Archive for the ‘element of crime’ Category

blue is one of many colours: element of crime II

April 21, 2008

slowly transitions took place, starting maybe with freedom, love & happiness, continuing on the record the ballad of jimmy and johnny, which had already a german song on it – then in retrospect it seemed like they (consciously?) ended the “english period” with their live album crime pays.

and then they dropped damals hinterm mond: wow. blue was suddenly one of many colours, although still a dominant one, but a soft blue: melancholy substitued the grittyness, suddenly their records were not the soundtrack to cold winternights, but to warm summernights. it seems they discovered a musical tenderness – also using an even wider range of instruments, most notably the accorddeon. and yes, somehow they took up the tradition of the german music of early to mid 20th century – yes, i am thinking of kurt weill. they actually played already in 1990 (?) a special concert with kurt weill songs in the french part of switzerland – together with the great the young gods (this foreshadows what’s to come soon on this blog). parallel to the music becoming very unique, incorporating a tradition that at the time many (not milva, of course) neglected in german rock music, the lyrics, now sung in german, became actually, well, literature (which had the funny side effect of element of crime being extremily popular with a german literature university crowd). this development one could also follow live: from rock concert their concerts evolved more and more into something like a ceremony.

so a couple of always more successfull albums later they are actually one of germany’s most respected rockbands – already a true classic. should you have missed their developement and would like to catch up, i propose you visit der likedeeler ( by the way: he just posted that older german über-band, ton steine scherben – also highly recommended – and be sure to snoop around in his blog a little bit: some stunning stuff to be found…).

in the meantime, i propose you another live recording out of my vault, this time from 1993 (when they published weisses papier). the difference is already remarkable compared to the concert from 1988 i posted earlier (and then compare it to the köln concert from 2006, which you can also find at the above mentioned link). the concert was recorded from radio to tape – i in turn ripped it into 6 files – the first 2 files are the concert, the 4 others are the encores – well, i had to cut it quite often, but there are still snippets of the announcers – they just didn’t stop talking…

i would like to point out that part 3 is just one track: ofen aus glas – yes, this one is for you, A.

element of crime, live at the schüür in lucerne, switzerland, on april 17th, 1993. enjoy!

further i would like to point out that you will them hear playing ich will von dir verhaftet sein – but sung in french: dicte-moi la loi. and another song they also played at this concert is surabaya johnny, a brecht / weill composition from their musical happy end. and with this song we loop back to sein, end this post and already introduce the next one:

nervous and blue: element of crime

April 19, 2008

we stay basically blue. and we stay with german liedgut, referring to the cut off german culture of the early 20th century. well, not straight away, but believe me, we’ll get there. and i get now the chance to fullfill part one of a request (hello H!).

the band that would later become a flagship of german sung music, the band element of crime started with english lyrics (although i remember that they have been critzised for the thick german accent – which i found always very fitting).

while we had something of a “juicy blue” in the last post with sein, we have now a rather cold, grey blue. the mood is rather gritty and also more laconic. let’s blame that on moving from the more alpine zürich to the nordic berlin. or from moving from a town where you actually see a lake and the mountains to the big city where there is just…city around you. a city in winter, the cold creeping into old buildings.

element of crime usually insisted on being a rock band – and to a degree this is true, but maybe also a little bit misleading: they were less rocking then, but, hm, rolling, maybe? well, they oscillated in the early years between nervous and blue (actually the first song i heard of them) – remembering me at times of early talking heads, just a lot bluer. and like the talking heads, they actually covered take me to the river on their first record. and while the version of the talking heads on stop making sense is actually a funky monster, the version of element of crime is a rather naked one. still funky, but more timmy thomas then al green. and after all these years (it came out in 1986) i still think it is a very good record, this first record, called basically sad, and it had also a great cover.

as mentioned above, i got aquainted with element of crime through their second record, try to be mensch, which gained them some more recognition, having something of a hit on it, the aforementioned nervous and blue. one reason for the (international) recognition was certainly that this record has been produced by mister john cale.

then the blue got a little bit lighter – still laconic, the grittyness disappeared a little bit to make space for some irony – also reflected in the title and cover of their third record: freedom, love & happiness.

and here we stop for now – more will be in a secod post. but before that second post we will make a little detour…

in the meantime you can visit the band’s website and do some homework.

oh, and if you thought i leave you without some music you are very wrong. i actually have something very special for you: from 1988 (the year freedom, love & happiness came out), recorded at the jugendhaus in the pretty little town of zug in switzerland (known for its low taxes, right) comes a live recording of element of crime (and i checked: they did not use that recording for their live recording crime pays). yep, compared to more recent ones this is noisier – and also the audience is quite noisy, which is actually kind of nice. element of crime did have to convince them, obviously – and managed to do so – and they ended up playing quite a lot of encores. taped from radio, i ripped the tape as two mp3 files (@ the usual 224). and yes, nervous and blue is also on it (but not take me to the river, i’m afraid).

so here you get element of crime live at the jugenhaus zug in 1988. enjoy!

and then i do have a request myself: if anybody has a recording of EOC playing Kurt Weill (at the festival la batie) – i’d love to get my hands on a copy.