In the years preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany was undergoing a time of exciting artistic upheaval. An independent post-punk scene emerged where expression upstaged technical skill, English was shunned for native tongue and a small tight-knit community of nonconformists developed around a handful of clubs. Unlike the US or UK, there was little music infrastructure so it was DIY or die.
Optimo’s JD Twitch brings together the classics, rarities and oddities of this era into an expansive new compilation for Strut. Spanning 1979 to 1985, Kreaturen Der Nacht is not designed to tell a definitive story but, as Keith says, aims to “sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany…from a specific era with a specific attitude.”
Standout for us is JD Twitch’s edit of Christiane F’s ‘Wunderbar’, originally released in 1982. The upbeat, disco-led production from David Javelosa mirrors what ESG were doing in New York but Christiane’s story is one specific to the hardships of life in West Berlin. By 14 she had fallen into a lifelong battle with heroin, turning to prostitution to fuel her addiction. Stern magazine approached her for an interview while she was a witness in a trial against a pimp pushing heroin on underage teenage workers. A two hour interview extended to two months and the tapes shaped her 1978 biography and later a biopic. Two decades later, ‘Wunderbar’ became a hit on Robert Johnson’s famous dance floor, leading to a reissue in 2013.
Kreaturen Der Nacht is out 9th November – buy from Bandcamp. The 2LP format comes with a fanzine full of unseen photos and extensive interviews.