Pop this CD in and it sounds like a typical New Wave record from the 80s, with cheesy Flock of Seagulls styled keyboards. But then the second song starts - Wow! Was this really recorded in 1981? The bass line is as solid as any on the Playgroup record, and the German vocals snarl like Metal Urbain as keyboards appear to be squeezed all around them by swooshing effects. Then the guitar comes in and it is pure freakout. Now you are thinking more PIL than Playgroup. But really, you are thinking ExKurs.
Exkurs were a German band that evolved out of an earlier band called Modern Entertainment. This CD is a remastered version of their 1981 LP, with eleven bonus tracks brought along for the ride. ExKurs were first dredged up from the tidepools of time by Gomma Record's Teutonic Disaster series. When 2 of the members of ExKurs met up in Berlin for the first time in ten years, neither even knew about the Gomma disks, but the label NLW was already on top of it, and got them to provide additional content that turned this CD from a simple re-release to a mini box-set.
Though no tracks exceed the stellar heights of Fakten, several others are quite excellent. Natur is probably my second favorite track, because the bass sounds like Joy Division when Peter Hook would really rage into it, like on early tracks. There were two other 'Modern' bands that I'll bet Modern Entertainment knew of before they changed their name to ExKurs: Modern English and Modern Eon. All these bands shared a dark sound that had concealed energy.
Friedhof is an instrumental that again shows the band at their best. It is wild, with sounds appearing to come in from all directions. It is not noise, it is just, as Pink Floyd coined ages ago on Ummagumma, syncopated pandemonium.
Not everything is stellar. Tracks like the instrumental Ausblick remind me more of Vangelis than Voivod. But Ausblick is a short track, and there aren't many like it here.
There are tracks by various versions of ExKurs here as well. Bekehrt Zurückgekehrt was recorded by ExKurs II in 1983. The final ten tracks are all new recordings by ExKurs III. My favorite of the newer tracks remind me of the SF 90s band Crawling With Tarts mixed with Austria's Sofa Surfers. The newer tracks I don't care for as much are trancey and remind me of Sunscreem (who I actually DO like).
Just as the packaging for this CD is odd (in a DVD case) and the label is unknown, ExKurs are odd and unknown, but they - like this CD - are quality, and THIS is a CD you may want to put some effort into finding.