GRAUZONE needs a muthafuckin thread..

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..because the CD Die Sunrise Tapes (a collection of stuff from 1981) is excellent. I don't often hear too many bands sound so consistently, well, inconsistent.

I mean, hear one Grauzone song, and you'll never hear another song exactly like it by them.. which is great, but also a pity, as I was first introduced to them via the song "Eisbär" from a German early 80s rock vinyl comp I picked up years ago. I loved the song. Very beaty and stark. The vocals were snarling. And the vocal-less chorus was nothing but a large melee of dissonant sharp guitar stabs along with arrows of bloopying synth noise followed by a singular mocking synth line in alternation. Possibly one of the greatest "choruses" to a song ever. (If it weren't for the new-wavey accents, this song would easily be penned as a precursor to the weirder side of Pixies, easily.) So imagine my slight disappointment that this song was just one moment on the CD, and not just an example of an entire slab of similar goodness.

So, yeah, Grauzone isn't a band full of "Eisbär"s. Although it does sound like they inspire a band with every song they write. "Hinter den Bergen" and "Ich lieb sie" pretty much invented Fischerspooner's backing tracks.. twenty years before the fact (for better or worse.) "Ich Und Du" sounds like it invented the punchy jangly Flying Nun "indie sound", whatever you want to call it. At the same time, the band will play wooshing sounds and echo their vocals over a guitar line doing a 50s style doo-wop ballad type hook, like "Marmelade und Himbeereis". This band just refuses to be pigeonholed. Yet, after a listen to Die Sunrise Tapes, you know it was distinctly Grauzone. The way they tackled a different genre every song is peculiar but indeed slightly consistent after all. Less is more. Vocals are echoed. There's barely anything crowded on this album.

I'm very tempted to compare Grauzone to Swell Maps, only if we allow the "Nikki Sudden" side to succumb to the "Epic Soundtracks" side here, and allow a full compromise between the two's different aesthetics.. also minus any punk angles. It really takes a few listens for this CD to stick, but this is still a goddamn great CD... soo yeah.

If hippies from the early 70s from (then) West Germany can be called "Krautrock", then this band certainly qualifies. It certainly fits into the early 80s mold of bands that subtlely and succinctly bridged the experimentation from the 70s.. Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Einstürzende Neubauten, possibly Fehlfarben, of course Kraftwerk (who just never quit, is all), and others.

donuty! donuti! donuté! (donut), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Hah - for me Grauzone will always be first and foremost the old credible band of Stephane Eicher (singer) who later on became a MOR French balladeer...

Baaderonixx le Belge (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:45 (fifteen years ago) link


donuty! donuti! donuté! (donut), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:46 (fifteen years ago) link

hmmm, well I guess it makes some sort of weird sense. It's like if Nikki Sudden left Swell Maps and then became a Tony award winning singer in broadway musicals.

donuty! donuti! donuté! (donut), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:47 (fifteen years ago) link

His first single 'Combien de Temps' might be worth checking out though. The type of elegant French pop Spencher Chow might dig.

Baaderonixx le Belge (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:51 (fifteen years ago) link

God, the more I think about it, it's even weirder than the path Scritti Politti's Green Gartside took.

donuty! donuti! donuté! (donut), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 06:53 (fifteen years ago) link

It's sort of like how Nikki Sudden left Swell Maps, though, to become the kind of singer he is now.

"Combien de Temps" wasn't the first single, unless it was a remake like "Der Weg Zu Zweit" and I don't know about it. Wasn't the first solo single "Sweetheart"? I like "Sweetheart" quite a bit, but then I don't like any albums up until "My Place" and "Engelberg", which I think are okay.

Pangolino 2, Tuesday, 12 July 2005 12:17 (fifteen years ago) link

They should also be called "Käserock" instead!

Pangolino 2, Tuesday, 12 July 2005 12:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Yeah sorry, did some homework and according to AMG 'Combien de Temps' is off his third album. I guess it was the single that established him in France.

Baaderonixx le Belge (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 12:36 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't even remember how "Combien de Temps" goes - I bought that album in Germany to hear the remake of "Der Weg Zu Zweit", even though I really didn't like his previous album. I didn't keep it for so long because I was so disappointed.

