Sunday, 5 August 2012

Berlin's Post Punk Oddities

While recently searching for the electro-disco German group “Die Partei”, I happened across the amazing Berlin Post Punk Oddities (“PPOdd”). This gem of a blog is a very well researched, concise compendium of over 260 late 70s to early 80s underground bands who adhered to the minimalist abstract art punk/no wave/cold wave ethic of do-it-yourself (“DIY”) by not compromising their artistic and musical ethics.  I recommend putting some serious time aside to surf this blog, as there’s some really good weird stuff here.  It’s an educating experience, if not only for the music but also for Fil’s creative monikers.

PPOdd’s catalogue features an impressive and diverse scope of artists, ranging from Crammed Disk’s delightful Aksak Maboul’s “Modern Lesson”, to the truly ingenious Bernard Szjaner’s “Welcome to Death Row” (he invented the laser harp), falling head first into the dark cold wave of C.O.M.A.’s “Verre Etrange”, mixed up with the truly bizarre Nancy Sesay and the Melodaires “C’est Fab” and wrapping it up with the muddy, gritty Futurisk’s “Push Me, Pull You”.  Most notable are PPOdds’ gutsy DIY heroines, who were genuine trailblazers in their genres of music and performance styles, many of whom influenced me at that time (not saying who they are)!   I could go on forever but there are just too many to list here.  I’ll let you decide.

Silicon Teens

PPOdd’s family of artists are conveniently catalogued alphabetically.  This set up, is a well-organized, quick and easy way to find your way around and I appreciate how the pages load quickly and glitch-free.  Each band name includes a photo and short bio with a video clip and/or photos or slide shows accompanying a featured song.  Unfortunately, a few artist YouTube accounts have either been deleted or are private, but this doesn’t take away from PPodd.  While many are familiar, I was pleasantly surprised to discover lots of unknown bands who contributed to the 80s scene and without PPOdd, would go perpetually unnoticed.  What a delightful experience and a great way to discover neu old music! 

There’s lots of German bands here for the hopeless Kraut-Rock lover (that would be me), including an eclectic mix of minimal post punk, female art punk, dark cold wave/minimal synth and punky vox, with artists hailing from all corners of the globe from Eastern and Central Europe to the US,  Sweden to Australia and all the way to Japan.  As there was also a hub of action emanating from Belgium, PPodd has a generous sprinkling of Belgian groups, which I have a soft spot for.   Musical formats range from full LPS, to one-off 7” or 12” singles, mini-LPs, cuts from compilations, cassette tapes and lots of vinyl recordings converted into MP3, replete with scratches and pops.  Well-produced and withstanding the test of time, much of this music remains actuelle and futuristic today, thanks to new or re-releases.

Lemon Kittens
As I happily clicked away and turned up the sounds, I recognized many tunes which have been part of my rare import LP and cassette collection for many decades now.  I did a fast mental rewind to those great hectic, electric, endless nights partying and dancing in the clubs to these tunes.  Montreal’s nightclub DJs were very savvy and were always a step ahead of everyone else when it came to new music.  Club word travelled at the speed of light and everyone rushed out to get their new vinyl fix.  With lots of retail outlets available, it wasn’t hard to find stuff, but you had to get there fast, as these hot-off-the-press limited edition imports disappeared very quickly.  If you happened to miss the boat however, there was always someone who would make you a cassette copy.  Listening to and obtaining obscure music was a full time job! The discs weren’t cheap either, some of which ranged upwards of $30.00 a pop, which was a chunk of change back then but remain priceless and highly sought after now in this 21st century.

I hope you enjoy PPodd as much as I do, so do have a look.  Check back regularly for new adds to the catalogue.  Kudos to Armadeus Sacerpullus and Christian Kirchoff for taking the time to meticulously compile and chronicle these bands who, largely in part contributed and helped to sustain the 80s underground scene, Dadatek's Filtig and the superb web design of k-risc, as this impressive project is a truly Herculean feat! 

Ministry of Marriage


All rights of material republished/linked belong to the bands, labels, photographers.