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V/A – Festival der Subkulturellen Toene

V/A - Festival der Subkulturellen Toene

CDR, Einzeleinheit/Terrorverlag, 2006

‘Expect the unexpected’ is the operating expression when one considers the Einzeleinheit label and this compilation is no exception. Released in collaboration with the Terrorverlag webzine, this eclectic sampler presents a selection of rare tracks by German electronic acts that participated in the Festival der Subkulturellen Toene in March 2006. “Festival der Subkulturellen Toene” may appear somewhat disconcerting at first sight (and eventually at first listen as well) but, in the end, it is a coherent release with a definite ‘retro’ feel to it, despite the apparent mish-mash and contrast of electronic music styles.
The Rorschach Garden kick-start this compilation with two tunes, “Astronauts” and “Lovesong” – the first being rather upbeat and catchy, bordering on electroclash, with the second being a small ballad – both featuring what is this project’s characteristic retro-electropop sound. Echo West follow up (and contrast) presenting almost declamatory pieces – “Time of Brokened Ties” which is rather epic-sounding and contrasts with the seemingly ominous “Plastic Time. Sonnenbrandt’s melodic tracks are a turn to synth and electropop sonorities with rather nice female vocals and, while the track “Urlaubsgruss mit Sonnenbrand(t)” is memorable, their cover of Ideal’s “Monotonie” is a very interesting and welcome surprise. Wermut’s pieces, “Armoise amère” and “J’avance auprès de toi” are rather nice, but unfortunately too short to get an idea of what seems to be experimental/folk electronica. “Auf die Strassen” and “Robert”, two rather effective tracks by Punk Soul Loving Bill, are reminiscent of late 70’s/early 80’s experimental electronica, especially The Normal (“Warm Leatherette” comes to mind), but with female vocals. “Garlic Bread Horizon”, by the Suneaters, is the title of the concluding track and also the oddball of an already peculiar compilation: a long experimental composition that oscillates between noise, beats and sound collages but that, nevertheless, makes for rather good aural wallpaper.
As a sound sampler, it is rather well-achieved despite a couple of flaws (one of them major). The participation of some acts is insuficient to have a good idea of their music (Wermut comes to mind) and there is a complete lack of information about the participating artists. Despite the ‘accessibility’ of most of the material in this compilation, “Festival der Subkulturellen Toene” is bound to appeal mainly to those that are interested in oddball and whimsical sounding material but it should nevertheless be checked out by those with an interest in good music or looking to broaden their musical horizons.


— Miguel de Sousa

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