Gina X Performance
LTM has done a nice job reissuing the Gina X Performance albums which featured Gina Kikoine and Zeus B. Held (who also produced John Foxx, Dead or Alive, Nina Hagen, Die Krupps, Transvision Vamp) from Cologne and some classic tracks which have been hits in the clubs and on compilations over the years. Gina X Performance combined together the sounds of David Bowie's synth sounds from his Heroes/Low time period and mixed it with their own brand of androgynous Germanic rock sounds to create a real and potent mix of new wave music. Their debut album called Nice Mover released in 1979 was the result.
Gina X Performance combine a funky but dry and robotic sound with Gina's "Is That All There Is?" vocal style, tone and lyrics, with Zeus B. Held's synthetic grooves and one of the best sounding vocoder I have ever heard. The grooves are surprisingly warm, however, thanks to the real time drums (which remind me of Gary Numan as opposed to the more synthetic rhythms of, say, Kraftwerk or Throbbing Gristle).
Nice Mover and No G.D.M (for Quentin Crisp) are two of the best examples of the Gina X Performance sound as heard on the Nice Mover album - both tracks start out the cd and are also included as bonus tracks in 7 inch mixes (which tighten up the sounds a bit). There is also a Berlin 1992 Mix of No G.D.M for those interested in an updating of the Gina X Performance sound for the 90s techno crowd.
Some of the other album tracks work better than others. Plastic Surprise Box has cool lyrics and melody, swirling synths and a driving rhythm. Be A Boy is even better with its tense, driving rhythm and its Lesley Gore/Sometimes I Wish I Were a Boy themed lyrics transposed to the new wave beat. It's a nice companion to the Klaus Nomi version of Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me (a song which has even more resonance in this day and age). (note that Be A Boy is not the Lesley Gore song, but is reminiscent of it).
Casablanca takes it down a notch and while it's not as exciting as the other tracks it does have a pre-Joy Division type vibe to its haunting melody.
The final bonus track is also worth mentioning - it was a favorite of mine because it's much different than the rest of the tracks. It's called Homage A B.B. and is from the Harley Davidson (the Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot song) 12 inch released in 1984 (around the same time that Gina X worked solo and also did a version of the Beatles' Drive My Car). Homage A B.B. is an ambient instrumental set closer here, with dreamy synths and some creepy overtones, reminding me of Brian Eno's work.