also the complete scan of (again) the very nice fold-out cover.