Pangolino 2, Tuesday, 12 July 2005 12:48 (fifteen years ago) link

Does that comp have "Träume Mit Mir"? A great track that might get folks on the dance floor if dropped at the right moment.

And Nikki Sudden is living in Berlin now.

Guymauve (Guymauve), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 16:36 (fifteen years ago) link

I think it's got everything except "Ein Tanz Mit Dem Tod" and I'm not sure if it has the version of "Schlachtet!" that's on the B-side of "Träume Mit Mir". "Träume Mit Mir" is my favourite Grauzone song.

Pangolino 2, Tuesday, 12 July 2005 16:51 (fifteen years ago) link

And do yourself a favour and try to find Berlin 80, a nice little anthology of films from the Berlin scene. Also comes with a CD.

Guymauve (Guymauve), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 17:01 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm always holding Berlin 80 in the store before putting it back down at the last minute. It is pricey

Baaderonixx le Belge (Fabfunk), Tuesday, 12 July 2005 17:40 (fifteen years ago) link

What does Berlin 80 have on it? I've never heard of it.

Pangolino 2, Tuesday, 12 July 2005 20:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Videos are Berlin 80 are fantastic.

"Eisbar" has gotten a lot of coverage miles -- Prisonshake, Giddy Motors and Sightings have all done that song, pretty good considering it's a tune about a polar bear.

Brian Turner (btwfmu), Wednesday, 13 July 2005 00:42 (fifteen years ago) link

thanks for the heads up on this record. just d/l 'ed it today off of a very fine fellow on slsk. is it still in print? suppose i will google it later on.

william (william), Wednesday, 13 July 2005 01:04 (fifteen years ago) link

William.. yeah, you can find it on amazon pretty easily new/used.. Play It Again Sam in Europe.. but you can find resellers in the states or Canada probably.

donuty! donuti! donuté! (donut), Wednesday, 13 July 2005 01:59 (fifteen years ago) link

there was a time when i couldn't go to a dance party without hearing this song. oh how i loved dancing to it. yes indeed.

phil-two (phil-two), Wednesday, 13 July 2005 02:53 (fifteen years ago) link

Excuse me while i kiss you, Donut. I discovered Grauzone's Die Sunrise Tapes through this thread and it's been a complete and utter revelation! It blows me away, every day still.

Gerard (Gerard), Thursday, 21 July 2005 18:51 (fifteen years ago) link

I haven't heard a whole lot of Grauzone, but I agree they're good.

Hydrochloric Shaved Weirds (Bimble...), Saturday, 23 July 2005 08:07 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

still good.

Spinspin Sugah, Monday, 18 June 2007 23:45 (thirteen years ago) link

four years pass...

heard 'Ice Bear' in a bar for the first time last night

glad there's a thread

Milton Parker, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:32 (nine years ago) link

you heard Eisbar for the first time ever, or it was the first time you heard it played in a bar?

great song

(first time I heard it was on Optimo's How to Kill the DJ)

dmr, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:40 (nine years ago) link

just heard it for the first time ever, I don't know all that much about music

my friend just sent me this in response:

Starter was a minimal synth group from Switzerland that featured Claudine Chirac from Grauzone, Francis Foss and Jet Harbour.

Milton Parker, Thursday, 9 February 2012 21:44 (nine years ago) link

geeta, Thursday, 9 February 2012 22:03 (nine years ago) link

wiki weimar germanyu (Call the Cops), Friday, 10 February 2012 13:11 (nine years ago) link

nine years pass...

An overdue revive to note both a regular version of the album

...and a fancier variants with live tracks

...are now both out.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 27 March 2021 17:42 (two weeks ago) link

Ooooooh, nice.

emil.y, Saturday, 27 March 2021 17:44 (two weeks ago) link

^This (the fancy one) was delivered yesterday, what a great package! Poster is included twice, which is nice :)

willem, Friday, 2 April 2021 07:59 (one week ago) link
Nice review with some appropriate context

willem, Friday, 2 April 2021 08:08 (one week ago) link

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