Monday, August 27, 2007

I Am a Donut!

Even avoiding the obvious, a rather intimidating people...

Well, after four long months of straight flux, here I am in Berlin. To celebrate the occassion, and get everyone in a Deutsche uber alles kinda mood (in a good way, people - jeez...) I thought we should indulge in some o' the finer musical contributions made in recent deacdes by this stalwart nation. (Remember, it's only 18 years old in its current manifestation!) I've chosen to focus on - surprise - the rock idiom, otherwise I'd just upload the complete works of Strauss, Stockhausen, etc. And sorry, kids, but I can't fuckin' stand techno, so no anthems from the Love Parade, no remixes by Alec Empire, not even any of Holger Czukay's recent work.

"チョト マテ," you cry. "Some of these cats ain't even German! What gives?!" Well, let's establish everyone's Deutsche bona fides, shall we...

~Kraftwerk: 'nuff said.
~Einsturzende Neubauten: could you ask for a more perfect embodiment of the stereotype of Germans as angry, obtuse destructobots with souls the shade of slate?
~CAN: best German band ever, despite the fact they came from Cologne. I almost wanted to upload Tago Mago and call it a day.
~Tom Waits: this song was taken from his music for the theatrical production Alice, originally produced (in collaboration with director Robert Wilson) in Hamburg, back in '92.
~The Fall: Aside from being an early acolyte of experimental German rock (at least before Johnny Rotten started name-dropping Can), Mark E. Smith spiced his shambolic rants with more German (Wermacht! Gestalt! Gotterdamerung!) than any other post-punk polemicist.
~Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Cave and his former band, the Birthday Party, were so integral to the underground music scene of '80s Berlin that director Wim Wenders made the Bad Seeds his municipal musical representatives in the climactic scene of Der Himmel Uber Belin (a.k.a. Wings of Desire).
~Wall of VooDoo: Stan Ridgway's use of drum machines and sprechesang was hugely influenced by Kraftwerk. Other than that, I'll admit these cats have more to do with Mexico than Germany.
~Primal Scream: Krautrock has remained a perennial influence on this motley gaggle of Brits, especially Can. A sample from their "Hallelujah" provides the rhythmic backbone to his standout from 1997's Vanishing Point.
~David Bowie & Brian Eno: Probably the most famous expat artist to have resided in Berlin, the "landlocked island," Bowie was so inspired by the city's simmering friction & disquieting history that he produced three of his most significant albums there. This song, recorded during the same sessions as the genius Low album, is just about my favourite thing that either he or Eno have produced.
~Kurt Weill & Bertol Brecht: I mean, come on. This is classic.
~Iggy Pop: Though overshadowed by Bowie's Berlin trilogy, I think The Idiot is a watermark achievement for both musicians. (Bowie co-wrote & produced the record when the two of them decided to hit Berlin - then the heroin capital of Europe - to get clean.) Bowie knicked all of Eno's best tricks for some truly icy, uneasy production, whilst Iggy mined some of the deepest pits of spiritual depletion ever committed to tape. In brief: some epic shit, yo.

Just click on the title to get the mix:

Ze Germans Are Coming!

1. Kraftwerk - "Ruckzack" (00:00)
2. Einsturzende Neubauten - "Zum Tier Machen" (07:45)
3. CAN - "Another Night" (10:50)
4. Tom Waits - "Kommienezuspadt" (16:20)
5. The Fall - "Faust Banana" (19:26)
6. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "Saint Huck" (24:28)
7. Wall of VooDoo - "Factory" (31:46)
8. Primal Scream - "Kowalski" (37:19)
9. David Bowie & Brian Eno - "All Saints" (43:05)
10. Kurt Weill & Bertol Brecht - "Moritat und Schlußchoral" (46:35)
11. Iggy Pop - "Mass Production" (49:55)

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