Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Ata Tak, 1981; available with bonus tracks
CD: 20 tracks, 68:43
Pyrolator's name has shown up a lot here. A founding member of Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft AND a long-term part of Der Plan, the man otherwise known as Kurt Dahlke has had a big hand in the development of German new wave and post-punk. AUSLAND was his second album, following the minimal masterpiece INLAND*. For this gem, Dahlke recorded all the synth and drum machine programming into a proto-MIDI unit called the Brontologik. He then invited other musicians to add elements over the basic electronic tracks. What resulted was a varied blend of accessibility and quirkiness, with individual songs going from minimal synth to catchy electro-pop to almost no wave and everywhere in between. The majority of the tracks feature guest vocalists, ranging from the catchy to the almost grating. Other guests include Dahlke's co-conspirators in Der Plan and Frederik Nilsen from the LAFMS on "cross-string guitar"! Musically, it sounds much more high-tech than Der Plan; the synths dominate the proceedings, all sounding gloriously vintage nowadays. The instrumentals, such as the groovy "Elefantendisco" and the potent "180°", are the most effective pieces of music. Still, vocal tracks like the charming "Mein Hund", the trancey "Du Bist So... Ich Träume", and the wild "Die Haut Der Frau" are quite enjoyable! There's even time for sound collage with the odd "True Love". Eight bonus tracks round out the package. Some of these sound like outtakes from INLAND, and reflect that album's minimal electronic genius; I'm particularly fond of "Danger Cruising Part 2". Others are firmly connected to AUSLAND, and these are some of the best tracks on the disc! The closing "Programm No. 1" is particularly great, being a live performance with Fenstermacher on vocals. If you enjoy DAF and Der Plan, as well as no wave and the more out-there realms of synthpop, AUSLAND should be a part of your collection. If you have trouble finding it, try Ata Tak direct (they also sell the previously reviewed Der Plan compilation).
*INLAND is much harder to find, but as of 9/15/11 I FOUND IT ON CD! Expect a review soon! It's VERY differet from AUSLAND.