If I ever got my hands on a time machine I’d make ‘8os Germany my first destination. The cassette culture back then was rich and varied, a future that even today seems beamed in from a different planet. Enviously, Felix Kubin was lucky enough to be right in the thick of it at the time, a teenager both consumer and participant. The self-penned liner notes to an album subtitled German Home Recording Tape Music of the 1980s lovingly describing him lighting up with possibilities after a chance watching of Der Plan on TV. This was the music he had waited years for, go the notes, music that would set off a catalytic spark for him and his brother to experiment with synthesiser, home organ, voice and tape recorder... something from which he’s never looked back.I can’t think of a better person than Kubin to compile this history lesson in oddness and he’s done a ridiculously good job of capturing the bedroom and basement zeitgeist on Science Fiction Park Bundesrepublik. Sideways-shining the vivid in a myriad of shapes, tastes and agendas, immortalising that cobbled-together, hack-eyed, wide-eyed bazazz. That virulent plague of boxing-gloved Casios and feisty-chuffed lyrics, blip-bop melodies skipping like hyper-fed Pac-man over guitars that samurai-cut the cardiovascular.
It’s utterly superb, full of impulsive arrows that knock complicity for six. A raygun chopshop suey of kilter-caked percussions and mega-cheap Casio wonder that fits the bemused busker of the cover completely. Science Fiction Park Bundesrepublik figures some well-known protagonists amongst its ranks, like Holger Hiller and The Pyrolator, both of which have a track each; but it’s the very fact that 70% of the bands here are a complete mystery that truly excites, makes this compilation an undiscovered country, a treasure trove to savour.Dit+Uta‘s pigeon trapped circuitries, Kleines Schwingvergnügen‘s jazzy jigsaws of Palais Schaumburg-ism jive, staircase descending with clanking glasses, Das Glück‘s computer tennis and velcro hooks driving yelled enthusiasm of “bongo face” or “bomb the place,” “mongrel case” what-evers. Some acts like Neros Tanzende Elektropäpste collage(ing) it up to the max in true jumble stylee, tapered in mircowave bleeps and alarm clocks.
There’s no lacklustre moments here, so it’s really hard to choose a favourite, but the deconstructionist pop joy of Wat?Sanitär!‘s “Except Me And My Monkey” wins my heart completely. An unusual redux of the John Lennon tune that’s an insane siren sleaze of joy, a slippery eel that pre-figures those Chicks on Speed by decades. A short-lived existence that filtered through my holy trinity of German cassette fodder, the Wirtschaftswunder, Siluetes 61, and Radierer (none of whom appear here) like an Australian bush fire. Then there’s Plastiktanz‘s strange meditations on pelicans, account numbers and inner cleanliness, Felix Kubin’s own x2 and its skull-illuminating necro-beat of spooked firewerks and Co-Mix‘s brain-scrambling tape slices. A massive twenty-five tracks that slant and enchant, braisingly showing the X-factor up for the Scheiße Fabrik it undoubtedly is.