Sunday, March 6, 2011
Der Plan, GERI REIG UND NORMALETTE SURPRISE
Ata Tak, 1996 (see review for individual release dates); available
33 tracks, 75:46
This handy compilation collects the first two LPs by German oddballs Der Plan. After a crazy debut single*, Moritz Rrr (aka Moritz R®; real name Moritz Reichelt) and Frank Fenstermacher hooked up with ex-DAF synthman Pyrolator (real name Kurt Dahlke). GERI REIG came out in 1980, and it was a strange mix of then-current new wave/synthpop, electronic no wave, and pure eccentricity. Der Plan apparently used toys and other non-traditional instruments in addition to synths. "Adrenalin Lässt Das Blut Kochen" starts things off with eerie minimal synth sounds, only to be followed by "Geri Reig"'s goofy electro-reggae-with-funny-voices. Pretty much everything on here falls between those two extremes, with some time left for musique concrete experimentation along the way. It's something of an acquired taste, but the music should take precedence over the weird vocals. Fast forward to 1981, and Der Plan released their second LP. Well, maybe LP is a stretch; NORMALETTE SURPRISE would probably be closer to a mini-LP by today's standards. The A-side consisted of twelve short tracks, ranging from the catchy "Leb Doch" and "Das Insekt" to the odd "Ich Bin Ein Komputer"; it also played at 33 1/3. The B-side consisted of only three tracks, played at 45, and was just barely over five minutes long! Considering this side has the eerie "Zurück In Die Atmosphäre", that's hardly a complaint. Musically, NORMALETTE SURPRISE is more traditional synthpop, but with a distinct twist. For this CD, Der Plan included three bonus tracks. The disturbing "Rot Grün Tot" is from the B-side of "Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel" (sadly not included, but worth finding!), while "8 1/2" and "Wir Werden Imme Mehr" are from the FIX PLANET! 7". This adds up to a lengthy exploration of the years when krautrock was giving way to Neue Deutsch Welle, and as such it's worth acquiring for fans of the more electronic side of new wave. There's quite a bit in common with the electro-no wave acts as well, so fans of that sound should consider investing in this as well. Maybe this will tell you if you want this or not: Think of a cross between early DAF and the Residents. Check back soon for a review of Pyrolator's solo album AUSLAND!
*The lineup for the single, oddly enough, consisted of Fenstermacher, Rrr, Chrislo Haas, and Robert Görl. Haas went on to DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses, while Görl stuck it out with DAF. This single is actually very close to a cross between early DAF and early Chrome. To drive the comparison home, PRODUKT DER DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHE FREUNDSCHAFT came out on Ata Tak as well!