gullbuy music review

Gina X






Gina X CD coverGina Kikoine and Zeus B. Held from Cologne worked together on their fourth and final album Yinglish in 1984 on Statik Records, also known for releasing albums by Men Without Hats, The Flying Lizards, The Sound (Adrian Borland), Jeffrey Lee Pierce, New Age Steppers, and Die Krupps (whom Zeus B. Held worked with). This time around the duo released this album as a solo album by Gina X (dropping the Performance from their name) since they were the only remaining members of the original band and were now joined by Dierk Hill on guitar.

Gone is the androgynous Bowiesque styled music, and in its place is a more Germanic industrial beat (not unlike their labelmates Die Krupps) with Gina singing variously in English, German and French (often like a poppy version of Nico).

LTM has combined the original album with 5 songs from a bonus promo remix album which came with the original release. Their claims of digitally remastering this disc come into question when you hear how quietly its been mastered, but maybe they no longer had prime source material to cull from. In any event, this is the first time this album has been released on cd.

In a lot of ways, Yinglish holds up better than their earlier albums because there is a minimal approach, leaving less chance for the music to sound cheesey. Also, since there is poppier bent to most of the album, it's a lot of fun to listen to - and with the extended remix versions added to the end, it's fun to compare the various versions of the songs.

The singles Drive My Car (by The Beatles) and Harley Davidson (Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot) are the most obvious songs here. Drive My Car was popular on the dancefloor but it's actually a bit too meandering. The remix is also the most dated sounding of all the remixes (they're both 6 minutes long which is too long for this song) though it improves on the original but loses most of the lead vocals.

Harley Davidson is more fun and true to the original - and there is no extended version included. Also, the b-side to the original Harley Davidson 12 inch single is not found on this disc, but was included as a bonus track on the LTM reissue of the Gina X Performance album Nice Mover.

It's a shame it couldn't be included here, since it's a nice ambient instrumental piece, with dreamy synths and some creepy overtones, reminding me of Brian Eno's work. It's similar (and better than) the Yinglish album track BB 50, which seems mastered very quiet here.

The Germanic tracks are actually some of the best tracks here. Die Kunst Des Liebens (The Art of Loving) has an addictive sound to it, with some sweet industrial rhythms and mutated electric guitars. It's great to hear this one get the extended treatment in Die Kunst Des Liebens (X-tra Long) where the music is given a chance to come to the forefront, but Gina's vocals are not lost.

Thanatos Tanzt mellows things out in a way like Nico's 80s work (like her Camera Obscura album) but with a youthful bent in Gina's voice.

Both Kanal Banal and Waiting were included as bonus tracks on the LTM reissue of the Gina X Performance album X-traordinaire, so if you have heard that album you already have a taste of two great tracks here. Both Kanal Banal and Waiting get the remix treatment here too in their bonus extended versions. Kanal Banal is a tribal 80s brand of fun, with Gina singing nonsense lyrics in heavily accented English. Waiting is a dreamier sound which reminds me of a female fronted version of China Crisis, with the remix sounding like a slowed down tape version which is kind of strange as the last track here.

French Lift and Londra continue with the nonsense lyrics sung in accented English, with French Lift having a more heavily synth backing, while Londra has a rhythmically synth backing. It's interesting to note the middle passage where it sounds like Gina is imitating Nico on purpose. Londra II, the Londra remix gives it a less goofy techno rhythm to improve upon it considerably.

En Vogue and Martyr To Music are two album tracks and the only place where the datedness of the synths and the lack of good or fun songs themselves bring down the album.

---Patrick, October 4, 2005