Thursday, June 2, 2011
Grauzone - Grauzone (1981)***
For fans of: Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, Chris & Cosey, John Foxx
This album is incredible. It's definitely on the more rhythmic side of punk or new wave, so much so that it could easily be considered dance music. The first track "Film 2" might as well be a techno song. This album is so ahead of it's time, it's no wonder that there are only 100 ratings as I type this. I'd think that a band going out of their way to create something so "forward," with electronics mixed seamlessly with what you'd find in any punk album, would end up creating something a bit more difficult to get, but this album comes of to me as a darker version of what John Foxx was doing. It's in need of another reissue. - Matthew Foster
"The fact that Grauzone tried to find a new way of expression by stepping away from standard guitar-dominated punk but didn’t have unlimited musical abilities made them angry. That combined with an anger about a society that’s even more stagnant seemed to have created the atmosphere for the album.
A track like “Film 2” (with vocals so unobtrusive it could almost be called an instrumental) is minmal techno/electro/disco as well as postpunk/wave and even has a touch of dub.
The synth-arpeggio (don’t really hear a bass here) sounds threatening, the beat keeps going while some percussive hits and what sounds like a harmonica are like a horrorfilm version of Jamaica-sounds. Then that guitar joins like a keyboard-motif by John Carpenter, completing the song. And rhythmically it’s just damn tight. For that matter the track’s been played by famous cosmic Disco-DJ Baldelli back in the eighties by the way.
Not many bands would chose such a tune as an opener for their full length album...
Followed by the song “Schlachtet” – one of the three best tunes on the LP.
I listened to that song recently while the tv news were on. Comments about Hartz IV (state funded poverty in germany) combined with pictures of what I see around me everyday and then lines like “Die Kranken werden geschlachtet, die Welt wird gesund” (“The sick will be butchered, the world will be well”) left quite an impression.
“Hinter den Bergen” sounds like Dark Wave with a dubby touch (a bit similar to the effect Bauhaus achieved with “Bela Lugosi’s dead”).
“Kunstgewerbe” is another cool, short & minimalistic piece of electronic music.
“Der Weg zu zweit” always reminded me of Abwärts.
„In der Nacht“ is the very abstract end of the album. Again the vocals are mixed much in the background with reverb floating around the track." - DJ_Phoney