Back home in Hamburg, as if possessed, the boy begins to experiment with a synthesiser, home organ, and voice and tape recorder. He is not the only one to begin explorations in this direction. The entire Federal Republic of Germany is just at the boiling point. A new form of home music is coming into existence. It has nothing to do with violin playing children, scratchy sweaters and well- combed relatives listening on the sofa, but rather combines the fears and dark abyss of industrial society. Remarkably it is the same industry that made the tools available to the raging youths: cheap Casio keyboards, synthesisers, drum computers and four track tape recorders. Suddenly anyone can acquire his own means of production to use in protest against the industrial forces.
In Germany especially, that neurotic country whose dark Nazi past and subsequent East/West division filled its closet with skeletons, the electro-industry’s advance falls on fertile ground. The four-track tape studio becomes the medium of the collective unconscious; becomes the embrasure, the lighting rod and the magnetic witness to the fears of an imminent nuclear war. On top of that most of the recordings are born without strategy or intention of commercial exploitation. They are eruptions out of the crater of a society that had reached a deadlock during the so-called German Autumn with its failed RAF movement. Everyone was waiting… But for what? For the end of the world, approaching via an insane arms race? A new youth movement? A new kind of ice cream?
In their freshly established home studios the protagonists practice the new underground music, the “undirected aggression of liberated sounds,” as Frank Apunkt Schneider expressed in his book Als die Welt noch unterging (As The World Was Still Ending). Everything that isn’t nailed or riveted down is used as an instrument: baking trays, cartons, room lamps, toys, wooden flutes, whistles, cans, trays, record players, televisions, a doorbell, a telephone. Out of the living rooms of the nation drones an obsession with noise, sparing not even the children.
And what became of that thirteen-year-old boy who sat in front of the television back then? He hasn’t had a television for the last twenty-five years and is just now writing these lines. His enthusiasm for the cassette scene has remained to this day. And while collecting the pieces for this compilation he had to keep pinching himself in the arm.
Compiled by German sound futurist Felix Kubin this eccentric compilation features 25 rare and mostly unheard tracks by bands like Plastiktanz, Neros Tanzende Elektropäpste, chbb, Holger Hiller and Pyrolator, as well as several one hit wonders by the rural tape label Pissing Cow Tapes.