Boomkat Product Review:
Oh my days, this is choice! Bureau B dive into Düsseldorf’s underground scene during the ‘80s and come up with an amazing collection of wayward, feral/ferric and deeply trippy electronic music that may have lain by the wayside without the label’s excellent efforts in preservation. We direct you to the likes of Konrad Kraft’s spikily playful F, the wind-powered kralutrock of The Beginning by Frigorex, and the downward spiral of Dino Oon’s Nr.6 and you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. Recommended to any and all fans of weird, whacked out and abstract ‘80s electronics
“Post-war apartments dominated the views of Düsseldorf in the early 1980s - cement slabs, the "art bunker" known as the Kunsthalle, and the elevated railway called "The Millipede". Yet reconstruction was in full swing - bank buildings on the "Kö" received postmodern interiors, the old town became stylishly retro-rustic, and advertising agencies displaced industrial companies. Music took all of this on. Punk was finished, but its pathos drifted through pubs and shared flats. At the same time, synthesizers, due to digital electronics, had become increasingly affordable. This music pushed ahead slightly in order to dock onto the electronic sounds of the 1970s krautrock. But most chose the detour via records by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, or the more unfamiliar experimental sounds on the The Elephant Table Album compilation (1983).
Cassettes from labels, like Klar! 80, were available on Aachener Straße. LPs, like those found at Pure Freude on Derendorfer Straße, were also available. This shop served as an umbrella for the disparate strands of the electronic side of post punk. Almost all artists on this compilation could be seen there. Perhaps that is why the encounter with "Electronic Cassette Music" seems like a glimpse into a mysterious parallel world. Indeed, everyone knew of each other, but often only as a name. Kurzschluss was Catherine Ledit's project. Where her threatening pads had an almost meditative character, Dirk Grützmann's Le Petit Mort drew listeners into virtually occult scenarios, not far from Current 93. Ledit and Grützmann later collaborated as the duo Temps Perdu?. Trance, as propagated by Chris & Cosey, could have been the inspiration behind the duo Wooden Barrows.
Isolated searching found expression in forms of deviant sexuality - a leitmotif in those days. It's astonishing how subtly many of the pieces exemplify this movement. It's almost terrifying on the track by Strafe Für Rebellion when a voice whispers "the cashbox is empty" and a staccato rhythm replaces the ticking of a clock. Ralf Dörper, on his way to international success Propaganda, saw ADD preferring him trapped in a nightmare. The cassette generation did not bother crossing over to pop music. They were pioneers of a music which would develop into drone, ambient or hypnagogic. Features: Konrad Kraft, Deux Balaines Blanches, Ettlinger, Mentocome, Frigorex, Dino Oon, Pfad Der Tugend, Kurzschluss, Wooden Barrows, Le Petit Mort, Strafe Für Rebellion, Maria Zerfall, and ADD.”