Boomkat Product Review:
Remastered and sounding better than ever, ‘Compiled 2.0 / 1981-84’ wraps up the most indispensible bits by Gudrun Gut and co’s all-female German post-punk unit Malaria! - effectively Berlin’s answer to The Slits or The Raincoats and one of the key Neue Deutsche Welle and post-punk units of the era.
Staking a ground zero for Berlin post-punk, Malaria!’s music was a product of the West side of the city’s scuzzy aesthetics and progressive politics. Gathering the powers of co-founders Gudrun Gut and Bettina Koster, plus Christine Hahn, Manon P. Duursma and Susanne Kuhnke, Malaria! hit the ground running with their eponymous debut 12” and soon after a support slot for New Order at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, leading them to tour venues across the world and become one of Berlin’s most distinctive and influential bands.
This comp spans Malaria!’s vital early years when their sound emerged as a mix of driving punk that veered from No Wave and NDW to skronky, dubbed out disco-punk mutations. Notably including material recorded at Studio Christoph Franke, the legendary Berlin facility behind classics by Tangerine Dream, the results have withstood the test of time thanks to the band’s mix of direct, experimental yet disciplined rawness and studio magick.
From that debut 12” you’ll find the martial swagger and honk of ‘Kämpfen Und Siegen’, and the wilder patchwork dub collage of ‘Dabo’ recalling Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Gray from the same era. Also from 1981, ‘How Do You Like My New Dog?’ is a killer bit of electroid deathrock scuzz, while ‘Pernod’ feels out a jazzy sorta No Wave sound akin to James Chance and The Contortions, and the rudely discordant, nerve-jangle disco-not-disco jagz of ‘Zarah’, ‘Geh Dischen’ and the sly pop brilliance of ‘Your Turn To Run’ cement the NYC connection in recordings made at the city’s Sorcerer Sound.