Sparse/synthy German rock from the 70s/80s?

This has to be the most obscure music request thread ever!

I don’t know if I’d call it a genre but I noticed a trend in German rock from the early 80s that I just love, its very sparse sounding rock with synths, however it sounds nothing like typical synthpop of the 80s. The albums below have the sound I’m thinking of:

Rheingold - ST 1980
La Dusseldorf - ST 1976
Grauzone - ST 1981

Listening to Neu Deustche Welle(new German wave) compilations singles from these albums appear on has been mostly fruitless, most of the music on these comps is pretty typical synthpop or punk just with German vocals obviously.

I tried checking out Krautrock but much like NDW it seems to be a catchall term for any music from Germany, everything from blues rock with English vocals to what would now be called instrumental electronic-ambient and drone-rock is classed under krautrock. Most of the “greats” of Krautrock are honestly rather boring, instrumental ambient music basically.

I hope someone has a clue what I’m talking about here.:smiley:

I have an inkling of a clue, but could upgrade that considerably if you could post a link to a youtube vid so I can actually, ya know, hear what you’re talking about.



La Dusseldorf:

Ah ok, that’s about what I thought of.

Peter Schilling (of Major Tom fame) would probably tickle your fancy. He has a decent body of work besides that tune.

Einstürzende Neubauten is right up your alley, but they do have a lot of stuff that’s really noisy (like Throbbing Gristle-type noisy) as well. If you like them, look up stuff by Blixa Bargeld (a former member).

Einstürzende Neubauten - The Garden
Einstürzende Neubauten - Kollaps

D.A.F. is short for Deutsch Amerikansiche Freundschaft (German American Friendship). They’re is similar to EN (somewhat harsh).

D.A.F. - Kinderzimmer

Electrovot is a newer band that works in this style as well.

Electrovot - Control

If you’re okay with things being harsh, I’d also recommend checking out Laibach. They do a lot of different stuff, including some very interesting covers, sometimes releasing several different versions of one song, as they did with their awesome covers of The Rolling Stone’s Sympathy For The Devil (8 versions; it’s the only song on the album and they all rock).

I hesitate to add more to this list because it’s really straying into industrial music territory and I’m not sure that’s what you’re after.

So if we switch gears a bit here, you might want to also check out these out:

Joy Division - She’s Lost Control
Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart

New Order emerged from the remains of Joy Division after the suicide of Ian Curtis, and they are a decidedly more dance-oriented band. Depeche Mode is very similar.

New Order - Blue Monday
New Order - Perfect Kiss

Depeche Mode - Just Can’t Get Enough

Bauhaus (and Peter Murphy’s solo stuff from the late '80s) might be stuff you like.

Bauhaus - St. Vitus Dance
Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi’s Dead
Bauhaus - All We Ever Wanted

Peter Murphy - The Light Pours Out Of Me (if this grabs you, look for some Robyn Hitchcock, particularly anything from the album A Globe Of Frogs like Balloon Man, for example).

Peter Murphy was also involved in the one-album awesomeness that is Dali’s Car, along with Mick Karn (ex-Japan). It’s an awesome album, but apparently the two found that spending any time at all in the same room together was intolerable.

Dali’s Car - Dali’s Car

I’m pretty sure you’ll like The Normal (ok, it’s really just one song but it’s awesome and been covered by quite a few people), and of course Soft Cell.

Synth driven pop stuff really took off in the UK in the early 1980s, and a lot of it was great music. People who had been punk rockers but who actually wanted to make music rather than just be onstage making noise embraced synths for their versatility and sci-fi-ness. I’m talking about people like those above and Siouxsie & the Banshees (Cities In Dust), Lene Lovich (Lucky Number) and her good friend Thomas Dolby (One Of Our Submarines), John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd. (This Is Not A Love Song), etc.

One final note, and I’m gonna move into a more rock/industrial area here: you may also like Chrome (I know I do):

Chrome - How Many Years Too Soon
Chrome - Raider
Chrome - My Time To Live

If you want to get into more industrial stuff, (like, music made with what seems to be actual noises recorded in factories) let me know and I can give you some bands to start with there.

HMMMMM: I just previewed this post and damn is it long! Most of this is music I grew up listening to but haven’t listened to much in the last 15 years or so (except for Joy Division, New Order, Bauhaus; those were friends favorites tho so I heard them a lot!). It was awesome fun finding all those videos!

You might check out a band called “Wir Sind Helden” to see if anything strikes your fancy. I bought one of their CDs when I was in Germany about seven years ago; don’t know if they’ve kept the same sparse sound since then. Here’s Guten Tag to get you started.

Wow Bo, thanks for that I’ll have plenty to check out. :slight_smile: I’m familiar with most of the British bands you mentioned already but not the German.

Oh and in case I wasn’t clear I’m not only looking for German language vocals, I don’t care what language the vocals are in.