Hinterzimmer_POP is a compilation on the Hamburg label Popup Records.
I listen to German music quite often, yet I had never heard a single one of the artists on hinterzimmer_POP.
I found that this record is enjoyable, and that many of these German vocal pop songs with electronics have become favorites of mine.
- The comp starts off with Jurgen Paape's So Weit Noch Nie. This song reminds me of the song which opens the 'Flieg Mit Ellen Allien' compilation, Sonnendeck by Meinrad Jungblut. Both songs have clearly annunciated German lyrics and great music. So Weit Noch Nie has female vocals (the other track had male vocals) and a touch of easy listening. This is a very strong start that sets the pace for the treats other tracks provide.
- Mense Reents This is the Way has the feel that I would have expected Echo and the Bunnymen to have had if they emerged in the electronic world of 2003 rather than the early 80s Liverpool guitar sound. Softly chiming guitar, a touch of mystique. This is the Way is so fully realized that it sounds like I have known it for years. The song is instantly familiar.
- Stuertz's So Wenig wie Moglich uses a vocal effect to distort the voice in an indie rock way, making the track remind me a bit of Die Sterne. So Wenig wie Moglich bounces along with a nice level of energy.
- Krazke brings guitars to stage center with their cut Rock.exe, a short two minute instrumental that you will wish went on longer.
- Latin Mutations by Hardman is a vocal track that has the type of soft voices that Brian Eno used on his early rock albums. The song is also really short, clocking in at 1:26.
- Ocker has a bit of the electro thing going with the 1-2 synth riff that opens New York FM. The song has a rock feel (with the drums in particular), and computer treated vocals. I'm not crazy for the track.
- Luckycharm is a song that I AM crazy for, by Ada. Luckycharm gives a nod to Trio's Da Da Da with the synth line, but does not base the song on that idea. The Trio influenced part serves as intro for the song's killer hook - the bassline as the real song starts. The song has many textures, and a great production that makes it feel like a looser version of a downtempo track.
- Mica's Bigphones starts off with a sound like at the airport. The song moves into a Metro Area styled instrumental disco track with handclaps. There is a nice bass part that could have been used on Trevor Jackson's 'Party Mix' (which seems to have chosen short segments of songs based on the groove of their bass parts).
- Jan Gazarra plays Blow, a vocal based song that sounds like several of the tracks I didn't particularly care for on the French 'Kitsune Love' compilation. As with the songs I am comparing this to, I like the music, but do not like the voice. In this case the voice almost reminds me of Richard Butler's voice in Love Spit Love, the band he formed after the Psychedelic Furs.
- Do you remember the band Space? C.M. Smith's Casa Electro Trip has vocals that remind me of Space. The song tells a tale of alien abduction and space travel. Crossover got the space novelty song thing going much better on Over Exposure, from their recent 12inch. Nonetheless, Casa Electro Trip is fun to listen to the first time you hear it. I even played it on my radio show, sandwiched between the Crossover song and Leonard Nimoy's A Visit To A Sad Planet.
- Moore Music play Can't Get Used To It. This one is on my list of faves. It has a modern clean sound and good vocals. The music has a rock solid bass and Mick Jones styled voice, with great use of electronics, like the band Closer Musik.
- Erdmobel perform In Den Schuben Von Audrey Hepburn, a nice vocal song with German lyrics about the film star. The song shares a lot of the good qualities on Moore Music's track, such as the combination of traditional electric instruments and clever electronics that don't cloy.
- Next is the Mica remix of Riviera's Wir Im All. This female vocal song has two main parts - one sounds like music by Andreas Dorau, and the other half is airy downtempo pop. The two halves work well together and the song is enjoyable.
- Eliass In Dieser Stadt reminds me a lot of Andreas Dorau. The music is bubbly synthpop, and the male vocals are sung with a fun feel. The track uses subway sounds in the background.
- Phil Stumpf performs Du Kannst Nicht Tanzen. The track has a heavy dancefloor beat that comes as a surprise after so many pop songs. When the male vocal comes in the song sounds a bit more like the company it keeps on this comp, though the dance beat and sharp electronic melody stands out from the natural instrument sounds of the other songs. The lyrics consist of the title repeated over and over, but this is not a bad thing. I like this track.
- Hetterich's Vollgluck is a male vocal downtempo beat track that didn't really engage me.
- The Meta 83 song Feel The Heat has a Felix Da Housecat feel to it with the electroclash styled synth part. It is an instrumental with a song-like melody.
- Andi Teichmann closes out the disc with Wir Gehen Nicht Nachhause. This song is a winner, and a strong song to end the disc with. It is a sharp electronic song with dirty synth and a male vocal.
Hinterzimmer_POP was a surprise for me. I was interested in this comp because I confused it with the artist POPUP, one of the collaborative projects Stefan Schwander (Antonelli Electr.) is involved in. I am very glad to have found this record, it has been a joy to absorb as I prepared for this review.